View Full Version : How can I install or update Linux on a USB 60 GB Hard Drive
22nd December 2010, 02:20 AM
I have a new Acer computer with Windows 7 on the 640 GB hard drive and 12 USB ports. I want to connect hard drives to USB ports and boot them by changing the boot drive in BIOS and using the boot setup. I have an old 250 GB hard drive with Windows XP and another old 60 GB hard drive with Linux Fedora 10 or 11. On my old computer Windows XP was on the C: 250 GB hard drive and Fedora was on the secondary 60 GB hard drive using GRUB.
I tried connecting my old 250 GB Windows XP hard drive through an IDE to USB enclosure to a USB port. I restarted my computer, changed the first boot drive in BIOS to USB. I saved and exited BIOS. I then pressed F12. This caused a popup of a display showing all the USB ports. I was able to recognise my 250 GB hard drive. I selected it. I got a message "GRUB loading, please wait". I then got a message, "Error 17".
Do we have any posts or users with experience in this type of USB multiboot system?
22nd December 2010, 05:42 AM
I have this setup however I installed the GRUB to an internal HDD that meant I could disconnect my USB drive when not in use.
22nd December 2010, 06:04 AM
Windows XP was on the C: 250 GB hard drive and Fedora was on the secondary 60 GB hard drive using GRUB. I selected it. I got a message "GRUB loading, please wait". I then got a message, "Error 17".
I used to boot OS/X and Fedora through external USB disk from MacBook Pro for temporary use in order to backup OS/X before partitioning and installing Fedora on the main disk.
I never tried Windows boot from USB. You might have to hand-edit grub settings to do that, but then Windows boot may balk at running in an external disk. Try booting Linux instead. Windows may not even have the right drivers and may have conflicts with UUID, etc. At least Linux can detect almost any device.
22nd December 2010, 11:29 PM
old PC setup
250GB /dev/sda ----- > Windows XP
60GB /dev/sdb -------> Fedora
Your old PC setup as illustrated above, it seems like grub is installed to the MBR of your 250Gb drive. However, grub needs to access the files in the /boot directory on your 60GB drive.
This is why when you connect the 250Gb drive via USB to your laptop you get the grub error.
It is possible to install Fedora to any external usb drive and boot from when you wish. I would recommend you keep the grub confined to the external drive only, make sure it does not alter the internal drive.
This will make sure the external drive is self booting.
23rd December 2010, 03:10 AM
Thank you all for your posts. I am working on booting Linux as suggested. I like the recommendation of DukeNukem to make USB connected drives self booting. I am looking at the GRUB documentation to determine how to do this.
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