I have an older laptop that can BIOS boot from floppy, optical, internal hard drive (IDE), or network (note USB drive booting is not an option).
The internal drive has failed and is removed.
I don't have a spare 2.5-inch drive lying around with IDE interface.
I can boot Fedora 10 Live from the optical drive.
I can install from the Live DVD to an external USB hard drive.
I cannot figure out how to actually boot
the external drive (with no internal hard drive available).
It would be fine if I had to use an intermediary, and boot from the optical or floppy first.
It seems when I try to edit the Live GRUB boot menu items, they revert to whatever they were and just the DVD boots again. (Of course I am also vague about exactly what to put in the edited menu item. "root=/dev/sda2" which is the partition that automounts as /media/_boot after Live is alive seems not to be found.)
It would be handy if I could put on a floppy a customized bootable program that could get to the USB partition and let it go from there. But even a custom CD or DVD would be fine, I just want to get the hard drive booted!
Linux is stable enough that I don't expect to need to reboot until the next release, or at least it won't be often or inconvenient to use a floppy or CD to get there.
I expect there is a way to do this but searching just yields an abundance of booting advice that seems to always presume there is an IDE drive somewhere.
P. S. I also have an older 4.0 Knoppix Live DVD and with it I can see the "boot:" line but again I seem unable to get to the USB device at that point.