Thank you in advance for your help. I'm a complete newbie to doing things in Linux. Mint rocks, prefer it to Ubuntu, openSUSE and PCLinuxOS.
My laptop (modern specs with graphics card) is running WinXP, and I wanted to be able to boot Mint from an external drive.
With the CD, when I installed Mint to the external drive with my WinXP drive in the laptop (direct boot from CD, not within XP), although I chose all the right options (install only to whole of external drive) GRUB totally screwed my boot to the point where I couldn't boot from either (bios settings all done) in any configuration - swapping both drives in laptop / attaching the other via USB / etc. I had to repair my boot file. Whew, that was a real moment!
My only alternative was to install Mint into the laptop drive (meaning taking out my WinXP drive) and I now physically swap drives whenever I need to use the other OS. With the Mint installed drive, trying to run it as an external drive does not work, it loads, I enter my pasword, then it goes into the 'infram' prompt screen.
I do not want to dual boot from the same drive as I need my windows to be 100% safe since I may still do something dumb in Linux and mess it all up, I use my laptop for business and it is precious. With Mint on a different drive, I can just explore, experiment, learn and apply as I go along. When I am 100% comfortable, then I see it as my main OS.
I do not want to run Mint from a USB drive as it is slow and ruins the whole experience.
I hope someone can help me boot my current 'Mint-on-a-external-drive'. Since I have all the configurations running to my personal taste, I hope it doesn't involve a re-install, but I really do not mind. Mint totally rocks man.