Trouble booting after loading to external

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Murilo86 on Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:57 pm

Gigonua wrote:Hey, I just bought a 500GB WD external hard drive and I have been trying to install linux on it too. It would be pretty easy to install GRUB to the master boot record like you are saying Fred. I don't want to do that however. I want to find out if there is a way to install GRUB on the external hard drive so that I can take my hard drive to different computers without installing GRUB to the MBR. Is there a way to do this?


Hello,

I tried to install Linux Mint 6 on my external hard drive too, but it didn't work. The installation guide (Windows) did not show me any option for install GRUB on my HDD. In fact, it automatically installed GRUB on my physical drive (C:). I don't know what to do.

First, I tried to install from LiveCD, and it don't recognize my external HD and didn't mount it.

Then I tried to install from Windows, and nothing...

I think it's important somebody post a tutorial about it.

Sorry about the English...
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby viking777 on Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:08 pm

Fred, you are doing a marvellous job in this thread, I would love to help out but I fear I am a bit out of my depth (OK a lot!). I have never installed any version of linux to any external hard drive so that is a disadvantage straight away, but I have found your answers patient, interesting and informative even though I don't have the problem.

The difficulties and frustrations that these people are experiencing mirror my own of several years back (but that was just dealing with grub on an internal drive!). I can't help but think that the greatest contribution that anyone could make to the linux world today is to write a boot loader program that is configurable and understandable by folks without any deep Linux knowledge.

Sorry to interrupt the thread.
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Murilo86 on Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:15 pm

Ok. I know that is a SuSE guide, but...:

http://en.opensuse.org/Installing_SuSE_on_External_USB_Drive
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Fred on Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:18 pm

Ok... let's not get to far afield of the thread starter's problem please. His problem is trying to set up a system that he can plug his external drive into and have Linux or his Windows install available. When the drive isn't plugged in he still has his Windows install. At least that is what I understood him to be trying to accomplish.

That is a different scenario from what Gigonua was looking for. He seems to be wanting an independent install to an external drive that he can take to just about any computer, plug it in, and have a reasonable chance of accessing Linux on the external drive. This can be done too but it will not be universally functional. Theses are two sets of requirements.

The comments about doing something through or from Windows itself must be referring to Wubi. The Suse guide is about still another set up and method.

I think part of the problem is defining what it is you really want. Once that is done you can actually tackle the task of getting it done.

For the time being though let's try to stick to the thread starter's problem in this thread. I am sure it is already confusing enough for him. Start a new thread with questions about a universal or movable external Linux install Please. That is really a different topic with different solutions altogether.


@viking777,

I am not so sure I am doing that good a job. His problem is still unsolved so... :-)

If you see something that I have not made clear or could be put a better way feel free to do so. :-)

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby viking777 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:57 am

Jace05 wrote:ok so my partition is now set to the one shown above

with the external hd unplugged it loads the internal hd and the linux boot options comes up along with the "other operating systems" where windows xp shows. when selecting windows xp it loads fine but when selecting linux it has the error screen.

with the external hd is plugged in i select to load from usb and has an error. when i select internal hd i can load linux but not windows.

so i guess my question is how do i set it up so windows will load auto when the external isn't plugged in instead of showing the linux boots as well as the windows boot.

also how do i get it set up so when the external is plugged in i can select usb boot instead of internal boot to load linux. if that makes sence


Jace05. If I am reading this right what you want to achieve is the following: When your external drive is not plugged in you only want to boot windows, and when your external drive is plugged in you only want to boot Linux. If that is the case then this is what I think you need to do.

If you have installed any part of linux onto your internal drive (like grub) then you need to remove it. To do this you (assuming you have XP) then you need to boot from an XP disk into recovery mode and run:

Code: Select all
fixmbr


This will remove any trace of grub from the master boot record and make sure that only windows boots. That fixes the first problem.

When you have that sorted reboot into your bios (F2?) and set the boot order to 1) Cdrom 2)USB 3)Hard disk. This will ensure that when you boot with your external drive plugged in then you will only boot from that drive (unless you have a CD in as well).

When you have done that reboot with your external drive plugged in and your MInt live CD and install mint to the external drive. The important thing here is that ALL of Mint - including grub MUST go onto the external drive (SDB). If you just follow the standard install routine then grub may well end up back on your internal drive and you will be back to square one. To achieve this I recommend you use MANUAL partitioning not any of the automatic options, and at the point at which you are about to install grub you must look for an 'Advanced' button and make sure that you install grub to the external drive not the internal one, and if it asks you from which drive you are booting then the answer is the external drive.

One word of warning. I have never installed Mint to an external hard drive so if there are any extra steps required then they are not known to me, the advice I give will work for internal drives, and I can't see why it won't work from an external USB one either, but I could possibly be wrong.
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Fred on Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:19 am

The instructions viking777 gave are another way of getting to a successful conclusion. His way keeps the Windows install and the Linux install on separate drives which in some situations may be desirable or even necessary. The down side is that the computer being used must be able to boot the external drive and recognize it in a consistent way. This is usually BIOS dependent. It does make it possible to move the drive to another compatible computer however.

The way I was showing the thread starter will always work, regardless of the computer and its' BIOS but it will be a dedicated set-up. That is, the Linux install can't be moved to another machine once installed and configured.

Choices, choices! It is a double edged sword. :-)

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Jace05 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:22 pm

viking777 wrote:
Jace05 wrote:ok so my partition is now set to the one shown above

with the external hd unplugged it loads the internal hd and the linux boot options comes up along with the "other operating systems" where windows xp shows. when selecting windows xp it loads fine but when selecting linux it has the error screen.

with the external hd is plugged in i select to load from usb and has an error. when i select internal hd i can load linux but not windows.

so i guess my question is how do i set it up so windows will load auto when the external isn't plugged in instead of showing the linux boots as well as the windows boot.

also how do i get it set up so when the external is plugged in i can select usb boot instead of internal boot to load linux. if that makes sence


Jace05. If I am reading this right what you want to achieve is the following: When your external drive is not plugged in you only want to boot windows, and when your external drive is plugged in you only want to boot Linux. If that is the case then this is what I think you need to do.

If you have installed any part of linux onto your internal drive (like grub) then you need to remove it. To do this you (assuming you have XP) then you need to boot from an XP disk into recovery mode and run:

Code: Select all
fixmbr


This will remove any trace of grub from the master boot record and make sure that only windows boots. That fixes the first problem.

When you have that sorted reboot into your bios (F2?) and set the boot order to 1) Cdrom 2)USB 3)Hard disk. This will ensure that when you boot with your external drive plugged in then you will only boot from that drive (unless you have a CD in as well).

When you have done that reboot with your external drive plugged in and your MInt live CD and install mint to the external drive. The important thing here is that ALL of Mint - including grub MUST go onto the external drive (SDB). If you just follow the standard install routine then grub may well end up back on your internal drive and you will be back to square one. To achieve this I recommend you use MANUAL partitioning not any of the automatic options, and at the point at which you are about to install grub you must look for an 'Advanced' button and make sure that you install grub to the external drive not the internal one, and if it asks you from which drive you are booting then the answer is the external drive.

One word of warning. I have never installed Mint to an external hard drive so if there are any extra steps required then they are not known to me, the advice I give will work for internal drives, and I can't see why it won't work from an external USB one either, but I could possibly be wrong.

so take /boot off sda and put it as sdb2?
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby viking777 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:20 pm

That is basically what I was suggesting yes, you don't need a seperate boot partition in this scheme of things, '/boot' can just live on '/' quite happily as it does on all 4 of my linux installs.
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:08 pm

Jace05,

You really need to define for yourself how you want your system to work. viking777 is leading you down one path I was leading you down another. Both are workable, but don't mix and match our instructions or you will have even more problems. :-)

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby burgersplus on Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:01 pm

Hi. My Name is Dennis and I am having basically the same problem, both with PCLinux2007 and Mint. I have mint installed at this time.
I am using a Gateway Laptop MX6025 with WinXP installed on the internal hard drive and Mint installed on a Maxtor one touch external USB hard drive. The USB is fully formatted to ext3.
What I wish to do is be able to boot into Windows without the USB hard drive being attached or Boot into Linux Mint by attaching the USB drive and setting it in the BIOS to boot first.
I have been reading the linux help forums and trying different grub installations to different drives and partitions all to no avail. I can boot into Linux if I remove my internal hard drive. I cant boot into window if I remove the external hard drive. I have used Super Grub disk and GAG but neither one will boot into both systems. It is all very frustrating and yet to me should be simple.
If anyone has a simple explanation and detailed instructions it would be most helpful. I am very impressed with the Mint distro and would like to continue using it.
I tried the instructions above (putting the /boot on a separate partition on the internal sda). I could boot into either linux or xp with the external drive attached but could not boot into xp if it was not. I could using super grub disk. Thats as close as I have come over a six month period working on this problem.
Thanks for any help :(
Dennis
Should I have started a new thread??

I tried viking777 suggestion and loaded grub to sdb (hd1) and still nothing. Windows will load but when booting from USB drive all I get is "loading grub 1.5." and a flashing cursor. Nothing else happens.
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby Jace05 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:52 am

what i originally planned to do was install everything on my external so i don't need grub on my internal hd and i could take linux with me to any computer on my external and run it
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby viking777 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:02 am

Jace05 and burgersplus.

I am sorry the instruction I gave haven't worked for you, I did make it quite clear in an earlier post that I have never done this myself. I don't have Linux on an external drive and don't have any reason to do that, I am simply applying the same techniques to external drives that I have successfully employed many times on internal ones. My logic for doing that is simply 'A drive is a drive is a drive' as far as I know, be it internal or external. From what you have said maybe that isn't the case.

However, if ,bearing the above in mind, you are still willing to experiment, this is what I would do next (I am assuming here that you have already set your bios boot order to 1)cdrom 2) usb 3) hard drive).

With your external drive plugged in boot from the live cd then open a terminal and run:

Code: Select all
sudo su



then


Code: Select all
grub



then

Code: Select all
find /boot/grub/stage1



answer will be something (but not exactly) like


Code: Select all
(hd1,1)


In other words there should be grub stage 1 files on hd1 which should be your external hard drive (NB If you have more than 1 internal drive beware as your external drive may not be hd1). Bear in mind also that disks and partitions are numbered from the number 0 so (hd1,1) is the second partition on your second drive. Bear in mind again that the numbers I have used here are for illustration only, yours will probably be different.
To continue with my example, where the find command has found stage 1 files on (hd1,1) so I now want to make sure that grub is installed on the same drive I would run:

Code: Select all
root (hd1,1)


then

Code: Select all
setup (hd1)


followed by:

Code: Select all
quit


to exit the grub prompt.

Then remove the live cd and reboot with the external drive plugged in and I hope it will boot Mint, but I can't be sure because as I said above I have never done this myself.

I wish you both luck anyway.

Oh and bear in mind what Fred has said, mixing my instructions and his at the same time will definitely not work!

And btw if this doesn't work then I am completely out of ideas, sorry!
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Postby burgersplus on Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:54 pm

Thanks for all the help. It appears that it must be something to do with grub not recognizing the drives properly.

The most simple solution for me, so far, is to download the Super Grub Disc iso and burn it to a CD. Then when I turn on my laptop I can boot into whichever o/s I want. It works whether the drives are connected or not. You also have a choice of restoring grub to the MBR or booting direct to the o/s.

http://www.supergrubdisk.org/

Thanks again for your help Fred and Viking777
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