I have a 500GB External hard disk. It's a Western Digital internal IDE drive in a very generic USB2 external enclosure. The thing has switched power. I decided to try to make the drive into an independent portable OS. Mostly it would sit on top of my PC, where booting with the switch off would boot the actual machine, and booting with the switch on would cause the system to boot from the external drive. This could also serve as a recovery system if, say a family member's machine goes down.
I heard good things about Debian Mint, so I downloaded the .iso, (201109, 64-bit, Xfce) burned it, and tried to install. The liveCD booted, but for the life of me I couldn't find a way to even mount the external drive, much less install anything to it. It doesn't help matters that I get online via a USB Wifi adapter; it's a TP-Link TL-WN722N. This particular product hates anything linux. Something about drivers for the atheros wireless chip.
Enough exposition, though. I need you guys' help with two things.
1) Getting the OS installed on the external Hard Disk
2) Getting the drivers working for the Wifi Adapter
The primary OS on this machine is Windows 7 HP. Once I have Mint running on the external drive, I can download files with windows, and access the windows drive from Mint to retrieve them. In windows I could download an .exe that would install the drivers, put it on a flash drive, and run it on a different machine. What is the equivalent to doing that with Debian Mint? This internal-to-external copying is basically the same thing.