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[Solved] Live external USB drive?

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:36 pm
by rdonnelly
I was wondering instead of a Live CD, could I put this image on an external USB drive? Would I need a separate partition? Right now I have a 500GB, partitioned as, partition 0 50GB NTFS, partition 1 450GB ext3. So can this be done and how?

Re: Live external USB drive?

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:59 am
by Husse
Strangely enough (perhaps) a hard disk does not seem a good idea but there are tons of solutions and suggestions for pen drives
This is one of many topics ... =42&t=3250

Re: Live external USB drive?

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:54 pm
by rdonnelly
Thanks Husse, I think I will just stick to the CD.

Re: Live external USB drive?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:10 pm
by DevAdv
it can be done, but you have to remember one thing.

no matter what, windows will only see 1 partition on an external drive if its set as removable.

so make the first partition the partition you want windows to see. then make the second partition your linux partition, and make sure you install grub to the beginning of your linux partition. you do this in the advanced menu of the linux mint installer.

now, the directions im going to type assumes three things.
1.) your running windows xp. as i have no idea how to do it with vista.
2.) your looking for an actual install, and not a "live cd" type environment.
3.) your usb drive is an external usb harddrive, not a flash drive.

after the install you have three options on how to boot into said linux.

you can
-F12 at boot and select "boot from usb" from the list.* you would have to do this each and every time you wanna boot into linux*

-set your bios to automatically boot from usb if a usb bootable device is plugged in.


-this one i haven't tested on a usb device but it will probably work. dd the first 512 bytes of your linux boot sector, copy it to windows and point your ntloader at it. that way you get the option to boot into windows or linux from the ntloader. i used this method to dual boot winxp/linux from the same and different hard drives, but never a usb device. i don't really know if the ntloader can boot a usb device or not, but i don't see why it wouldn't able to.

after you install reboot back into the live cd environment and do this.

open the console or terminal window.

"sudo dd if=/dev/xxxx of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1" minus the quotes.

xxxx would be the partition you installed your bootloader/grub onto. more then likely /dev/sdb3 sdb4 or sdb5.

then mount the other partition*ntfs* and copy bootsect.lnx to it. you can mount this through the graphical user interface.


when you load into windows, open your boot.ini, usually c:\boot.ini and add ~C:\BOOTSECT.LNX="Linux"~ to the last line.*minus the ~'s*
example here. do not copy paste this to your boot.ini.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation ...
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation ...
copy the bootsect.lnx to c:\ and voila, your ntloader should be able to boot the drive.

if you have problems or questions, post here and ill reply as soon as possible.

Re: Live external USB drive?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:31 pm
by rdonnelly
I am not using windoze, so it does not apply to my situation.

Re: Live external USB drive?

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:05 pm
by rdonnelly
Installed Unebootin, it nicely prepares the external hard drive, boots as if it were the live cd, but everything is much faster. Cant wait to install the next distro!