Trouble booting after loading to external

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viking777
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by viking777 »

My guess is that when you installed without the internal drive in place, your external drive was called sda. When you put your internal drive back in I am pretty sure that the internal becomes sda and the external drive sdb (use a live cd and gparted to confirm this). You will either need to reinstall grub so that it point to sdb3 (which is possible but difficult and you will probably still have to edit menu.lst by hand) or install mint onto your external drive again but this time with your internal hard drive in place (much easier).
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by viking777 »

Sure your partition set up is OK (on your external drive) anyway Linux is amazingly tolerant of different partition setups. You don't actually need a
/home partition (I dont have one) you don't even need a swap partition (if you have a reasonable amount of memory) so what you have will certainly work.

Put your internal drive back in and then, if you want to be doubly sure of what you are doing, boot from the live cd and run gparted. Have a look at your disks and partitions and make absolutely sure you know what is where - even draw a little diagram in the same way that gparted presents the disk layouts if that makes you more certain. Then when you install make ABSOLUTELY sure that you choose manual or custom disk partitioning (whichever it is called) and make sure you put the '/' partition on the third primary partition of your external drive (which I think will be /dev/sdb3, your home partition on the first extended partition of your external drive (which I think will be called /dev/sdb5, and put your swap partition on the second extended partition of your external hard drive (which I think will be called /dev/sdb6).

I am sure that will work.
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Fred
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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Jace05,

Ok... first, you are confusing the issue greatly by changing the boot drive. Set your BIOS to boot the first hard drive, that Windows is on, and leave it that way. The partitioning you show in the last screen is fine. Install it like that and everything should be ok. You should be able to select the system that boots from the grub menu, not from the BIOS.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Jace05,

Ok... If I understand you correctly, sdb is your external drive. This is where you have your /boot partition and its menu.lst file. The way you have it installed you must have your external drive installed in order to boot anything. Selecting to boot the usb drive from the BIOS just changes the boot sector that is referenced for boot. There is nothing in that boot sector. The grub kernel is in the boot sector of the internal hard drive.

If you want to be able to boot without the external drive connected you need to have the /boot partition located on your internal hard drive. Your / partition for your Linux install can still be on the external drive but it won't actually boot unless the external hard drive is plugged in. The Windows install will then boot with or without the external drive connected however.

Trying to boot from the BIOS will not do anything but give errors. Leave it set to boot from the internal hard drive.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Jace05,

You missed the point. The boot folder/partition has to be on the sda or internal hard drive. When you reinstalled and put the / on the external hard drive with no /boot partition the boot is still on the external hard drive. It is part of / now.

In order to get it to boot with the external drive installed or not installed, /boot needs to be on sda, the internal hard drive. The Linux Mint / can stay on the external hard drive, but your /boot partition needs to be on the internal hard drive so it will work with or without the external drive connected.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Hang on a min. and let me look at what you have.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Jace05,

Your ntfs partition is full! My guess is that it is really s-l-o-w. You really need to get some of the data off of it while you still can. You are right on the edge of Windows not working at all. If I were you I would move at least 10 Gig. off sda to the fat32 partition. Then defrag the ntfs partition and shrink it by about 64 MB. Take the 64 MB plus the 8 MB and make an ext2 partition for /boot.

Create a 12 Gig. ext3 partition on sdb for Mint /. And a swap partition of about 2 Gig. Create any other data partitions you want to have on sdb.

Then install your Linux Mint with the /boot partition on sda2 and the / and swap to sdb.

That should get what I think you are looking for.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Jace05,

We are just not communicating. I don't blame you, it is me not being able to express myself effectively. Let me try again.

You seem to want to change the boot with some key combination/BIOS setting. Don't. You do all the boot selection from the Grub menu, not by changing the boot drive. You set the BIOS so it boots from the internal drive, the one that has Windows on it. You do this when the external drive is plugged in. To do this you boot with the external drive plugged in. You should see the internal drive as sda1, and it should have Windows on it. Once you have this set in your BIOS you leave it alone. You do not change this to usb boot, sda2 boot or any other option available in BIOS to boot OSs.

You make the install of Mint with the /boot partition on sda1 and the / partition on sda2 and let the installer put the grub kernel in the boot sector of sda, hd0.

Without changing anything, the external drive still plugged in, when you boot you should be able to boot into Windows or Mint from the grub boot screen. When you boot without the external drive plugged in you should be able to boot Windows but not Linux from the grub boot screen. The reason being that the Mint install is on the external drive which is not plugged in.

At no time should you try to change the boot drive from the BIOS. Always use the grub boot screen, with the BIOS set to boot the internal, sda drive. That should never change regardless of what OS you are trying to boot.

I hope this is making some sense to you. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by Fred »

Gigonua,

Sure, don't do it like I am suggesting in this thread however. Put your install all on the external drive, ie. no separate /boot partition. The last screen of the install, I think it is, there is a button labeled "advanced" that will allow you to install grub to your desired location. Install grub to the mbr of the drive you are installing Linux to.

Lets say you have an external drive being recognized as sdb, which you install Linux to. Select to put the grub kernel in (hd1). Then when you boot a computer that gives you the option to boot the external drive it will boot Linux. It won't boot Windows however, just your Linux install. You could put a few typical Windows boot stanzas in the menu.lst but it would be hit and miss, depending on the computer you were trying to boot with. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by viking777 »

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

Post by Fred »

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. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by viking777 »

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

Post by Fred »

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. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by viking777 »

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

Post by Fred »

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. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

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Re: Trouble booting after loading to external

Post by burgersplus »

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

Post by viking777 »

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

Post by burgersplus »

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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