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OS on External HDD


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#1 cosmic_sniper05

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

I am planning to use a small portion of my external HDD for installation of a Linux OS (Linux Mint or OpenSuse) that would serve as a server for testing web development works. I might also use it to study web hosting.

What are the technical disadvantages of such setup?
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#2 stiltskin

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:08 AM

Speed can be a problem. If you use USB3 it may not make much difference. Depending on the drive and drive speed, it could make a lot.

So can the order drives get detected. The drive will have to be consistently detected in the right order or it will fail to boot sometimes and boot OK others. That's because the bootloader will look for a specific drive in a specific location. At least, that's true of GRUB and LILO. I'm not sure in the case of GRUB2 if it uses the drive identifier (UUID) or drive location (/dev/sdX). If it uses the identifer, detection order won't matter so long as it's detected at all by the BIOS.

#3 cosmic_sniper05

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:29 AM

The drive will have to be consistently detected in the right order or it will fail to boot sometimes and boot OK others. That's because the bootloader will look for a specific drive in a specific location.


How will I know if it could detect the drive in the right order? Would the setup inflict changes on the BIOS itself? If so, then there might be a problem because I am running Windows on the internal drives and I don't intend to go on a dual boot. I'm planning 2 stand alone OS on different drives (internal and external).
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#4 searchme2

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:26 PM

It's been about 6 days since your last reply. Don't know if you got it worked out yet but maybe this will help.

I think what stiltskin was referring to was if you install GRUB to your main drive's MBR, which is usually the default. In that case you'll be presented with the GRUB menu every time you boot the machine whether or not the USB drive is plugged in. Grub2 does use UUID so there shouldn't be a problem with consistency. At least there shouldn't be.

But you can install GRUB to the USB drive instead.

When you install the OS you'll have to know what the USB drive is called. The Linux installer may present your internal drive as sda with the first partition being sda1 and if there are other partitions on that drive they'll be sda2 and sda3 etc. If there's a second internal drive it may be sdb (sdb1, sdb2 ect.). You're USB drive may be sdf, first partition sdf1, second partition sdf2 ect. At least that's what my Linux Mint OS identifies my USB drive as.

When you install Linux to the USB drive you can install the GRUB bootloader directly to the USB drive. I'm not sure what installer OpenSuse uses but in the Mint installer look for an advanced button to change where the GRUB loader is installed. By default it may install GRUB to the USB drive if you are installing the OS to USB but I'm not sure now. It may default to the internal drive anyway. You'll have to look for that option. So for example, if your USB drive is called sdf (your's may be different) then tell GRUB to install on sdf (not sdf1 or sdf2, just sdf). That way you don't have to have a GRUB menu when you boot Windows. You just have to plug in the USB drive and tell the computer to boot from USB.

Edited by searchme2, 30 April 2012 - 11:32 PM.


#5 skokospa

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:20 AM

maybe this Linux Instructions will help

see also liveusb-creator

Edited by skokospa, 01 May 2012 - 03:45 PM.

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#6 cosmic_sniper05

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:07 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I've eventually decided to do multi-boot system on my notebook with the idea of using it as a home/work computer. Though, I'm still looking at the possibility of having a "server-on-the-go" and that is where I'll use your inputs.

Thanks.
Let's have a mental fusion!
Let us do our part to make this world a truly symbiotic place.

For other computer problems, this blog might be helpful:
http://cosmicsniper.blogspot.com




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