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Linux on an external HD

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  • Gabrielle
    Greetings, I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the posts here. I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for
    Message 1 of 9 , May 28 11:57 AM
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      Greetings,

      I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the posts here.
      I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for asking this. I still have not been able to obtain a decent used computer for myself and am at the mercy of using my room mates. He told me I absolutely could NOT partition his hard drive and put some version of Linux on it. So, I have seen that the price of an iOmega external 1TB HD is on sale right now for around $80. Would I be able to plug in one of those to his computer and download say Mint since I am a newbie, and then only use it off of that external HD? Plus use it then on whatever computer I finally do obtain? This is so he will not know or complain. I am alone with his computer during the day, so I would have time to plug and play. I am not sure if these external HD's require downloading anything to the main computer you are plugged into or not. I do not want anything to show on his computer.
      Anyway, I hope this was not an eye roller of a question.

      Thank you
    • searcher1
      Linux can most certainly be run from an external HD. Before I upgraded my internal HD, I was using Ubuntu on an external HD for several months. Ubuntu was able
      Message 2 of 9 , May 28 11:32 PM
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        Linux can most certainly be run from an external HD. Before I upgraded my internal HD, I was using Ubuntu on an external HD for several months. Ubuntu was able to detect my computer's hardware automatically and could change the drivers automatically when I plugged the external HD into another computer. I am quite sure Mint can do likewise. You can choose not to mount the internal HD and nothing in there will be touched. I still use Puppy Linux on a USB pendrive and bring that with me everywhere I go.

        But 1 TB may be on the high side unless you are planning to install many distros. Mint will need about 20 GB only.

        Alex





        ________________________________
        From: Gabrielle <dawnyisrael13@...>
        To: LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sat, 29 May, 2010 2:57:55
        Subject: [LINUX_Newbies] Linux on an external HD


        Greetings,

        I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the posts here.
        I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for asking this. I still have not been able to obtain a decent used computer for myself and am at the mercy of using my room mates. He told me I absolutely could NOT partition his hard drive and put some version of Linux on it. So, I have seen that the price of an iOmega external 1TB HD is on sale right now for around $80. Would I be able to plug in one of those to his computer and download say Mint since I am a newbie, and then only use it off of that external HD? Plus use it then on whatever computer I finally do obtain? This is so he will not know or complain. I am alone with his computer during the day, so I would have time to plug and play. I am not sure if these external HD's require downloading anything to the main computer you are plugged into or not. I do not want anything to show on his computer.
        Anyway, I hope this was not an eye roller of a question.

        Thank you







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Roy
        Yes. You can even install Linux to an 8 GB usb stick and it will run quite well. I am running Ubuntu 10.04 from a 16 GB SD card on my netbook. I run Fedora 12
        Message 3 of 9 , May 29 5:53 AM
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          Yes. You can even install Linux to an 8 GB usb stick and it will run quite
          well. I am running Ubuntu 10.04 from a 16 GB SD card on my netbook. I run
          Fedora 12 from a usb external drives too. Check to see if your room-mate's
          computer boots from usb first. Even if it doesn't it is possible to make a
          CD to start the usb boot process; it just adds a second step. You could also
          look into WUBI which installs Ubuntu in Windows without any partitioning.

          see http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
          http://wubi-installer.org/
          https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wubi

          Roy

          On 29 May 2010 02:32, searcher1 <searcher125@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Linux can most certainly be run from an external HD. Before I upgraded my
          > internal HD, I was using Ubuntu on an external HD for several months. Ubuntu
          > was able to detect my computer's hardware automatically and could change the
          > drivers automatically when I plugged the external HD into another computer.
          > I am quite sure Mint can do likewise. You can choose not to mount the
          > internal HD and nothing in there will be touched. I still use Puppy Linux on
          > a USB pendrive and bring that with me everywhere I go.
          >
          > But 1 TB may be on the high side unless you are planning to install many
          > distros. Mint will need about 20 GB only.
          >
          > Alex
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: Gabrielle <dawnyisrael13@... <dawnyisrael13%40yahoo.com>>
          > To: LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com <LINUX_Newbies%40yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Sat, 29 May, 2010 2:57:55
          > Subject: [LINUX_Newbies] Linux on an external HD
          >
          >
          > Greetings,
          >
          > I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the
          > posts here.
          > I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for asking this. I
          > still have not been able to obtain a decent used computer for myself and am
          > at the mercy of using my room mates. He told me I absolutely could NOT
          > partition his hard drive and put some version of Linux on it. So, I have
          > seen that the price of an iOmega external 1TB HD is on sale right now for
          > around $80. Would I be able to plug in one of those to his computer and
          > download say Mint since I am a newbie, and then only use it off of that
          > external HD? Plus use it then on whatever computer I finally do obtain? This
          > is so he will not know or complain. I am alone with his computer during the
          > day, so I would have time to plug and play. I am not sure if these external
          > HD's require downloading anything to the main computer you are plugged into
          > or not. I do not want anything to show on his computer.
          > Anyway, I hope this was not an eye roller of a question.
          >
          > Thank you
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • J
          ... Roy, what kind of netbook do you have, and how did you get an SD slot to boot? I ve looked at my Lenovo S-10, and one that one of my students had, and
          Message 4 of 9 , May 29 6:00 AM
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            On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 08:53, Roy <linuxcanuck@...> wrote:
            > I am running Ubuntu 10.04 from a 16 GB SD card on my netbook.

            Roy, what kind of netbook do you have, and how did you get an SD slot to boot?

            I've looked at my Lenovo S-10, and one that one of my students had,
            and neither of us could get that working. IN our cases, the SD slot
            didn't present as a device until after the OS was loaded... the BIOS
            didn't recognize it as a device by itself, even with an SD card
            plugged in.

            Cheers
            Jeff
          • Gabrielle
            Thank you, thank you to everyone that responded! The computer my room mate has is a Gateway Media Center PC with plenty of plugs on it. The only reason I was
            Message 5 of 9 , May 29 6:21 AM
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              Thank you, thank you to everyone that responded! The computer my room mate has is a Gateway Media Center PC with plenty of plugs on it. The only reason I was looking into the 1TB HD's is because some of the 320GB ones are only about $10 less and so for the money, it seemed like you would have so much more for just a little extra cash. Plus, I have been looking into purchasing a laptop and most of them do not have very big HD's, so I thought I would be able to keep everything on one of these TB units and not clutter up a laptop. Thanks again. You all are the nicest computer related group I have ever encountered. I have been to computer type forums and such and most of them can be condescending and rude. Everyone here is very respectful and kind. I would recommend this group to anyone and already have. Have a great day.

              --- In LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com, Roy <linuxcanuck@...> wrote:
              >
              > Yes. You can even install Linux to an 8 GB usb stick and it will run quite
              > well. I am running Ubuntu 10.04 from a 16 GB SD card on my netbook. I run
              > Fedora 12 from a usb external drives too. Check to see if your room-mate's
              > computer boots from usb first. Even if it doesn't it is possible to make a
              > CD to start the usb boot process; it just adds a second step. You could also
              > look into WUBI which installs Ubuntu in Windows without any partitioning.
              >
              > see http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
              > http://wubi-installer.org/
              > https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wubi
              >
              > Roy
              >
              > On 29 May 2010 02:32, searcher1 <searcher125@...> wrote:
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > Linux can most certainly be run from an external HD. Before I upgraded my
              > > internal HD, I was using Ubuntu on an external HD for several months. Ubuntu
              > > was able to detect my computer's hardware automatically and could change the
              > > drivers automatically when I plugged the external HD into another computer.
              > > I am quite sure Mint can do likewise. You can choose not to mount the
              > > internal HD and nothing in there will be touched. I still use Puppy Linux on
              > > a USB pendrive and bring that with me everywhere I go.
              > >
              > > But 1 TB may be on the high side unless you are planning to install many
              > > distros. Mint will need about 20 GB only.
              > >
              > > Alex
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > > From: Gabrielle <dawnyisrael13@... <dawnyisrael13%40yahoo.com>>
              > > To: LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com <LINUX_Newbies%40yahoogroups.com>
              > > Sent: Sat, 29 May, 2010 2:57:55
              > > Subject: [LINUX_Newbies] Linux on an external HD
              > >
              > >
              > > Greetings,
              > >
              > > I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the
              > > posts here.
              > > I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for asking this. I
              > > still have not been able to obtain a decent used computer for myself and am
              > > at the mercy of using my room mates. He told me I absolutely could NOT
              > > partition his hard drive and put some version of Linux on it. So, I have
              > > seen that the price of an iOmega external 1TB HD is on sale right now for
              > > around $80. Would I be able to plug in one of those to his computer and
              > > download say Mint since I am a newbie, and then only use it off of that
              > > external HD? Plus use it then on whatever computer I finally do obtain? This
              > > is so he will not know or complain. I am alone with his computer during the
              > > day, so I would have time to plug and play. I am not sure if these external
              > > HD's require downloading anything to the main computer you are plugged into
              > > or not. I do not want anything to show on his computer.
              > > Anyway, I hope this was not an eye roller of a question.
              > >
              > > Thank you
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • loyal_barber
              ... Though a few might roll their eyes at any question, I really don t think that is a problem with this group! ... Which is somewhat sensible. Though I have
              Message 6 of 9 , May 29 7:41 AM
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                --- In LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com, "Gabrielle" <dawnyisrael13@...> wrote:

                > Greetings,
                >
                > I first want to say I have been enjoying reading and learning from all the posts here.
                > I have a question and please do not roll your eyes at me for asking this.

                Though a few might roll their eyes at any question, I really don't think that is
                a problem with this group!

                > I still
                > have not been able to obtain a decent used computer for myself and am at the mercy
                > of using my room mates. He told me I absolutely could NOT partition his hard drive
                > and put some version of Linux on it.

                Which is somewhat sensible. Though I have repartitioned Windows computers often to
                add Linux, things can go wrong.

                > So, I have seen that the price of an iOmega
                > external 1TB HD is on sale right now for around $80. Would I be able to plug in
                > one of those to his computer and download say Mint since I am a newbie, and then
                > only use it off of that external HD?

                Assuming your roommate's computer is pretty new (read: last 3-4 years) I see no
                problem with this way of doing things. I have done something similar myself. I run
                Mint on an 8 GB fast USB flash drive on a netbook. It works wonderfully. Do this
                when booting his computer: Watch the Power On Self Test (POST) during boot. That
                screen will usually list something that indicates a functiton key (usually F11 or
                F12) that will allow you to boot from a different device or with devices in a
                different order. Press the key the POST says to and look at the list displayed
                of boot devices. You should see something about "USB" in the list. If you do
                you can do exactly what you describe.

                > Plus use it then on whatever computer I
                > finally do obtain? This is so he will not know or complain.

                Yes, you would be able to use it on whatever computer you finally get. However,
                when you have the choice, I would use the internal hard drive for my Linux setup
                because it will be inherently faster that way.

                Also, it sounds as if you are thinking of doing this on the sly. I would not
                recommend doing that as it may well infuriate your roommate. Never assume they
                won't find out. Even though you would not be touching his computer in any way
                it still may make your roommate angry. Tell him/her your plan and let them
                know that it will absolutely NOT touch anything on his computer but run totally
                from the external drive.

                All of that said, you will need to do one other thing to make this work. During
                Installation, absolutely do NOT install the GRUB boot manager on his hard drive.
                I may need some help from the other folks on the list here. I remember installing
                Linux some years ago on a second internal drive. I went into the computer's BIOS
                before performing an install and told the computer through the BIOS that the
                first hard drive did not exist by choosing "None" for that hard drive. I then did
                my install and waited until boot time to choose which drive to boot from. Why?
                Because when he/she turns on his/her computer and the pretty GRUB screen displays,
                I bet there is a serious fit on the way.

                > I am alone with his
                > computer during the day, so I would have time to plug and play. I am not sure if
                > these external HD's require downloading anything to the main computer you are
                > plugged into or not. I do not want anything to show on his computer.
                > Anyway, I hope this was not an eye roller of a question.
                >
                > Thank you
                >
                >

                No, external drives do not require anything in the way of downloads or drivers in
                order to work. You truly can "plug and play." Also, you mentioned choosing
                Mint because you are a Newbie. Let me assure you that plenty of non-Newbies
                use Mint also. I am not a Newbie and use it on my laptop for serious design
                and programming of computer software.

                Regards,
                Loyal
              • J
                I just want to +1 a couple things Loyal said and add my own thoughts below: ... Indeed. That is always a possibility when one starts moving bits and byes
                Message 7 of 9 , May 29 9:29 AM
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                  I just want to +1 a couple things Loyal said and add my own thoughts below:

                  On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 10:41, loyal_barber <loyal_barber@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Which is somewhat sensible.  Though I have repartitioned Windows computers often to
                  > add Linux, things can go wrong.

                  Indeed. That is always a possibility when one starts moving bits and
                  byes around a hard disk... it's no where NEAR as dangerous as it was
                  in the old days, but as Loyal says, your approach is certainly
                  sensible, especially given the constraints you mentioned (not
                  installing directly on roomies computer)

                  > Assuming your roommate's computer is pretty new (read: last 3-4 years) I see no
                  > problem with this way of doing things.  I have done something similar myself.  I run
                  > Mint on an 8 GB fast USB flash drive on a netbook.  It works wonderfully.  Do this
                  > when booting his computer:  Watch the Power On Self Test (POST) during boot.  That
                  > screen will usually list something that indicates a functiton key (usually F11 or
                  > F12) that will allow you to boot from a different device or with devices in a
                  > different order.  Press the key the POST says to and look at the list displayed
                  > of boot devices.  You should see something about "USB" in the list.  If you do
                  > you can do exactly what you describe.

                  On addition to this... if you hit that F key that brings up the boot
                  menu, and you DON'T see something along the lines of "Boot from USB"
                  or similar, reboot and hit the F key for the BIOS. If Boot from USB
                  isn't enabled in BIOS, it won't show up in the boot device menu. So
                  if you don't see it there, check the bios to see if it exists at all
                  or is just disabled. I believe the default behaviour for pretty much
                  all systems these days is to enable USB booting, but never hurts to
                  take a look.

                  > Yes, you would be able to use it on whatever computer you finally get.  However,
                  > when you have the choice, I would use the internal hard drive for my Linux setup
                  > because it will be inherently faster that way.

                  +1 here too... At the very least, I hope the USB ports and the drive
                  you're using (if you get the IOMega one, then it should be) are USB
                  2... trying to run an OS off a USB 1.1 device is a nightmare...

                  > Also, it sounds as if you are thinking of doing this on the sly.  I would not
                  > recommend doing that as it may well infuriate your roommate.  Never assume they
                  > won't find out.  Even though you would not be touching his computer in any way
                  > it still may make your roommate angry.  Tell him/her your plan and let them
                  > know that it will absolutely NOT touch anything on his computer but run totally
                  > from the external drive.

                  Also, +1. And let me add that you NEED TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL WITH DISKS
                  IF YOU DO THIS!!!! Most distros will automatically mount everything
                  they find during install. This means that there's a chance your
                  roomie's windows partition(s) will be found and set to automatically
                  mount. So you need to be extra careful that you don't inadvertently
                  delete stuff on the roomie's hard disk.

                  > All of that said, you will need to do one other thing to make this work.  During
                  > Installation, absolutely do NOT install the GRUB boot manager on his hard drive.
                  > I may need some help from the other folks on the list here.  I remember installing
                  > Linux some years ago on a second internal drive.  I went into the computer's BIOS
                  > before performing an install and told the computer through the BIOS that the
                  > first hard drive did not exist by choosing "None" for that hard drive.  I then did
                  > my install and waited until boot time to choose which drive to boot from.  Why?
                  > Because when he/she turns on his/her computer and the pretty GRUB screen displays,
                  > I bet there is a serious fit on the way.

                  Absolutely right... Personally, I prefer to just pull the cable off
                  the drive, or remove it completely (if it's in a laptop/netbook)
                  because while there is almost 0 chance of screwing up, it's that last
                  .001% that will bite you in the ass.

                  If the primary onboard drive is still present when you install to the
                  USB drive, the installer will generally default to writing Grub (the
                  boot loader) to the MBR of the primary disk, NOT your USB disk. So
                  you must use caution here too.

                  Also, removing the primary disk will also eliminate what I mentioned
                  above about the windows partitions being auto-mounted by default.

                  The only other problem I could think of off the top of my head is
                  maybe a problem with the boot loader finding partitions if UUID or
                  device name changes between systems. If you're booting directly from
                  the USB drive, I don't imagine that you'll have much of an issue with
                  device names, but I'm not sure if the UUID would change or not.
                  Probably not, but I've never experimented with it to find out for
                  sure.

                  Cheers,

                  Jeff
                • Chris Becker
                  Just make sure grub gets dumped on the ext HD, rather than the internal one. Btw... You re halfway to an inexensive netbook... I would just snag a cheap
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 29 9:47 AM
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                    Just make sure grub gets dumped on the ext HD, rather than the internal one. Btw... You're halfway to an inexensive netbook... I would just snag a cheap flashdrive for installation now, and keep saving up.

                    Sent from a Windows Mobile device.

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: searcher1 <searcher125@...>
                    Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 1:32 AM
                    To: LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [LINUX_Newbies] Linux on an external HD

                    Linux can most certainly be run from an external HD. Before I upgraded my internal HD, I was using Ubuntu on an external HD for several months. Ubuntu was able to detect my computer's hardware automatically and could change the drivers automatically when I plugged the external HD into another computer. I am quite sure Mint can do likewise. You can choose not to mount the internal HD and nothing in there will be touched. I still use Puppy Linux on a USB pendrive and bring that with me everywhere I go.

                    But 1 TB may be on the high side unless you are planning to install many distros. Mint will need about 20 GB only.

                    Alex





                    ________________________________
                    From: Gabrielle <dawnyisrael13@...>
                    To: LINUX_Newbies@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sat, 29 May, 2010 2:57:55
                    Subject: [LINUX_Newbies] Linux on an external HD


                    [The entire original message is not included]
                  • Roy
                    I have a eeePC 900 that came with a 160 GB HD with Windows XP on it. I use part of that for /home (50 GBs or so) and run Ubuntu 10.04 full version as I don t
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 29 5:17 PM
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                      I have a eeePC 900 that came with a 160 GB HD with Windows XP on it. I use
                      part of that for /home (50 GBs or so) and run Ubuntu 10.04 full version as I
                      don't like the NBR interface on the SD card. I also have a eeePC 701 with a
                      20 GB SSD that came with Xandros which sucks BTW (at least four years out of
                      date) that uses 8 GBs and it has Windows XP in the remaining 12 GBs. I run
                      several distributions from SD cards there.

                      Both eeePCs and my desktop HP computer use the ESC key at boot time to bring
                      up the built in boot manager. From that I can choose which device to boot. I
                      always write grub to the drive on which it is installed and not the MBR.
                      That way I can control the devices and even remove them without fouling up
                      grub. This way everything in grub is (hd0,0) which means first drive first
                      partition.

                      When I use an external HD (1 TB) I use hd0 but vary the partition and write
                      to MBR of the external HD. I have Fedora 12, MEPIS 8.5, Sidux and PCLinuxOS
                      installed on that drive plus four large partitions for backup and data
                      storage. I get plenty of practice fixing grub as each distro is better or
                      worse for handling other installed distributions. Ubuntu detects everythign
                      and is almost fail proof. Fedora on the other hand recognises little outside
                      of Fedora. MEPIS, PCLOS and Sidux is quite good, but Sabayon on a separate
                      drive does not pick up anything but itself. I usually have at least six or
                      seven distros installed at one time plus more on several VMs.

                      I will replace Fedora 12 with 13 shortly and try the new Mandriva and
                      openSuSE when they are final. I should give Mint a try when it catches up to
                      Ubuntu. Linux is great if you are a Linux junkie!

                      Roy

                      On 29 May 2010 09:00, J <dreadpiratejeff@...> wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 08:53, Roy <linuxcanuck@...<linuxcanuck%40gmail.com>>
                      > wrote:
                      > > I am running Ubuntu 10.04 from a 16 GB SD card on my netbook.
                      >
                      > Roy, what kind of netbook do you have, and how did you get an SD slot to
                      > boot?
                      >
                      > I've looked at my Lenovo S-10, and one that one of my students had,
                      > and neither of us could get that working. IN our cases, the SD slot
                      > didn't present as a device until after the OS was loaded... the BIOS
                      > didn't recognize it as a device by itself, even with an SD card
                      > plugged in.
                      >
                      > Cheers
                      > Jeff
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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