Re: [linux-dell-laptops] Digest Number 2075
> Message: 4Thanks, though there are a couple of unanswered questions in my mind,
> Date: Mon, 02 May 2005 00:01:42 -0700
> From: "Douglas S. Oliver" <dsoliver@...>
> Subject: Re: USB Hard Disk???
> Hi Irlandes, I know that on my i8600 I can boot from a USB device. It's
> one of the options using the f12 key at boot. However, I have only
> booted into Windows in this way. I think that the trick would be to
> prepare your fstab file on the USB drive to reference the USB drive.
> Grub setup should use the fstab file on the USB drive. When you boot to
> the USB drive, the boot process should look for a boot loader on that
> drive, not your main hard drive. Have Grub or Lilo place the boot loader
> there (the USB drive). In Grub or Lilo you can call any bootable partition.
> I have not tried this yet, but I think that's how it should work.
> Remember that a normal setup will be looking for the root directory on
> hd(x), so things will get confused if fstab doesn't know to find root on
> the USB drive.
> I use a "disk caddy" that I just stick a hard drive into. I have a
> couple and each came with its own power supply. The Maxtor USB drives
> I've seen also have their own power supply. Your battery would drain
> pretty quickly any other way. When I travel, I use an $11 single outlet
> surge suppressor from Radio Shack and 3 or 6 outlet extension cord.
> You'll need room for power supplies.
> Good luck, and let us know how it all works for you. I have a couple of
> hard drives laying around just waiting for me to test this on myself. I
> just don't have the time right now.
> -- Douglas
you have given me the jump start that I needed.
First, external power supply: OKAY.
Next, it is almost certain that for my multiple distros to work, I must
be able to boot on the USB drive, one way or another. And, it is almost
certain if I can find a way to boot on the USB HD, I can then install
the boot loader there, and use as many distros as will fit. Usually, the
installation process creates the fstab as needed on the partition where
the distro is installed, though it is always possible I will be rudely
surprised -- so it is good to have a heads-up on that possibility.
A couple years ago, I put an old laptop HD #2 in an old desktop
computer, and with the BIOS, I could toggle which one it booted on, and
each one had its own boot-loader as you have stated. I could access the
other one, no matter which one I booted on, but since the HD had the
distro and its boot-loader installed independently, I did not have a
boot loader which could make the choice separate from the BIOS.
My 2650 BIOS shows the following boot choices:
Thus, I conclude there is no capacity in the BIOS to boot to a USB HD as
This sounds like the problem with installing Linux from a CD in older
computers that would not boot on the CD-ROM. One had to use a boot
floppy, which supplied probably a boot loader, and also the necessary
CD-ROM drivers. Of course, once you got Linux installed on the HD, you
no longer needed the boot floppy, except in special circumstances. I
vaguely remember needing the same routine for installing Windows 95 and
98. They came with a start-up disk for that task.
It is possible there is no mechanism for booting a USB HD other than
through the BIOS, but I find that very unlikely. It is such an obvious
thing to do, that it is unlikely I am the first to try it. I will need
to google, now that you have given me the jump start I needed (Thanks
again!) for one of two methods.
1. It is technically possible to put a loader in the inboard HD that would
allow the boot, just as we used a floppy to boot the CD-ROM.
2. Or, there may well be such boot utilities on floppy, or these days more
probably CD-ROM, which will do the job.
Thanks to your help, it seems the only remaining unresolved issue is
whether one can boot on the USB HD, and google should take care of that
easily. Everything else seems to be using well established methods of
setting up the boot-loader.
Thanks ever so much. I will try to let you know when/if I get it
working. I will not be returning to the States until early June, and
will try to do that googling here as I get access to the Web.
As far as surge suppressor, I bought a lightning arrestor AND a surge
suppressor for my house wiring, since it is in the mountains at a high
altitude. Each device is approximately the size of a hand-grenade, and
here at least I have no worries on that score.
In fact, if I ever get a telephone and my own Internet, I may well stop
dragging around a laptop, and install a desktop set-up, since they are
generally cheaper, and are also easier to modify.
- I see your problem. On my i8600 I have several boot options hitting the
f12 key as the computer starts to boot. I don't remember whether I
actually have bios options set in cmos. Did you say you have a floppy
drive? You might be able to install the boot loader there, but no one
wants to have to do that each time. Best of luck -- Douglas
>Thanks, though there are a couple of unanswered questions in my mind,
>you have given me the jump start that I needed.
>First, external power supply: OKAY.
>Next, it is almost certain that for my multiple distros to work, I must
>be able to boot on the USB drive, one way or another. And, it is almost
>certain if I can find a way to boot on the USB HD, I can then install
>the boot loader there, and use as many distros as will fit. Usually, the
>installation process creates the fstab as needed on the partition where
>the distro is installed, though it is always possible I will be rudely
>surprised -- so it is good to have a heads-up on that possibility.