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Installing Ubuntu 7.10 on External Hard Drive

After reading the hoopla surrounding Ubuntu for weeks and weeks, I decided to give it a whirl.
The download was super fast – actually took about five minutes since I used BitTorrent to download.
I chose Gusty Gibbon – 7.10 build Live CD.
Now, I did not want to split up internal 100GB HDD of the laptop (Dell Latitude D620) nor did I want to mess up Master Boot Record(MBR) for Windows(XP).
Besides, I had a spare 250Gb Fujitsu USB HDD.
So after bit of googling turned up DaBruGo’s this post and Android’s this post describing the whole process.

My experiment was based on these and is chronicled below:

Step 1: Configure the BIOS of the laptop to boot in order: CD-ROM, External HDD, Internal HDD
Step 2: Load the Live CD, connect the USB drive and let the laptop boot from the CD.
Step 3: Make sure the External HDD is mounted ok (Places->Disk->Double click )
Open a terminal (Applications->Administrartion-> Terminal) and execute

%fdisk -l

This will show the which disk has been assigned which device number. In my case it was /dev/sda for internal HDD while
/dev/sdb for external HDD where I planned to install Ubuntu. The distinction was easy to make due to difference in sizes (Internal
HDD 100 Gb, External HDD 250 Gb). Make a note of the names.
Step 4: Click on “Install” on Desktop. Set appropriate values for
a. Language b. Time Zone etc.
This will bring you to Partitioning step. I chose Guided Partitioning for “Whole Disk”
Be VERY CAREFUL to choose the correct device here (/dev/sdb in my case). There is no undo here!!
Follow the instructions for setting up Computer name, user name, password. Please make a note of it.(The user name and password will
be needed to login once the installation is complete)
Once you see “Advanced” options choose the GRUB loader path from “hd0” to “/dev/sdb” (The external HDD).
This is very important!! Leaving the GRUB loader path unchanged will cause the installer to over write Windows MBR (“hd0”).
Wait until the partitioning is finished.
Step 5: Follow the reboot prompt and reboot the PC with keeping the Live CD in the drive.
[Note: This is contradictory to Andriod’s post but in line with
Debugro’s post.]
Step 6: Mount the External HDD back on(Places-> Disk-> Right click and select “Mount”). Note the complete path to this disk. In my case it was /media/disk. Open a terminal and proceed to execute following commands.

% sudo chroot /media/disk
% sudo vim /boot/grub/menu.lst

a. Add # in front of #hidemenu to comment it out.
b. Change a “# groot” line in a section of your menu.lst file
## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=( hd0, 0)
# groot=(hd1,0) – CHANGE THIS LINE TO READ # groot=(hd0,0)
c. Scroll down to until you get to a section where there is a menu list (not commented out … no #s) that has Ubuntu mentioned three
times (and possibly an area mentioning Windows XP down below it, if you have XP installed on an internal drive of yours).
There is a line in these three Ubuntu menu choices that has root listed on it and probably has (hd1,0) to the right of it. Change this to
(hd0,0) on all three of these menu choices. Why? Because according to GRUB, the external USB drive will be our first drive (hd0,0) and
not our second drive (hd1,0) because we loaded GRUB on it’s bootsector(Thanks DeBugro!).
Save the file and exit ([Esc] :wq)
Step 7: Reboot the PC. Take out the LiveCD from the drive. The GRUB should now load from External HDD if everything went well.

Categories: Linux.

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