[nSLUG] Linux on Laptop and External USB Drive

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Sat Sep 23 09:07:55 ADT 2006

On 9/22/06, Michael Crawford <mdcrawford at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9/20/06, Preston Smith <prbasmith at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I would like to install Linux...
> > I have 250 GB external USB drive which I plan to use to backup both my
> > laptop and PC.  Could I install separate Linux OS partitions for both
> > computers on this drive instead of installing on the respective HDs?
> Yes, you can install Linux on an external USB drive.  It helps if your
> laptop's BIOS supports booting from USB, but if it doesn't there is
> still a way to get what you want.
> You need to roll a custom initrd that includes the USB and SCSI kernel
> modules.  It's not hard if you have ever made a custom initrd, but it
> will be frustrating if this is your first one ever.

You can also boot linux from Windows' boot loader.  There are
instructions on the web <http://www.tprthai.net/bootmgr.htm>.
I have used this with linux installed on a partition of the internal
disk -- don't know that it works with multiple disks, but it is worth
a try.  When you install linux you tell it to install grub on the
linux partition without modifying the windows partition.

If you are not experienced at disk partioning, installing boot
loaders, etc, the VMWare player route minimizes the risk to your
existing Windows install and gives you the experience of installing on
a dedicated PC (one that is somewhat slower than the host, but current
PC's have ample CPU power to support VM's).

has instructions for installing most Intel OS's in a VMWare player,
using a pre-built disk image file and editing a configuration template
to create an empty virtual PC.  The install is be done from a .iso
image (e.g., you don't even need to burn a physical DVD).  I've done
this numerous times, but never with one of the "supported" OS's, so I
have to compile the VMWare kernel modules myself (an extra step each
time you update the kernel).

With linux running in a VMWare player, a Windows share on the host can
be mounted using the "cifs" filesystem.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


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