Dual booting on an external drive?

Hi, I was wondering if it is possible to have a main drive in your computer, and install ubuntu to an external (USB) drive, then just have the system boot to the ubuntu drive whenever that’s plugged in at start up, is this possible, or are USB devices not recognized at start up? thanks…

USB devices are recognized at start up but thats not the problem

i have personally attempted to create the same thing and ran into a problem… during formating the Ubuntu installer always gets an error while creating the SWAP partition and reformatting to its native format… for some reason external drives cant handle reformatting to another data format… if you find a way around that… hit me up lol

You can do this if your computer’s BIOS allows booting from USB. I usually keep a copy ofgrafpup on a flash drive and boot into it whenever I want to do something simple in Linux.

You will have to modify the boot drive sequence in cmos ram to use the USB device first.


So if my computer supports it, all I need to do is run the live CD, click the install icon, select the USB drive and let it install?

not for external drivers

B0r3d is referring to the version of linux that can be hosted on FLASH drives with no more then 4 gb of space… not external drives that are more then that

for that version go to www.pendrivelinux.com vbmenu_register(“postmenu_945196”, true);

like someone said before it is in the CMOS and the BIOS, most recent computers will allow this.

Just one major thing you need to remember!!!

when it asks you where you want to put GRUB, make sure you put it on the main hard drive!! Otherwise you wont be able to boot windows without the external drive plugged in.
(I take my external drive to work with me, and I learned this the hard way one day when I left my hard drive at work, and was not able to surf for p0rn at home :frowning: )

So, since I’m confused now, I’m going to try to clear up any details that I can.

  1. The external drive I’m talking about would be dedicated to ubuntu (or whatever flavor of) linux
  2. The size of the drive would be somewhere between 120 and 250 GB (more than 4)
  3. This wouldn’t be a “Flash” drive, per say, it would be an external USB hard drive

So, with this updated info, could I just run a ubuntu live CD, run the install app, select the USB drive to install ubuntu to, and select the main hard drive to install GRUB to, adjust the BIOS boot order, then just plug in my USB drive when I want to boot to ubuntu?

If you install the boot loader on the external drive, it will always have to be plugged in to boot to either linux or windows.

Go ahead and install ubuntu on the external drive, but dont install the bootloader on it.

if you follow that you should not have to change the boot order.

for some reason i cant get this to work, and operantly im not the only one, the external drive doesn’t want to partition properly

Hi, this thread has been dead for awhile, but, I’m now a happy ubuntu/kubuntu external hard drive user.

I posted a question on the ubuntu answers page ( https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/15421 ) and got some direction as to what I should do.
My post there explains what I did to get it working, but it doesn’t explain how I dual-booted kubuntu onto the drive as well. If anyone cares, you can look at the last part of my last post on the ubuntu answeres topic ( the ‘sudo gparted’ part), and then just run the kubuntu alternate install cd instead of the ubuntu one and choose the ‘largest continuous free space’ option.