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Booting Linux off a portable HDD

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  • Hard Drives
  • Linux
Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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19 August 2013 05:18:08

Hello everybody,
I'm trying to run Ubuntu on my laptop, the trick is I wanna run it from a portable hdd and I wanted to know if it would be possible to run it like if it was installed to an internal hdd. I wanna know if I could save stuff and install programs and then start it again and it be the same as the time before.
I'm sorry if the question is confusing, feel free to ask for more info.
Thanks in advance :) 

More about : booting linux portable hdd

19 August 2013 05:21:58

Running it off the external hdd is not hard. Go into ur computer's bios settings and tell it to boot off the dvd/cd-rom drive, install linux, then, whenever you want to run linux, tell ur computer to boot off the usb hard drive.
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19 August 2013 05:38:52

memadmax said:
Running it off the external hdd is not hard. Go into ur computer's bios settings and tell it to boot off the dvd/cd-rom drive, install linux, then, whenever you want to run linux, tell ur computer to boot off the usb hard drive.


So there is no partitioning or special software? Would I need to unplug my internal hdd? Would it run about the same as if it was on an internal hdd? Sorry about all the questions I just want to be educated before messing anything up lol. I appreciate the quick response btw!
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Best solution

a b 5 Linux
19 August 2013 07:25:11

No partitioning or special software required. No need to unplug anything.

If your external drive is eSATA or USB 3 then performance will be the same as with an internal disk. USB 2 will be noticeably slower.
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19 July 2014 18:23:38

So the ext. HDD will show like a normal HDD no matter what?
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a b 5 Linux
19 July 2014 22:56:22

Yes it will appear as a normal Hardrive...
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20 July 2014 10:59:49

Even my flash drive needed partitioning when installing LXLE, I don't know what are you people talking about...
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a b 5 Linux
20 July 2014 12:11:19

DyO152 said:
I don't know what are you people talking about...

I couldn't disagree with that.

Linux installers have no problems partitioning and formatting disks as necessary. No special software needed.
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1 August 2014 00:01:58

I just copy my post from another thread and just add few details :-)
I would add another possibility. Use an PC and disconnect HDD(s). Then boot linux from DVD, connect your external drive and start installation. Your usb drive will be the only possible storage media for installation so you cannot do mistake. All the files and also the Grub bootloader will be installed on this usb drive. If you do not want to disconnect anything then you have to pay attention and install also the Bootloader to your portable drive.

And about the partitioning - you simply choose something like "use this whole drive for installation" and you do not have to care about partitioning - I think the mainstream distributions do this automatically. At least *buntu (tested Kubuntu and Lubuntu) does it.

Unlike Windows this Linux installation will still be portable and will boot on other PCs. Did exactly the same with my SDHC card and 32bit Lubuntu 13.10 and it kept all my changes, data and also updates worked without problems.

PS: used an laptop with Intel graphics so I do not know if there were problems in case of using nVidia chipset PC instead...
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4 August 2014 20:28:36

Installed it from a flash drive, from the first USB port to the another technically... :D 
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21 August 2014 22:56:11

I just installed Xubuntu 14.04 on a 500GB Toshiba USB external HDD, works fine for me. Except for this really annoying issue: after I log in the screen goes all weird for quite a few seconds (the colors scramble, pixels show up randomly, I get horizontal and vertical lines and whatnot), does anybody have a clue why is this happening? Im running it on a Macbook Pro, but I did the installation on a Windows computer and the same thing happened there.
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