Booting distros from an external hard disk - a trial - Page 2


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Thread: Booting distros from an external hard disk - a trial

  1. #16
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    Answer to first question is "No". The files expanded from a Live CD iso are mostly compressed inside one large file and therefore not bootable. The menu.lst I wrote for booting several iso from one DVD shows that booting has to be directly because the Linux are not installed but run as Live CD.

    Regarding the space needed that is easy. If a distro is intalled as a Live CD, by copying the expanded iso into a partition, it will be the same size as the CD or DVD it came from originally. If the distro is installed properly as a permanent system I find 10Gb is enough for all of them except the big system like Solaris but that will refuse to boot from a USB device. I think most distros have an installed footprint between 2.5 to 3.5Gb. 5Gb per partition worked for me when I installed the 145 systems but Linux have put on weight since.

    Which systems will run on a USB hdd? That I couldn't tell untill I try all of them. I thought my previous link has showed some of the systems successfully installed.

    Formatting Linux partitions. MS systems do not support Linux so you can't ask any of them to create and format partition for Linux. Use a Linux Live CD instead. The strength of Linux is it has a rich command set. You have to learn it especially in multi-boot. You can get by using/learning only the commands you need at a time.

    You don't need stage1.5 off Grub. Stage1 and stage2 are all I use.

    You will find most if not all the essential commands needed are given in my threads. If you get stuck then ask questions.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
    Using a Linux live CD to clone XP
    To install Linux and keep Windows MBR untouched
    Adding extra Linux & Doing it in a lazy way
    A Grub menu booting 100+ systems & A "Howto" to install and boot 145 systems
    Just cloning tips Just booting tips A collection of booting tips

    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

  2. #17
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    Thanks for the advice cybertron. I'm already testing the vmware images that I've downloaded for some times but no favorite distro yet because my knowledge in Linux as of now is still limited and I don't know yet what each distro has to offer.

    I plan to focus my career in IT, network support and security in particular, so I think I can use most of the distros mentioned before because most of those are for troubleshooting and security. I can't say what distro I might encounter in my future job so a working knowledge on different distros is I think essential.

    Thank you again for your usual help saikee. So it means I should use direct booting for extracted iso files, right? If that's so, can you give me an example of kernel and initrd parameter to point grub to each partition and boot that distro?

  3. #18
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    This thread, which I have quoted before, is most relevant to what you want.

    It has the steps to show you how to expand an iso, to setup Grub, to convert isolinux booting instructions to Grub booting instructions, to do it with a DVD or later with a jump drive.

    All the instructions for working with a jump drive are applicable for an external hard disk.

    I have showed the Live CD Linux by examples which have been proven to work!
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
    Using a Linux live CD to clone XP
    To install Linux and keep Windows MBR untouched
    Adding extra Linux & Doing it in a lazy way
    A Grub menu booting 100+ systems & A "Howto" to install and boot 145 systems
    Just cloning tips Just booting tips A collection of booting tips

    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

  4. #19
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    I will try to install and run different distros from my usb hdd next week. Thanks for the help.

  5. #20
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    Aug 2008
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    Is it better to have each distro its own partition or a large partition with different folders for each distro is sufficient as like on this thread http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=150078. I now have Parted Magic and DSL working using 1 partition on diff folders.

  6. #21
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    Xthink,

    There two types of putting a Linux into a hard drive.

    Type 1 - Normal installation in which you "must" have a partition to install the system as a stand alone system. The footprint is between 3 to 5 times the size of the iso file.

    Type 2 - Not installing the Linux but just get it booted from a hard disk after copying the iso file across and changing its boot loader. The Linux in such a case works like a Live CD and get the files from directory fixed during the Linux was assembled. Therefore you "cannot" put different Linux in different partitions but in the folder "identical" to those in the iso file. The installed footprint is nearly the same size as the iso image.

    Hope the above is clear.

    There are further complications like

    (i) You can put Linux as guest systems inside a host by virtual software. In such a case several Linux are each just a file inside the host operating system which can be a MS Windows. The files can be in any other drive or partition or inside the "C" drive. The default file size for each system can be as big as 8Gb.

    (ii) You can use a LVM to host different Linux each in its own logical volume. LVM is a disk management layer software and itself is just a partition. Not all Linux installers support LVM and if they do they may have a different idea how to use the LVM, hence this method is not popular. The logical volume needs to be 3 to 5 times larger than the iso size.

    (iii) There is an installation option called Frugal install whereby the Linux is installed to run as a Live CD. Small Linux like Slax, Puppy and DSL provide such form of installation in addition to the normal full installation. It is same as Type 2 above except only one distro is installed at a time. The Type 2 is my own way of putting several Linux iso together in a DVD or a USB device.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
    Using a Linux live CD to clone XP
    To install Linux and keep Windows MBR untouched
    Adding extra Linux & Doing it in a lazy way
    A Grub menu booting 100+ systems & A "Howto" to install and boot 145 systems
    Just cloning tips Just booting tips A collection of booting tips

    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

  7. #22
    Join Date
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    Belgium
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    Just adding my little experience to this old thread.

    Iomega 320GB external disk with
    sdg1 Mepis
    sdg2 PCLinux
    sdg3 Free
    sdg4 extended with a big FAT32 partition.

    I tried FreeBSD 7.1,Opensolaris and PC-BSD 7.1

    OpenSolaris flatly refused, FreeBSD stalled midway after multiple trials
    PC-BSD installed after disconnecting everything but monitor, keyboard and mouse. It installed in partition 3 but decided his partition was partition 1, Mepis was 2 and PCLinux was in partition 3.
    So when I booted partition 3 I got PCLinux.
    I booted PCBSD by editing my Ubuntu Grub menu.lst (booting winXP and 13 linux) with:

    Title PCBSD
    rootnoverify (hd2,0)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    It booted perfectly and works without any problems with all my stuff reconnected.
    Why it switched the partition numbering is a mystery to me. It is almost like Windows wanting to be on partition one!

    Opensolaris is another problem. Maybe I will free a primary partition on my internal(SATA) disk and try there.

  8. #23
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    Been months since I installed a PC-BSD. AFAIK all BSD have its own device names incompatible with Linux so it doesn't matter much. May be things have changed since.

    Solaris and some BSD systems do booting directly with the Bios and do not entertain the OS being put into a USB device, pretty much like the MS systems.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
    Using a Linux live CD to clone XP
    To install Linux and keep Windows MBR untouched
    Adding extra Linux & Doing it in a lazy way
    A Grub menu booting 100+ systems & A "Howto" to install and boot 145 systems
    Just cloning tips Just booting tips A collection of booting tips

    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

  9. #24
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Belgium
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    Quote Originally Posted by saikee View Post
    Been months since I installed a PC-BSD. AFAIK all BSD have its own device names incompatible with Linux so it doesn't matter much. May be things have changed since.

    Solaris and some BSD systems do booting directly with the Bios and do not entertain the OS being put into a USB device, pretty much like the MS systems.
    True Saikee, BSD does have it's own device names and Linux does not recognize them.
    For instance my PC-BSD is da4s1a in BSD terminology and simply sdg3 in linux.Also ufs filesystem remains a big issue especially the write part. Being both unix systems,they should do something about that I feel. They both read ntfs files and cannot read each other. It's a shame!
    Still thinking about Opensolaris, but on a internal disk...

  10. #25
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Belgium
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    Well,succeeded in installing Opensolaris 2009 in my second HD. I had to go in the BIOS to switch Raid Sata off because solaris doesn't have a SATA Raid driver (that's a shame,every linux I installed(10) has one) It boots without any problems.
    Now every linux I have is happy with the Sata raid off but not WinXP (of course) so in order to boot WinXP I have to switch the Sata Raid back on in the bios. Kind of cumbersome but windows is windows and my Dell machine is a Dell machine.
    Besides that everything is booting and working.

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