Ubuntu on an External Hard Drive

Installing Ubuntu on an external hard drive is not all that hard as some people believe it to be, at least with Gutsy Gibbons (7.10). Now you should put all the files that you have in the hard drive anywhere where they won’t be deleted if you want to keep them. Now what you need to do is put the livecd of Ubuntu into your cd drive and reboot. Once you are booted into the livecd, your are going to select the installer and start the install process.

When you are at the point of where you want to install Ubuntu, choose Manual and then the drive that comes up either /dev/sda1 or /dev/sdb1. As long as they do not appear /dev/hda1, you are fine because hda1 is the hard drive inside of your computer and sda1 or sdb1 is most likely your external hard drive. You are going to select the partition that you want and delete it by selecting the Delete button. Then it will appear as “unallocated space.” Select it and then choose “new partition.” Give it as much space as you would like. Now when doing this, you have to know that the installer shows the space in Megabytes and not Gigabytes.

So if you would like to divide your hard drive, you will need to give it a set amount of GBs. Each gigabyte is about 1024 MBs, so try and allocate it accordingly using that number. Once done, select it as an “ext3” filesystem and set “/” as the mount point (without the quotations). Apply it and you will now have a new /dev/sda1 or /dev/sdb1. If you do want to divide the hard drive into two partitions, you will now need to select the rest of the unallocated space, create a new partition, set it as “fat32” and the mount as /dev/disk.

Now click on the partition you made with the mount point “/” and hit next. Go through the rest of the partition and when you get to the last step, hit “Advanced” at the lower right hand corner. A screen will pop up asking you where you would like to install the bootloader. Change “(hd0)” for “(hd1)” (without quotations) and let it finish the installation.

Now reboot as the live cd asks, taking out the disk from the disc tray. When your BIOS screen appears, hit the key to go into it and see if you can boot from USB or change the hard drive priorities so that your USB hard drive is first or go into boot order and set your hard drive before the hard drive inside your computer. (I give you so many options because fo the many different BIOS interfaces that exist).

When your computer reboots after you have saved the changes in the BIOS, you will probably get the GRUB screen. Press “ESC” to select what Operating System you would like to boot into. With the first option highlighted, which will be something like Ubuntu kernel…., hit the e button to edit. This will take you to a different screen where the first choice will now be root (hd1,0) or something like that. You will need to change that (hd1,0) to (hd0,0).

When you have done this, hit enter and then B to boot. Most likely you will be able to boot into your newly installed Ubuntu. Now one last thing to do, is to open a Terminal and type “gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst”. This will open up the file that maintains the GRUB list. Scroll down to you get to this part:

## ## End Default Options ##

title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=f87bd32d-2a0a-476c-8157-4d9d3a66dc0d ro quiet splash vga=791
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic (recovery mode)
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=f87bd32d-2a0a-476c-8157-4d9d3a66dc0d ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

title Ubuntu 7.10, memtest86+
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin

As you should have noticed, it still contains “root (hd1,0)”. Change this to “root (hd0,0)” so that any time you try to boot into it you won’t have to change it in the GRUB menu like we did before. Now for those of you who do not wish to have fat32 as the filesystem on the other partition or of those that do not know about the 4 GB limit on files in that filesystem, you will need to go to a Windows machine or get GParted on your Ubuntu, and format that partition again into NTFS. After you have done this, your new Ubuntu external hard drive should be ready for full customization and to be used for all your intents and purposes.


~ by masterjs on January 22, 2008.

One Response to “Ubuntu on an External Hard Drive”

  1. […] Ubuntu on external hard drive […]

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