Need help installing 64Studio on an external drive

  • seedpress
Posted: Tue, 07/15/2008 - 03:27
I'm looking for guidance on installing 64Studio on an external drive. I don't want to modify my internal drive at all. In other words, I don't want to mess with the MBR on my internal drive, which has Vista installed. I've read various threads on installing grub on an external, but it seems that there is a lot of conflicting info and a variety of user experiences. My head is swimming from reading it all, and a clear path is not extant. I'd like to do a clean install of 64Studio to a wiped external. The installation could be set up for use on just one computer, if necessary; however, it would also be neat if the 64Studio bootup could reconfigure itself properly if it detected a different, compatible hardware configuration. So, my minimal goal would be: if I turn the computer on with the external plugged in, then I'll get 64Studio; if the external drive is disconnected in at boot up, then I'll get Windoze. It would seem that many potential users, who aren't ready or willing to dedicate a computer to a particular Linux distro would be interested in doing this. A simple step-by-step how-to might help boost use of this distro, especially considering the fact that 64studio is aimed more at music/media creators than Linux geeks.

use the windows bootloader

  • Havoc
  • 06/07/08
  • Wed, 07/16/2008 - 20:21
If you don't want to put Grub on your MBR then you can use the windows bootloader to start grub on the external drive. Only problem is that you will need to make sure that your external drive is always enumerated at the same position. First you install your linux on the external drive but you don't put grub on the MBR but in a partition you have created for that. Call that partition /boot and put grub there. (most distros I have installed give you that possibility, didn't notice if 64Studio does) Then you have to copy the first 512 bytes of that partition to a file with dd. Then copy that file to the drive windows uses to boot (probably c:) and add it to the bootloader menu of windows. Look here for more details: This even works with the Vista bootloader! I have done this but it is a pain to use BCD (think about using edlin). The procedure is the same, but you need to use bcd to add the file in question to the boot menu.

I've not yet made the move

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:53
I've not yet made the move to Vista but I'm very dubious about running grub from an external drive because by its very nature, grub (at least its first stage) needs to be in your MBR. You could maybe install the 2nd stage on an external drive but you'd have a major disadvantage because your system would no longer boot if the external drive wasn't present. In theory, you could create a very small Linux partition on the main drive (just to hold grub and menu.lst etc) but there's no way to be certain it'll work without backing up your Vista partition and just trying it. If you don't want to lose Vista, the key is to back it up first (preferably, copy the whole partition to a spare boot drive).

Like to try it...

  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Tue, 07/15/2008 - 21:45
but I am not willing to dedicate a computer to a particular windows version to be able to test this conclusively :-) (real reason is that I do not have a unused external drive laying about...)