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Hello everyone, I am new to this forum and any forum in general. I am also a super noob at Linux. So thats why I came here. Alright, so I ...
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  1. #1
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    How do I run openSUSE 12.1 KDE Live on an external hard drive?


    Hello everyone, I am new to this forum and any forum in general. I am also a super noob at Linux. So thats why I came here.

    Alright, so I know theres a lot of forums already on this topic, but this is a more detailed question.

    I recently bought an external hard drive (Western Digital, My Passport, 300GB) and I want to put openSUSE LIVE on it. The reason is because DVDs and USBs have not enough space for my taste. I heard external HDD's act like USB's, so I tried the USB installer. I was still nervous to do it, so I tried to research it some more. I figured out that you can screw up the boot loader if you do it that way. What I'm trying to achieve is to make my external like a live USB or DVD. When you put in insert your USB or DVD, you have to go to the boot menu to select the device to boot to. You can run live USB's and DVD's on just about any computer without the hassle of the boot loader. I also figured out you have to disable your C:\ drive in order to do a full install of any Linux distro to external HDD. Let me make this clear before anybody gets ahead of me: I do not want to install the full thing, I just want to run it live.

    So is there any way possible I can run openSUSE live from my external HDD without messing with the boot loader?

    Thanks in advance;

    Zyan~

  2. #2
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    hello & welcome!

    you can create an OpenSUSE Live USB "stick", which in reality is your USB-connected external hard drive. Here is the openSUSE documentation on how to do that.

    The other thing to do is modify your computer's boot order to make sure that it attempts to boot off of USB storage devices, if detected. if you have problems with that, you may have to roll back to inserting a grub entry to boot from your USB-connected disk, but that is no big deal, really.

  3. #3
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    I also figured out you have to disable your C:\ drive in order to do a full install of any Linux distro to external HDD.
    That is definitely not true! The problem most people have is not knowing which drive/partition they are selecting and installing to the wrong one and also installing the bootloader to the wrong drive. Have you tried unetbootin, pendrivelinux or other software to install Opensuse as a Live CD to your hard drive? I've only done it with flash drives so...?
    You could easily create a partition on your external drive and put the Opensuse Live CD files there. The simplest way to boot it would be to create a separate boot partition and install it's bootloader files there and to the mbr of that drive to boot the partition with the Opensuse files.

    I'm not sure what your understanding of bootloaders is, but all systems use a bootloader whether it is installed to a hard drive, on a CD/DVD or flash drive.
    I've installed systems on my hard drive as a Live CD booting with Grub Legacy and also just put the iso file of an Ubuntu derivative in the root of a Linux filesystem with the Grub2 bootloader and booted it.

    How were you planning to boot the Opensuse install? Do you have windows installed? Windows doesn't even recognize Linux filesystem and it is difficult to use a windows bootloader to boot any Linux unless you get some third party software.

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    "Have you tried unetbootin, pendrivelinux or other software to install Opensuse as a Live CD to your hard drive? I've only done it with flash drives so...?"
    I tried pendrivelinux, and it gave me this message;

    1.) Create Syslinux MBR on (E:) - Existing MBR will be overwritten!
    2.)Create Pendrive label on (E:) - Existing Label will be overwritten!
    3.) Install OpenSUSE 12.1 KDE i686 on (E:)

    Are you positive Drive (E:) is your USB Device?
    Double Check with Windows (My Computer) to make sure!"

    that is why I am very hesitant to move on with this. If you could give me a summary of what it will do, I would greatly appreciate it.

    "I'm not sure what your understanding of bootloaders is, but all systems use a bootloader whether it is installed to a hard drive, on a CD/DVD or flash drive."
    My appologies. It has been a very long day. I meant to say Master Boot Record, but I got mixed up. Forgive me for my drowsiness.
    Last edited by atreyu; 05-11-2013 at 02:25 PM. Reason: disabled unintentional smilies in post

  5. #5
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    (UPDATE)

    Alright so I built up the courage to continue with the installation. I used the linux USB installer, and it installed fine. It did not edit my MBR. I rebooted into my external hard drive. It seemed to be loading like normal, then it said something along the lines of "openSUSE could not find specific files. rebooting in 120 seonds"
    I did not get to read the whole thing, but if you would like me to post the whole message, I will kindly reboot back into it and write the full message down.

    I tried to boot with a flash drive, and the flash drive went great. Nothing went wrong. So what gives on the external?

    //I will note that I did not see a "safely remove device" option. So the only option I had was to unplug it. I believe this may have been the reason why it could not boot or find those specific files. Should I shut off my computer before unplugging it?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zyan_Binx View Post
    Alright so I built up the courage to continue with the installation. I used the linux USB installer, and it installed fine.
    exactly which USB installer did you use, for our own edification?

    It seemed to be loading like normal, then it said something along the lines of "openSUSE could not find specific files. rebooting in 120 seonds"
    I did not get to read the whole thing, but if you would like me to post the whole message, I will kindly reboot back into it and write the full message down.
    yes, that would be very helpful to us.

    I tried to boot with a flash drive, and the flash drive went great.
    did you create this flash drive as a USB bootable device in the exact same manner as the external hard drive?

    //I will note that I did not see a "safely remove device" option. So the only option I had was to unplug it. I believe this may have been the reason why it could not boot or find those specific files. Should I shut off my computer before unplugging it?
    where do you see this message? Is it at the end of the USB installer? can you get to a virtual terminal in the installer? Try Ctrl+Alt+F2 (or F3, F4, etc.) and see if there is a shell prompt. if so, check the syslog for errors or information. try /var/log/messages or /var/log/syslog or something like that. you can also check the output of "dmesg".

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    My apologies for the very delayed reply. Everything is perfect at the moment. I formatted the drive, and reinstall it. It worked and I got it to run live. I am still anxious to fully install it considering the massive amounts of partitioning and adjusting you have to do in the installation.

    Also I was using universal USB installer by PendriveLinux

    This is working AMAZINGLY. Better than anything a VM could do.

    But what I want to accomplish now (and I'm not sure if I should make a seperate forum for this) is I want to load a live CD, boot it, plug in my external hard drive, and install it directly to there without partitioning if possible.


    Thank you all for the support, turns out I was just nervous and needed to go on with it.
    My apologies for the inconvenience with the wait and anxiousness.

    ~Zyan

  8. #8
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    Yes, I would suggest you start a new thread and the Opensuse installer should create any
    partitions for you without your having to take any action other than agreeing to their
    suggestions. When you begin the installer, it will a License Agreement page which you
    need to agree to in order to continue the install then a Time Zone selection page.
    After that, you will see a Suggested Partitioning page which tells you what will happen.
    Take a good look at it before clicking Next. Before this, you should check in a terminal
    as root the drive/partitioning information using the:
    fdisk -l command (Lower Case Letter L in the command). It will show drives/partitions
    as sda, sdb - sda1, sdb1, etc. Do this to make sure you get the correct drive.



    You will see "Create" and "Edit" partition setup and clicking on one of
    these buttons will allow you to make changes if you don't like their suggested partitioning.
    Whether you make changes here or not, you will come to a window 'Live Installation
    Settings' which once again will give you detailed information on what will be done.
    Review it before clicking Install. Be especially careful about Partitioning and Booting.
    If you click on Booting, it will take you to a new page with a number of different options
    for bootloader. Under Booting, given your situation you will probably want to install Grub
    to the mbr of sdb. You will need to ascertain before this with fdisk, what the external
    is seen as. It may not be sdb!! Given you have one internal (??) and the external, it
    probably will be.

    Since you apparently have no or limited experience with a Linux install, I would suggest
    you google 'Opensuse Installation Tutorials'. I've seen numerous tutorials so that should
    be no problem.

    As always, you should have a backup when installing a new OS or creating partitions. You should
    also have an installation CD/DVD of windows in case you need to repair the mbr. It may be
    possible to repair it with some other software, I don't know. EasyBCD would do it but AFAIK,
    it is no longer a free download and a Recovery Disk won't do it, it doesn't have the programs
    needed.

  9. #9
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    nice information thanks for the help

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