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Hi All-- I've Googled this six ways from Sunday, with no luck. Can I access the hard drive on my laptop while booting from a USB stick with a live ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Can I access drive on host system while booting from usb stick?


    Hi All--
    I've Googled this six ways from Sunday, with no luck.

    Can I access the hard drive on my laptop while booting from a USB stick with a live Linux distro on it?

    It seems to me it might be possible: otherwise how could a bootable stick be used to repair a damaged host filesystem?

    My host system is OK; I don't need to repair anything. I just want to be able to read/write/edit files on the host HD while booting from USB...

    Some specifics:
    Host: a Dell Inspiron 64-bit dual-core laptop dual booting Fedora 17/Win 7.
    USB Linux distro: Any.

    TIA for any help.

  2. #2
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    Undoubtedly you can. It depends upon what file systems are on your local disk, and whether or not the Linux USB distro you are using has the proper kernel capability and userland tools. But most likely, both things are in place.

    Open a terminal and scan for hard disk partition tables. you can try this command:

    Code:
    fdisk -l
    that is a lower case "L", not a number one.

    if that doesn't work, try using sudo:
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    your internal drives would be listed first (like sda, sdb) and your external drives would be listed after (sdc, etc.).

    say you see something like:
    Code:
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *        2048     1026047      512000   83  FAT32
    you could then try to mount the FAT filesystem like:
    Code:
    mkdir /mnt/windows
    mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows
    again you might need to prepend the sudo command.

    instead of "vfat" you may need to use "ntfs-3g" or something else. it depends on the filesystem type.
    Miven likes this.

  3. #3
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    Thank you -- problem solved!

    Wow! I had no idea I'd get such a quick and helpful reply. I've been struggling with this on and off for a *long* time (months). Thank you very much.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazcap53 View Post
    Wow! I had no idea I'd get such a quick and helpful reply. I've been struggling with this on and off for a *long* time (months). Thank you very much.
    yw. glad you got it sorted. i'll mark this thread as Solved for you. You can mark your threads as solved at any time using the Thread Tools at the top of this page.

    and just so you know, i am sure that many distros come with the capability to mount drives on your local partitions via graphical explorer-like utilities (provided that the filesystems are supported). keep distro-hopping and keep trying other DMs (Desktop Managers) and you'll see what I mean.

    but it is always wise to know how to invoke the arcane terminal fu to do things, too.

    see you around.

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