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  1. #1

    Ubuntu on an External Hard Drive

    Hey everybody. I was just wondering one thing and that is if I install Ubuntu on an external hard drive and partition the drive, can I still use the files on there? I mean, my hard drive is sorta like a back up of some files, and i also use it as a "portable flash drive" (it can fit in my back pocket) and I wanna put Ubuntu on it to show my friend. So, can I put Ubuntu on it, boot from the hard drive, then open up the hard drive in Nautilus or something and then open up those files and use them?

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    In short ... use a live CD to show Ubuntu on another machine ... its much easier.

    For the external hard drive ...
    The problem with doing this is that the hardware is likely to be quite different for each machine, so you are likely to have problems with an installation on one machine which you run on another machine. You will also need to remove from /etc/fstab entries which cause the system to mount partitions on the internal hard drive, otherwise you will get errors and probably will not be able to get Ubuntu to boot properly. Really the live CD is the best method to show someone Linux on another machine.

    You can install Ubuntu on an external drive and also use it for data storage - but you need sufficient space available on the disk to do this. The partition resize can be done using gparted which you will find on the ubuntu live CD and also on PartedMagic.

    Each machine you need to boot must be capable of being booted from an external drive (most machines can be booted from a CD but external drive booting is not necessarily available), you will need to select this in BIOS. You need to make sure when you install Ubuntu that you install Grub to the MBR of the external drive.

    You will be able to read & write data to fat32 partitions, but will need to install the ntfs-3g driver if you want to write to ntfs partitions. If you just want to be able to boot from the external drive and transfer files then you could use PartedMagic which will allow you to easily mount partitions as root.

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