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Thread: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

  1. #1
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    Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    Hello!
    Recently bougth new USB 3.0 HDD, and want to install Ubuntu on it. Already have experience with installation on "normal" HDD, and some months before installed on USB drive Mint 14, so I expected to be the same procedure with the portable HDD. As far as I read this thread
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1650699
    I saw that the procedure is the same, I used to install Mint on USB flash.
    The only difference is that on flash installation I formated the whole drive and did "clear" install, and now I just shrinked the only partition on the drive, and created ext4 partitions for / and /home, so as swap partition. For installation I used LiveUSB
    On installation the disk had following partitons:
    sdc1 - ntfs - 690 MB
    sdc2 - ext4 - 8 GB - /
    sdc3 - swap - 1GB
    sdc4 - ext4 - 8 GB - /home
    Chose to create boot on sdc - Toshiba USB3.0 750 GB ( the new drive)
    Installation was uneventfull, but when I tried to reboot, black screen with message:
    grub-rescue > No file found
    grub-rescue> _
    Tried again instalation, with location for bootloader: dev/sdc2 with the same result
    I noticed tha in GParted NTFS partition beared the flag "boot" so removed it. On new installation already boot flag was on sdc2 (dont't remember the result), then tried to move the partitions and placed ext4 partitions in the beginning of the disk.
    Finally got working and booting system, but now NTFS partition is not visible in Windows 7. Strange, that the drive is visible in Device manager, but not usable by windows explorer. It is also visible and usable in Windows XP, but not on Win 7
    Finally Formatted the drive and started again. Same result with installing Mint 14
    Could you advise me, what I'm doing in the wrong way? Is there a way to get booting external HDD with accessible under Windows NTFS partition on it?
    I had the same problem with USB flash drive - After Mint installation, the rest of the disk - FAT system was not visible by Win7, but for the small drive it was not a problem just dedicated this partition for Linux
    Last edited by ymilev; April 5th, 2013 at 10:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    Grub does not use boot flag, but a few systems have BIOS that only let you boot if you have a boot flag on a primary partition. So make sure you have a boot flag on sdc1 thru sdc4 any one of your partitions, and only one.

    To boot from sdc directly, you have to install grub to sdc not any partitions like sdc2.

    Do you have grub in sda or sdb? Then you may be able to boot from there?

    Some BIOS just do not boot USB3 ports. Is your BIOS up to date?
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  3. #3
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    The problem might be that the boot files are far from the beginning of the disk. You first have a 690GB ntfs partition.

    Try making / to be first partition.

    Also what can happen is that grub2 didn't install correctly on /dev/sdc. You can try adding only grub2 later, no need to reinstall the whole ubuntu. And grub2 needs to be on the MBR, /dev/sdc, like you tried the first time, not on sdc2.
    Darko.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64bit & Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

  4. #4
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    First I install grub on sdc, but it didn't worked
    It is not a BIOS problem becouse finally I succeeded to get a booting external HDD, but then NTFS partition was not visible by Windows 7
    Actually the computer has only USB 2 ports, so the device is working as USB2
    sda is the internal HDD, on which I run triple boot system with Ubuntu 12.10, Win 7 and Win XP, so yes, it have grub on its MBR. I install first XP, 6 months later Win 7, and an year later Ubuntu 9.04, consequently regularly upgraded to 12.04, than reformatted ext3 partition with fresh 12.10 install. During this usage I have never had problems with accessibility of windows partitions.
    sdb is the LiveUSB used for installation
    Which ot the linux partitions have to be primary? Till now I used primary for root and swap, and logical for /home. Can / or swap be on logical partition?

  5. #5
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    You did manage to make Ubuntu boot from the USB 3 drive. Try to recall what you did, and repeat it

    I know that Windows XP used to have problems to see more than the first partition on USB drives. But XP sees it and Windows 7 doesn't, although it is the first one (and a primary partition, I guess). Will it behave in a different way in another USB port (probably USB 2)? Or in another computer?

  6. #6
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    None of the linux partitions need to be primary. But for bootability in some computers you need one primary partition with the boot flag, and it might as well be a FAT32 or NTFS partition. I have several computers, and I think only one of them needs this boot flag.

  7. #7
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    As I said all the usb ports on my mainboard are USB 2.0. It doesn't support USB 3.0, although the drive is USB 3.0 - it is working in USB 2 mode
    Last attempt was with all linux partitions on logical drives, located after the primary NTFS, that carried the boot flag. With this configuration Win (All versions) see the drive, but linux didn't boot
    With confidence configuration with All primary partitions , situated in a row sdc2(/)-sdc3(swap)-sdc4(/home)-sdc1(ntfs) booted, but Windows 7 doesn't see any disk drive in My computer (although it appears in Device manager). When using ext2read.exe ext4 partitions are accesible.
    Win XP sees only ntfs partition which is normal.

  8. #8
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    I think only grub2 didn't install correctly on the MBR of /dev/sdc. Did you check that possibility? Did you run the boot info to check there is grub2 on sdc for example?

    I have seen few threads here where 12.10 didn't install grub2 for unknown reasons.
    Darko.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64bit & Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

  9. #9
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    Back to Darko's comment on / (root) far into drive. I believe it has been only certain BIOS, but more often with USB drives. I might just create a small /boot partition at the beginning of sdc in sdc1. That may just be the entire issue.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  10. #10
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    Re: Problem with installation on USB-HDD

    ymilev; Hi !

    In addition to the excellent advise thus far, may I add to look and see where grub is installed: -> Be aware that if you can not boot into the present install, a change root procedure will have to be employed. These commands are only effective from the installed environment.

    Code:
    sudo grub-probe -t device /boot/grub
    and confirmation in respect to "blkid":
    Code:
    sudo grub-probe -t fs_uuid /boot/grub
    and to see what grub has done as far as installation configs:
    Code:
    sudo debconf-show grub-pc
    And finally To find out the names of the menu items:
    Code:
    sudo grep menuentry /boot/grub/grub.cfg
    These commands will tell a bunch about what is going on and what needs to be re-done. But maybe a bit extreme ??

    just try'n to help
    THE current(cy) in Documentation:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PopularPages

    Happy ubutu'n !

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