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Thread: Ubuntu 12.04 install onto external USB drive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    4

    Ubuntu 12.04 install onto external USB drive

    I have a new Samsung external USB disk on which I wish to install 3 Linux distros; Ubuntu 12.04, Lubuntu 13.04 and Mint. I have partitioned the Samsung USB drive using Gparted, creating 2 primary and 1 extended partition with the extended partition containing several logical partitions.

    So I have

    /dev/sdc Samsung 1TB drive
    /dev/sdc1 ntfs partitioned
    /dev/sdc5 ext2 partition for Ubuntu 12.04
    /dev/sdc6 ext2 Partition for Lubuntu 13.04
    /dev/sdc7 ext2 Partition for Linux Mint
    /dev/sdc8 ext2 Data partition
    /dev/sdc2 Linux Swap

    I want to allocated to swap space partition to be used by each of the Linux o/s.

    The Ubuntu 12.04 Installation failed at the end with error message “Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sdc5”

    I tried setting the partition to choose /dev/sdc as the partition to install the bootloader into, but the same error message was again the result.

    What do I do to get the bootloader to install on this disk ( an external USB drive ) ?

    Thanks
    Ray
    NB the os on the internal drive is Windows Vista.
    Last edited by ray5; September 25th, 2013 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Beans
    4

    Re: Ubuntu 12.04 intall onto external USB drive

    I have tried re-formatting the post but it just don't re-format!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Beans
    4

    Re: Ubuntu 12.04 intall onto external USB drive

    original forum post now reformatted ( from a different PC )

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Beans
    618

    Re: Ubuntu 12.04 install onto external USB drive

    For non-UEFI machines, selecting /dev/sdc should install the bootloader to your USB disk. Other complications arise with gpt partitioning, but you don't use that. For UEFI machines, sometimes selecting the actual partition for the EFI bootloader installation works, sometimes it doesn't, but again, that is probably not your case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    /dev/root
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    Hidden!

    Re: Ubuntu 12.04 install onto external USB drive

    Quote Originally Posted by ray5 View Post
    I have a new Samsung external USB disk on which I wish to install 3 Linux distros; Ubuntu 12.04, Lubuntu 13.04 and Mint. I have partitioned the Samsung USB drive using Gparted, creating 2 primary and 1 extended partition with the extended partition containing several logical partitions.

    So I have

    /dev/sdc Samsung 1TB drive
    /dev/sdc1 ntfs partitioned
    /dev/sdc5 ext2 partition for Ubuntu 12.04
    /dev/sdc6 ext2 Partition for Lubuntu 13.04
    /dev/sdc7 ext2 Partition for Linux Mint
    /dev/sdc8 ext2 Data partition
    /dev/sdc2 Linux Swap

    I want to allocated to swap space partition to be used by each of the Linux o/s.

    The Ubuntu 12.04 Installation failed at the end with error message “Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sdc5”

    I tried setting the partition to choose /dev/sdc as the partition to install the bootloader into, but the same error message was again the result.

    What do I do to get the bootloader to install on this disk ( an external USB drive ) ?

    Thanks
    Ray
    NB the os on the internal drive is Windows Vista.
    Assuming BIOS not UEFI: You should select to install the bootloader into the head end of the device, in your case /dev/sdc (not into the partition /dev/sdc5). Maybe that partition was mounted when you tried, but it would have been wrong anyway.

    Afterwards you can fix the bootloader and grub according to these links.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Gr..._Broken_System

    Good luck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Chicago Suburbs
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Ubuntu 12.04 install onto external USB drive

    I think someone else that used ext2 had issues.

    I might also use ext4 as it includes a journal and would be more reliable and can run fsck much quicker.
    If sharing swap, you cannot hibernate as that would use swap for that system, but other system would overwrite it.

    Whichever system you install last will be the one who has its boot loader in the MBR. Then you can choose which is your prime system and install its boot loader to the MBR, by booting into it and just install grub to MBR.

    If still sdc:
    sudo grub-install /dev/sdc

    sudo update-grub

    You do know Windows does not run from external drives?
    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.







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