Linux on an external harddrive?

By pk para ยท 4 replies
Apr 17, 2008
  1. Well, I'm kinda new to all of this, and I'd like some help or a link to some help, if possible :]

    two things:

    1. - Would it be possible to install Linux and run it off of an external harddrive that connects through usb without modifying any other parts of the computer?

    I ask because I want to experiment with Linux and I'm afraid to do so on this computer's harddrive (it's shared with other people...). I read about the distro cd's and wondered if I could do much the same with an external harddrive. (so I can go beyond just testing it)

    Also, there is a second computer that I can use (only in emergencies), but I can't modify it at all... so I was wondering if I could use that external harddrive without having to change anything on the emergency computer.

    2. - The second is what extra would I have to do outside of regular installation to make this work, if it's possible?
    (I would just ask what I have to do step by step, but I figure you get enough of that and there were plenty of places I found that can tell me that)

    The shared computer is Windows XP and the emergency one is Vista

    thanks to anyone who bothers to read this and can help :D
    and to everyone else, have a good day :p
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,126   +982

    get the Knoppix CD
    you can boot directly from it and run Linux w/o an install :)
    answer one :)
    your real issue is booting from USB; the bios must support that option or all is nor not.

    All you do is
    1. mount the ext-USB
    2. install the Linux on it
  3. pk para

    pk para TS Rookie Topic Starter

    first, id just like to say thanks for responding :]

    Yes, but don't the cd's that boot Lunix 'save' things to the ram? (which means saying goodbye to it as soon as I power down) A hdd would make it so that I could keep data between sessions as long as I had a system to run it off of, and on top of that I won't be risking other people's data.

    I recall reading that most recent motherboards (where the BIOS is located) support USB... And, as my line of thinking goes, the same way support was added for CDs after floppy disks in the BIOS because of popularity, why wouldn't USB? but yah, that would be one of the main issues. I was thinking I might even be able to run it through an Ipod ( ! ), but only if the ipod is recognizable by the BIOS as a drive from boot (once its turned into HDD mode or whatever... but I'll have to check that out with the apple community later).

    I just want to add one last thing.... I hope nothing above is just blatantly wrong, and if it is I'm sorry. All of this is coming from something I just read up on recently because I got interested. :/
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,126   +982

    that's right
    sure, but the original question was booting Linux w/o modifying your windows hd -- can't have both A+B)
    True, but from here, I can't read your purchase receipt from yesterday :)
  5. pk para

    pk para TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thats reason for getting an external hdd, unless I'm missing something :]
    i guess i could just buy another internal hdd, but i like the portability

    sorry for being misleading, I meant that i didnt want to jeapordize their data (the windows hdd), which i thought that by getting another hard drive to run things off of would solve... but then I wanted portability so i could do so on more than one computer and so the usb part of it also became a factor ....and then I got creative so the ipod thing came up.

    heh, true :]
    i think all of the computers ill be using are recent enough... but either way it'll be a hit or miss thing that ill deal with when i get to it (as long as it works on the main computer, that is)

    edit: the bios recognizes the ipod at startup!!! :D
    anyone know how to install and utilize lunix off of and ipod without destroying it as an mp3 player?
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