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Thread: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

  1. #1
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    Question Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    Hello. This is an inquiry following a little research in google that gave contrasting results.
    I would like to realize the following installation and would like to ask if somebody has successfully done this since:
    OS: 11.4 install from live-CD KDE
    Target: external usb HDD (not a flash or ssd)
    Scope: create a portable usb-HDD drive installed 11.4 that will not alter the disks of attached host machines while being able to boot from any modern usb-bootable PC, regardless of OS installed (by using boot-drive selection menu).
    There was a script doing this but the author does not develop it any more since 11.0.
    • Is this still viable (through the version distributed i.e. by pendrive linux?)
    • Did anybody perform this in 11.4 or did anybody succeed without the script to do this?
    • Any wiki (I did not find one).
    • Known issues?


    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    So I load openSUSE to and boot from an External Hard Drive all of the time, but I do not move the copy around from PC to PC. Obviously, the main problem is if you must do anything beyond the default to get your hardware to work. This includes Video, sound and Networking in aprticular. For instance, one user found that he needed to run the following to reset his networking setup between PC's.

    Code:
    sudo /sbin/netconfig update -f
    You are basically trying to create a liveCD type boot setup on an external hard drive, but somehow I doubt you would end up with anything better than a liveCD. You might be able to make a few adjustments so that it might be better than a LiveCD on a couple of three computers. You might even create more than one booting partition, setup for each individual PC. I can provide a lot more detail on how to install and boot openSUSE from an External hard drive for one PC if you are interested.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    You are basically trying to create a liveCD type boot setup on an external hard drive, but somehow I doubt you would end up with anything better than a liveCD.
    Thank You,
    Yes, kind of. Of course the problem is you want a life cd running on HDD but with persistence. I am interested as well in the "on one PC solution". This especially if this would allow me to test my notebookhardware in detail for a "one day" safe migraton.
    Thank you,

  4. #4
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    Smile Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    Here is a partitioning write up I made for someone else that includes info on the creation of an secondary or external booting hard drive. It is early morning here and so I just posted a pre-made blurb. Read through it and ask more questions with this info on mind.

    Each hard drive can have up to four PRIMARY partitions, any of which could be marked active and bootable. No matter what you might hear, only one of the first four primary partitions can be booted from. That means you can boot from Primary partitions 1, 2, 3 or 4 and that is all. In order to boot openSUSE, you must load openSUSE and the grub boot loader into one of the first four partitions. Or, your second choice is to load the grub boot loader into the MBR (Master Boot Record) at the start of the disk. The MBR can be blank, like a new disk, it can contain a Windows partition booting code or generic booting code to boot the active partition 1, 2, 3, or 4. Or, as stated before, it can contain the grub boot loader. Why load grub into the MBR then? You do this so that you can "boot" openSUSE from a logical partition, numbered 5 or higher, which is not normally possible. In order to have more than four partitions, one of them (and only one can be assigned as extended) must be a extended partition. It is called an Extended Primary Partition, a container partition, it can be any one of the first four and it can contain one or more logical partitions within. Anytime you see partition numbers 5, 6 or higher for instance, they can only occur inside of the one and only Extended Primary partition you could have.

    What does openSUSE want as far as partitions? It needs at minimum a SWAP partition and a "/" partition where all of your software is loaded. Further, it is recommended you create a separate /home partition, which makes it easier to upgrade or reload openSUSE without losing all of your settings. So, that is three more partitions you must add to what you have now. What must you do to load and boot openSUSE from an external hard drive? Number one, you must be able to select your external hard drive as the boot drive in your BIOS setup. Number two, you need to make sure that the external hard drive, perhaps /dev/sdb, is listed as the first hard drive in your grub device.map file and listed as drive hd0. I always suggest that you do not load grub into the MBR, but rather into the openSUSE "/" root primary partition which means a primary number of 1, 2, 3 or 4. If number one is used, then that will be out. You will mark the openSUSE partition as active for booting and finally you must load generic booting code into the MBR so that it will boot the openSUSE partition. I suggest a partition like this:

    0. /dev/sdb, Load MBR with generic booting code
    1. /dev/sdb1, Primary NTFS Partition for Windows
    2. /dev/sdb2, Primary SWAP (4 GB)
    3. /dev/sdb3, Primary EXT4 "/" openSUSE Partition Marked Active for booting (80-120 GB)
    4. /dev/sdb4, Primary EXT4 "/home" Your main home directory (Rest of the disk)

    OR, if no Windows:

    0. /dev/sdb, Load MBR with generic booting code
    2. /dev/sdb1, Primary SWAP (4 GB)
    3. /dev/sdb2, Primary EXT4 "/" openSUSE Partition Marked Active for booting (80-120 GB)
    4. /dev/sdb3, Primary EXT4 "/home" Your main home directory (Rest of the disk)

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    You don't really need any special script to do this now that udev has taken over for hal. Most hardware is auto configured at each boot now. I used the 11.4 DVD on my desktop, and installed it to my portable Seagate HDD like it was a regular hard drive. I prefer the DVD install. You can uncheck the auto configure box at the start, and manually configure almost every piece of hardware. The only thing special I had to do was to make sure and tell it to install grub to the Seagate's /dev/sdb instead of the desktop's /dev/sda. So far it has booted on 5 different PC's with 100% of the hardware configured correctly. This includes ATI/Nvidia graphics, AMD/Intel chipsets, laptops/desktops, etc. The only issue I've had so far is the default installed kernel is the "desktop" kernel. It refused to boot on a thin client at work because the CPU didn't support pae. I installed the "default" kernel along side the "desktop" kernel, (both in grub) and was successful at booting the "default" kernel on the thin client. The "default" kernel would not boot on any of my PC's at home, but the "desktop" kernel would. The "default" kernel would not boot at home, as it would always hang at "waiting for /dev/sdb". I'm not sure what is causing this just yet. I would stay away from ATI/Nvidia drivers. Before 11.4, I used Ubuntu for portable repair. Since openSUSE 11.4 has switched completely to udev, it has worked fine for me so far. I just have to find out what the difference is between the two openSUSE kernel versions.
    Klaatu Barada Nikto

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    You don't really need any special script to do this now that udev has taken over for hal. Most hardware is auto configured at each boot now. I used the 11.4 DVD on my desktop, and installed it to my portable Seagate HDD like it was a regular hard drive. I prefer the DVD install. You can uncheck the auto configure box at the start, and manually configure almost every piece of hardware. The only thing special I had to do was to make sure and tell it to install grub to the Seagate's /dev/sdb instead of the desktop's /dev/sda. So far it has booted on 5 different PC's with 100% of the hardware configured correctly. This includes ATI/Nvidia graphics, AMD/Intel chipsets, laptops/desktops, etc. The only issue I've had so far is the default installed kernel is the "desktop" kernel. It refused to boot on a thin client at work because the CPU didn't support pae. I installed the "default" kernel along side the "desktop" kernel, (both in grub) and was successful at booting the "default" kernel on the thin client. The "default" kernel would not boot on any of my PC's at home, but the "desktop" kernel would. The "default" kernel would not boot at home, as it would always hang at "waiting for /dev/sdb". I'm not sure what is causing this just yet. I would stay away from ATI/Nvidia drivers. Before 11.4, I used Ubuntu for portable repair. Since openSUSE 11.4 has switched completely to udev, it has worked fine for me so far. I just have to find out what the difference is between the two openSUSE kernel versions.
    That is very interesting 67GTA and in general very good news. In particular it was interesting to install both the desktop and default kernels as selections in your grub boot loader. I just had the one user that needed to use the "sudo /sbin/netconfig update -f" command on his home PC to get the network going again. Any time you install openSUSE to an external hard drive, you need to check where are you placing the grub boot loader. making sure not to mess up your internal installation or to not end up with grub installed at all on that external hard drive. Make sure your device.map file lists the external hard drive as hd0. Finally, if you do not install grub into the external drive MBR, make sure to install generic booting code there instead. New external hard drives don't have anything there (in the MBR) if you don't put something there.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    I was the one you helped with the netconfig command. That isn't normally required, but since the very first connection the external drive saw was setup with a static IP and DNS servers at work. I'm guessing this is very few and far between. Later that day, my wireless wouldn't connect at home because the networkmanager wasn't updating /etc/resolv.conf due to a conflict between netconfig and networkmanager that I still don't truly understand. I'm guessing if the first connection had been a normal DHCP connection, it would have been fine afterwards.
    Klaatu Barada Nikto

  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Portable 11.4 external usb HDD?

    I was the one you helped with the netconfig command. That isn't normally required, but since the very first connection the external drive saw was setup with a static IP and DNS servers at work. I'm guessing this is very few and far between. Later that day, my wireless wouldn't connect at home because the networkmanager wasn't updating /etc/resolv.conf due to a conflict between netconfig and networkmanager that I still don't truly understand. I'm guessing if the first connection had been a normal DHCP connection, it would have been fine afterwards.
    You know 67GTA, memory is the second thing to go when you get old (i.e. as in I forgot that you were the one with the network issue). You just can't remember what the first thing was.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

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