windows main dirve and opensuse on usb harddisk

I am a novice. Please do not be offended by my stupid question.

I have Vista installed on my laptop and then I installed opensuse on an external USB hard drive.

I think I kept the boot loader on the USB hard drive . As a result I can not run my laptop without that USb hard drive. It says error 21… something.

Can anyone please suggest me how to get rid of the USB drive when I do not want to run the opensuse.

Many thanks in advance.

Hi sumncc

Here’s what happened:
Grub bootloader code was written to the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the laptop hard drive. That points off to the Grub boot menu (a file called menu.lst) on the usb drive. But it’s not there so the process gives the error message 21.

Here are some solutions:

  • You can create a small boot partition on the laptop drive so that the boot files are always there regardless of whether the usb is connected.
  • You can put the boot files on a floppy disk (unaesthetic)
  • You can restore windows boot code to the MBR and dual boot from windows’ bootloader

Here’s how to dual boot using the windows bootloader:
Boot Multiboot openSUSE Windows (2000, XP, Vista - any mix) with Windows bootloader.

Hi swerdna ,
Thank you very much for your time and kind reply.

I would like to go for the first option, but as a novice , is there any chance you could give some hints how to create a boot partition on my laptop.

Many thanks again.

Better dont try it out currently.

If u mess things up, u may be in a position to recover or re-install.

First learn, then do it if required.

Could you describe the partitions (drives) on the laptop hard disk please, including if there is any free space on it?
And also, so we can see if it’s actually possible, please boot into openSUSE and open a console/terminal window and enter these commands and copy the session dialogue back here:

  • sudo /sbin/fdisk -l
  • df -Th

I have done as you suggested and the result is here:

raj@linux-10m2:~> sudo /sbin/fdisk -l

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

#1) Respect the privacy of others.
#2) Think before you type.        
#3) With great power comes great responsibility.

root’s password:

Disk /dev/sdb: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3648 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xae32ae32

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1         262     2104483+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb2             263        1649    11141077+  83  Linux
/dev/sdb3            1650        3648    16056967+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdc: 65 MB, 65536000 bytes
16 heads, 32 sectors/track, 250 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 512 * 512 = 262144 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x9c1352b0

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc1   *           1         249       63728    b  W95 FAT32

Disk /dev/sdd: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xcc50cc50

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdd1   *           1       29180   234383328+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdd2           29180       30401     9811968    7  HPFS/NTFS

raj@linux-10m2:~> df -Th

Filesystem    Type    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb2     ext3     11G  2.2G  7.9G  22% /
udev         tmpfs    1.5G  196K  1.5G   1% /dev
/dev/sdb3     ext3     16G  223M   15G   2% /home
/dev/sdd1  fuseblk    224G  105G  119G  47% /windows/C
/dev/sdd2  fuseblk    9.4G  7.7G  1.7G  82% /windows/D


I’ve edited your post to make it easier to read – hope u don’t mind.

It looks to me, in the light of your newness in Linux, that modifying the partitions on the hard drive is not the way to go – too easy to press the wrong key and make your notebook unbootable.

Instead, perhaps see whether you can use the boot-menu key on the laptop. I have a key on mine, F8, such that when I press it 1 second or so after power on at boot time, it shows a menu of which device to boot from, including my plugged-in USB drive. This approach likely would require re-installation or tweaking of the USB Linux installation. Do you have such a key to access a boot menu?