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Thread: Linux Booting

  1. #1

    Default Linux Booting

    Okay, I need a bit of help. I want to install Ubunu to my brand new 500 GB external hard drive. However, some things are getting in the way:

    -My parents CANNOT find out about this.
    -The only CD's available to me aren't big enough to install ubuntu off of.
    -If I've heard correctly, the master boot record will ask to pick between Ubuntu and Vista at every startup. Is there any way I can avoid this?

    Any help I can get would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default

    Is the external a USB drive? Basically if you install it on an external hard drive and write the MBR of that disk for grub, it won't display the grub menu unless you are booting from that disk. You can change this by setting your boot order in your BIOS menu. If you've got USB selected to boot before internal hdd, then if a bootable USB device is connected (e.g. your linux external hdd) then it will try booting from that. You can either leave it that way and make sure you don't leave it plugged in when your parents are booting the machine, or be extra sneaky and only change the config each time you want to boot linux.

    Also, people used to have setups where linux was installed, but would only boot when a boot floppy was inserted. I'm guessing you don't have a floppy drive, but you could probably rig something up similar with a USB flash drive or CD.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the help.

    Yes, it's a USB drive. I could keep it unplugged when I'm not going to boot from it.

    However, I still need to know how to install it without any disk, and now I need to know how to write the MBR for grub. I have no prior experience with Linux whatsoever, so I'm a bit lost with things like that.

  4. #4

    Default

    Do you have a USB flash drive lying around somewhere? https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...n/FromUSBStick might help if you do.

    As far as writing to the right MBR goes, you should be able to choose which disk you write grub to. Your drives will likely be named /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, etc. (it's possible it could be /dev/hda, /dev/hdb too, but less likely now). Unless the other disk in your machine is the same size, it should probably be easy to guess which is which based on that. IIRC it will give you several options on how to install grub. If you choose the MBR of the external drive you should be good.

    One other option you could consider, is to install grub on the main hdd but with .1s timeout (or other very short timeout) that defaults to windows. Then you could just hold down a cursor key while booting to catch it (timeout is stopped if you are pressing keys).

  5. #5

    Default

    Okay, thanks for all the help! As soon as I get the chance I'll install.

  6. #6

    Default

    Cool! Let us know how it goes or if you run into problems. I (and I know some others here) are always up for helping people get into the linux world .

  7. #7

    Default

    Maybe your mainboard offers a boot menu pressing F12. Would be quite easy to choose your usb disk if you want to use it then. (once you completely installed the system on it)
    Also reduces the risk you screw something on the main sytem :P

    And why dont you have a CD which is big enough? If you have one available it will suffice. They're all about 700mb in size.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by walex View Post
    Maybe your mainboard offers a boot menu pressing F12. Would be quite easy to choose your usb disk if you want to use it then. (once you completely installed the system on it)
    Also reduces the risk you screw something on the main sytem :P

    And why dont you have a CD which is big enough? If you have one available it will suffice. They're all about 700mb in size.
    I know how to boot. I was told that if I boot from it, the MBR would always ask if I want to boot from my EHD from that point forward.

    Also, the CD's I have are 702 MB. I attempted putting it on the disk. Despite the download saying it was 698 MB, it said I didn't have enough room.

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Wegs View Post
    I know how to boot. I was told that if I boot from it, the MBR would always ask if I want to boot from my EHD from that point forward.
    Externally booting won't affect your MBR at all. Basically, using a linux system installed via unetbootin (which should be the software you use, much easier than any of the alternatives available), there will be a whole new MBR created on your USB drive. This then becomes like booting from a CD - no changes are made to your MBR, and your MBR will never EVER try to boot from USB. Your BIOS might try, but that problem goes away if the USB drive isn't plugged in.



    Quote Originally Posted by Wegs View Post
    Also, the CD's I have are 702 MB. I attempted putting it on the disk. Despite the download saying it was 698 MB, it said I didn't have enough room.
    Something doesn't seem right about that, but I just don't care enough right now

    Okay, now tell us - WHY can't your parents even know about it? I ask for a very good reason, I'm not just trying to snoop.

  10. #10

    Default

    You need to install the MBR to the external hard drive, not any drive that's internal. You can do this by specifying /boot as a partition on your USB hard drive itself. About 600MB is suffice. Then, make sure that your system is USB bootable. If in the likely case it is, just choose to boot from it from the one-time boot menu in your BIOS so that it'll load from the External before it does the Internal drives. The GRUB menu will load AFTER this point. When the USB drive is disconnected, GRUB will not appear as it is not present in the system anymore. It will continue to boot to the internal hard drive when the USB drive is not present, and boot Windows normally. Two separate drives, two separate MBRs.

    I do not recommend putting USB as a boot device in your load-up settings. If you accidentally leave it connected, and your parents boot it up, you're discovered. Instead, you can rest easy that it would have to be manually selected to boot from (usually F12 during start-up to choose the Boot Menu) to be booted into Ubuntu.

    About the CDs: Are you sure you're burning the ISO using an ISO recorder, and not trying to write the file to the CD itself? There's a difference -- one is writing the image as an image, and the other is writing the image as the files that are contained inside the image.

    And I'm also curious as to why your parents can't find out, although I've been in a position where I'm on a shared computer... and I installed Ubuntu back in the pre-6.06 days and the parents did backflips. (And tried to get rid of it through Add/Remove Programs). *sigh*.

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