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Installing Linux (any distro) on External HDD

Tags:
  • Distribution
  • Linux
  • Storage
  • External Hard Drive
Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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August 29, 2013 10:51:39 PM

I've got a 500GB external drive that I rarely use at the moment and I'm considering turning it into a linux drive. Is it going to work? Can I plug and play into other computers (assuming they have a CPU that will run the 64bit install)? What distro will work best for this (it has to be able to boot on a UEFI computer)?

Edit: I forgot my HDD specs. I've got an older WD MyPassport (5400rpm) 500GB, USB 2.0 drive.

My main system is in my signature. I've also go a MacBook that will likely be using the drive most often.

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August 29, 2013 11:13:44 PM

Eliposin said:
I've got a 500GB external drive that I rarely use at the moment and I'm considering turning it into a linux drive. Is it going to work? Can I plug and play into other computers (assuming they have a CPU that will run the 64bit install)? What distro will work best for this (it has to be able to boot on a UEFI computer)?

Edit: I forgot my HDD specs. I've got an older WD MyPassport (5400rpm) 500GB, USB 2.0 drive.

My main system is in my signature. I've also go a MacBook that will likely be using the drive most often.


As long as the computer has USB support in the firmware it will work just fine. USB has been supported by PC firmware for more then a decade, so no need to worry about that. Some older PCs lack firmware level support for USB, meaning that it all has to be done at the driver level after boot, which would make it impossible to boot from a USB mass storage device.

What you do need to worry about though is BIOS/UEFI compatibility. UEFI compatible firmware has support for both MBR and GPT partitioning schemes. BIOS compatible firmware has support for only the MBR partitioning scheme. If you attempt to boot from a GPT disk on a system that has BIOS compatible firmware, you'll be SOL. If the drive is more than a few years old, it almost certainly was initialized with the MBR scheme, so this is more than likely not an issue. You can check the partitioning scheme installed on the drive in the Windows Disk Manager though.

If those two conditions are met, just install whatever Linux flavor you prefer. Some are a bit more suited to portability than others though, so do some research.
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September 2, 2013 12:46:03 PM

Have you though about installing Vmware instead of tweaking. I think that would be a much better solution. Nowadays dual booting are out of date actually.
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September 2, 2013 5:36:35 PM

kamikaze1993 said:
Have you though about installing Vmware instead of tweaking. I think that would be a much better solution. Nowadays dual booting are out of date actually.


I considered it, however I do not have admin on all computers I'll be using, and don't know of a mobile VM
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