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Can I install Linux on an external drive?

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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November 6, 2008 3:59:21 PM

Hello everyone!

I finally built my own rig(see sig). And now I want to play with linux. I have Vista Home Premium 32 bit installed on my internal drive. I don't want to install linux on the same hard drive.

I was wondering if an external USB 2.0 Hard Drive would be fast enough? I plan on using the Beryl desktop as well.

I was going to run Ubuntu as a virtual machine but I couldn't get it going.

Thanks!
a b 5 Linux
November 6, 2008 5:56:14 PM

A second internal hard drive will work better, but an external USB drive should work.

Good luck :) 
November 6, 2008 10:02:31 PM

Thanks!

I enjoy working in Linux a lot better than working in Windoze.....
We use CentOS 5 at school.
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a b 5 Linux
November 8, 2008 1:40:28 AM

If you're already familiar with CentOS look into dual booting Fedora and Ubuntu.

Or triple booting Fedora, CentOS 5 and Ubuntu.

Good luck :) 
November 8, 2008 2:02:56 AM

Ok Thanks!
a b 5 Linux
November 8, 2008 9:20:21 AM

What VM software are you using? Virtual PC has issues with Linux but Virtual Box should work nicely for you.
November 8, 2008 3:17:42 PM

I was planning on using Vista Home Premium 32 bit as my host OS and running Ubuntu as the guest. I tried using VMware server 2.0 but I couldn't even get it to run(it kept asking me for some password) and the Ubuntu installation would hang up in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. I might try VMware player though.... I'll check out that virtual box..
a b 5 Linux
November 8, 2008 7:06:35 PM

Dual booting will run better/faster :) 

A little annoying having to reboot to switch operating systems but most of the time it's worth it :) 

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
November 8, 2008 10:25:58 PM

^ Vitual box can be a pain, but if you have patience, alot of RAM and Intel or AMD V. It will run as well as dual booting physx7
November 9, 2008 12:34:46 PM

Yeah, definitely dual-booting will be faster. Also if its an option for you and you really want the drive to be external, go eSATA. If you have a decent machine though, VMware works great I have it with virtual machines running Slackware, Solaris 10, and OS X(although I never actually use OS X). Especially with a multi core CPU, it can really run great. If I dedicate enough RAM to a virtual machine and run it full screen, you really can't tell the difference between that and a native boot.
a b 5 Linux
November 9, 2008 4:30:35 PM

I'd second that vote for VMWare (I use VMWare server 2). I've tried all the virtualization solutions and this is, for my purposes, the fastest, most reliable, and most versatile one.
November 9, 2008 7:51:26 PM

Thanks for all the replies! I'll see if I can't get a virtual machine going....
a b 5 Linux
November 11, 2008 12:58:11 AM

In my trials of a few different VM's, I found that KVM (not really an option for you) and Virtual Box were a little faster on my T7500-equipped laptop (VT-capable), while VMWare Server was almost as fast but had much, much more flexibility in terms of virtual networking setup (may not be important to you, but can really do some neat things like make your regular machine AND virtual machine both appear as two separate machines on a LAN, can make a completely VMWare-contained network topology, etc, etc.) QEMU w/ KQEMU (instead of KVM) is about as fast as VMWare Server last time I checked, but not as flexible. QEMU w/o KQEMU is pretty slow, and the Windows port seems to be stagnating somewhat. I must confess I have no experience with Virtual PC.

All that being said, since you already have experience using Linux (what many people use VM tech to do other than quick cross-platform verification is a "test drive"), my actual vote goes to installing on either a secondary internal harddrive or, if it's just too much hassle, a secondary external harddrive. Note that some motherboards can be finicky in terms of booting from USB; check the success/failure stories of others who have a similar system out there.
a b 5 Linux
November 12, 2008 8:39:29 AM

Virtual PC is exactly what you would expect, simple, easy and not very featured. A great way to run that old Windows OS on top of your old system. For free it's not a bad little tool and great if you want to play with the demo machines that MS now provide for their server products. I went that route as work dictated it, unemployment again is making me look back at open source.
Virtual Server is another matter...
a b 5 Linux
November 12, 2008 9:33:09 AM

Virtual PC doesn't emulate a 64-bit processor. Makes it pretty useless for my purposes.
a b 5 Linux
November 12, 2008 9:46:44 AM

hmm Vitual box runs fast enough with AMD-V for me... good enough for something free...
a b 5 Linux
November 17, 2008 2:20:11 PM

Lacks usable USB support though, esp on Vista64 as the host OS...
November 17, 2008 3:03:10 PM

Hi Everyone,

I personally would install LINUX UBUNTU as your main operating system, and install vmware server onto it.

I personally have been using Ubuntu for over 2 years now. I run a dual core, and installed ubuntu 64 bit and have 4 gigs of ram.

I run windows XP (32bit), vista(32bit) and other flavours of linux with vmware server 2.0. I can't see the difference is speeds when I allow 2 gigs of ram to each virtual machine.

Another great setup that I have read on the vmware site is using vmware to access an already installed operating system on an seperate hard drive, making it really fast to access, and no dual booting necessary.

Basically, you end up installing windows on one hard drive, Linux onto another , but boot in lINUX. From there, you need to setup vmware to access the windows hard drive when launching the virtual machine. I read that it was very fast (better results than a virtual image).

You then end up with a safer, better running OS, with the advantages you need if you want to have windows.

Hope this helps!
a b 5 Linux
November 17, 2008 5:47:14 PM

VMWare is great :)  but the virtual VGA sucks for games or anything that needs hardware accelerated 2D or 3D :( 

Still very useful and great tool :) 

Semper Fi!
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