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Linux after hd fail

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February 24, 2013 12:56:14 AM

Hi everybody,

so unfortunately the hard drive of my rather old notebook has failed, and is beyond resurrection. As I do not have any Windows boot cd, or system backup my plan is the following: Buy an external hard drive, throw the old hard drive away, and boot linux from the new external hard drive (booting from cd is not working). Do you think this would work? Are there any things I as a linux newbie should be careful about?

Thanks for your time

More about : linux fail

a b 5 Linux
February 24, 2013 7:01:16 AM

Personally this has happened to me, and instead of an 'external hard drive' I just run a linux distro off of a flash drive. This has the added convenience of having my linux installation available for booting on any computer i come across, as you can still use the flash drive like normal to save files to and it will boot anywhere. (my laptop is a 2005 1.6ghz celeron, 1gb ram)

http://puppylinux.org/
puppy is small <150mb, loads its self into ram upon boot, and stores changes in a special file that is a 'layered filesystem'
puppy has many many derivatives, ones compatible with ubuntu, debian, slackware, arch. many desktop enviorments available as well.
I use ArchPup, its really great!
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/Archpup

other distros that run from ram like puppy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distribution...
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a b 5 Linux
February 24, 2013 12:11:24 PM

I agree with skittle in that a bootable USB flash drive would best suit your needs.
With the price of 2.5" IDE hard drives, this and an external SATA notebook drive in a good quality enclosure with USB/eSATA makes more sense, too.
Personally, I have experienced no trouble using UNetbootin-linux-583 to load the ISO of my choice and make it bootable from USB stick formatted to FAT32.

Suggstion: if puppy is not to your liking and you lean towards wanting to try a 'buntu, look into the non-Canonical distro based on the 12.04.2 LTS --
razorqt-salentos-12.04.2-x86.iso (934MB) as described in distrowatch here -- http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=07720 -- it boots fine for me on a 2GB Patriot USB stick -- Live or Install
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a b 5 Linux
February 25, 2013 5:33:39 AM



Quote:
As I do not have any Windows boot cd
" and
Quote:
(booting from cd is not working)
.

Did you copy the iso of linux to the CD rather than burn the image to the cd? The iso image is one big file but after you use software to burn it to a cd it is broken down into it's thousands of files.

You can install linux to an external hard drive but it will be done using a cd or usb so you have to do one of them first. I too recommend that you use a usb and then you can use your external HD as a very large storage folder. When you install to a flash drive be sure to allocate space for adding software and remembering your preference changes, that option is given when you are asked to choose the iso image and the location to install from a usb installer. If you decide that the external drive is the way to go you need to tell the installer to put grub (the boot manager) on the external hard drive or it won't work. Here are the instructions that. http://members.iinet.net.au/~herman546/p24.html
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February 25, 2013 7:17:17 AM

Ok, thanks very much. I will try USB + external hd.

I am pretty sure to have burnt the image on the CD, probably the cd drive is broken or something.

Anyway, appreciate your help.
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a b 5 Linux
February 25, 2013 9:21:50 AM

lostinspace_1 said:
Ok, thanks very much. I will try USB + external hd.

I am pretty sure to have burnt the image on the CD, probably the cd drive is broken or something.

Anyway, appreciate your help.


Simple test, just put the cd into another computer you know is working and look what is on it. UbuntuSomething.iso you copied, many folders and files, you burned.
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February 25, 2013 12:45:24 PM

1. The cd was definetely burned, I tested it as you said.

2. Tried to install ubuntu on my old laptop. Created a bootable usb device using universal usb installer and ubuntu 12.10, and started installing it with a new external hard drive. The installation process was not the same as described in the link above, probably because I did not have a operation system installed on the hard drive before. But anyway, at some point I got a "no root system" defined error, and I distincly remember to not have been asked about any mount point. I tried the same thing with my old hard drive, I chose the option installing along Windows, I was asked about the partition sizes, continued and got the same error again.
Afterwards I tried to plug those hard drives into another laptop using an enclosure, but although the computer detected usb mass storage devices, I can not open them anymore, they don't show on "My computer".
So what can I do next?

Will be so grateful for your help
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a b 5 Linux
February 25, 2013 1:16:43 PM

If you managed to start formatting the drives they became ext4 drives rather than NTFS or FAT32. Windows doesn't see Linux drives although Linux sees windows which is why "My Computer" doesn't show them.

Let's start over. If you have a live copy installed on a USB flash and your computer will start from it then there is nothing that you need to put on the external hard drive but now that there is we need to turn it back into a usable drive. You should have a program called gparted, it is a graphical disk formater. When you start it there should be your computer hard drive, your flash drive and your external hard drive. The external will probably be listed as sdc1. Format the external drive to FAT32. Your windows will see it afterwards as will your ubuntu flash disk.





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February 25, 2013 2:18:50 PM

stillblue said:
If you managed to start formatting the drives they became ext4 drives rather than NTFS or FAT32. Windows doesn't see Linux drives although Linux sees windows which is why "My Computer" doesn't show them.

Let's start over. If you have a live copy installed on a USB flash and your computer will start from it then there is nothing that you need to put on the external hard drive but now that there is we need to turn it back into a usable drive. You should have a program called gparted, it is a graphical disk formater. When you start it there should be your computer hard drive, your flash drive and your external hard drive. The external will probably be listed as sdc1. Format the external drive to FAT32. Your windows will see it afterwards as will your ubuntu flash disk.


Gparted sees my external hard drive, but it calls it unallocated, and I can not format it.

Anyhow, could it be that my laptop is just no good any more, which why installing linux doesn't work?

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a b 5 Linux
February 25, 2013 4:33:03 PM

lostinspace_1 said:
Anyhow, could it be that my laptop is just no good any more, which why installing linux doesn't work?


extremely unlikely. especially since you can boot from live usb.

If the space on your external is 'unallocated' (analogous to 'unused' or 'unformatted') you just need to create a new partition on that space.
the "no root system" error is something goofy going on with the ubuntu installer.
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a b 5 Linux
February 26, 2013 9:20:47 AM

lostinspace_1 said:
Gparted sees my external hard drive, but it calls it unallocated, and I can not format it.

Anyhow, could it be that my laptop is just no good any more, which why installing linux doesn't work?


Go back to gparted. Click on the unallocated space and the plus sign will light up top left. Click on it and add the new partition. It is possible that you may need to click on device first to create a new partition table. Format your new partition to FAT32. Windows and Ubuntu should see it now.


The "no root system defined" comes up because when you install Ubuntu you create a SWAP partition to speed up the system and a partition where you install the system itself, AKA the root. Apparently you used the advanced partitioner and did not define the root. To do that you select / next to the partition where you want to install Ubuntu. The windows equivalent of / is C: Sorry but I was on my way out the door when I wrote yesterday or I would have explained.
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February 27, 2013 12:59:27 AM

stillblue said:
Go back to gparted. Click on the unallocated space and the plus sign will light up top left. Click on it and add the new partition. It is possible that you may need to click on device first to create a new partition table. Format your new partition to FAT32. Windows and Ubuntu should see it now.


The "no root system defined" comes up because when you install Ubuntu you create a SWAP partition to speed up the system and a partition where you install the system itself, AKA the root. Apparently you used the advanced partitioner and did not define the root. To do that you select / next to the partition where you want to install Ubuntu. The windows equivalent of / is C: Sorry but I was on my way out the door when I wrote yesterday or I would have explained.


Ok, I read the installation instruction indeed wrong, I forgot to define the root. However, after I did and started the installation, at some point I got the error "failure to mount srt4 at something(0,0,0)", which was the same error I got when choosing not advanced. I did the thing you described for formating the hard drives, but in the process of formating them to fat 32 I got an error.

Anyway I decided to try puppy precise, and now the formating works. Maybe my Ubuntu iso file was somehow corrupted.
Does it happen that software which runs on Ubuntu (deb) does not run on puppy precise? Because in theory it should, but downloading Anki did work, as well as installing, but when I click the icon in the utility menu it doesn't start.

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February 27, 2013 12:36:24 PM

I thought I read somewhere that many motherboards will not recognize external hard drives as boot disks. Now that you have it installed, will it boot?

If not, I would get a new notebook HD (even a used one from Craigslist) and install from a USB stick.

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a b 5 Linux
February 27, 2013 1:00:41 PM

There are bios' that won't boot but if his USB flash is booting it should boot the external drive.

One more shot before you give up.

Quote:
"failure to mount srt4 at something(0,0,0)"


at some point you may have received a warning that drive sdc or sdd was mounted and it could cause problems. I don't remember the exact quote as all my installs are in French. Go ahead and let the installer unmount the drives, any drive that it warns you of, they don't need to be mounted nor do you want them to be.

I just went over the link that I gave you and it's images 29-41 where you are probably making your mistakes. Perhaps you should remove the HD from the computer to alleviate any confusion that may be creating.
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February 27, 2013 10:01:41 PM

The thing is, my Ubuntu stick at some point didn't even boot anymore, so I did not have a functioning Live Ubuntu. Puppy works fine, have been able to install it to my hard drive. I have no idea why puppy works and Ubuntu doesn't, but anyway, both hard drives can be formated to fat32 from Puppy, so I guess my problems are largely solved. One thing is that my old hard drive, which was failing while I used windows, after having been formated to fat32 works on Windows, but not an Puppy. Although I get an icon on the desktop the system is unable to mount the hard drive. But anyway big, big thank you to you guys.
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