Ultimate Ubuntu Dual Boot

I have had a lot of problems dual booting Operating Systems in the past and for the last 4 years i have left my corporate or vender provided OS installed on the desktop or notebook HD and used VMware Player to run Ed/X/Ubuntu VMs on my PCs ! but i have just discovered another way if your corporate lets you have access to the BIOS and hasnt glued up all your USB ports !

Ubuntu booting from an external USB disk !

You’ll need

  • BIOS access enabled (to check/set the following settings)
  • BIOS CD/DVD boot support enabled
  • BIOS USB boot support enabled
  • Check BIOS boot order is CD -> USB -> HD
  • A spare USB port
  • An external unused USB HD
  • An ed/x/ubuntu CD/DVD

How to build Ubuntu on your external USB HD

  • Insert CD and plug in your USB HD
  • Boot from CD
  • Choose MANUAL partition options
  • Check which disk is which (typically internal hd is  /dev/sda and external is /dev/sdb)
  • Install Ubuntu to /dev/sdb
  • Install GRUB to /dev/sdb (VERY IMPORTANT esp if you want to plug USB HD into other PCs as well !)
  • Reboot from USB HD

You should now see Ubuntu running with your original OS and HD completely UNTOUCHED !

So now your friends have two ways to try a free libre open source OS instead of any pre-installed proprietary one !

  • Install VMware Player and run an Ubuntu VM
  • Install NOTHING and run Ubuntu from an external USB HD

I have tried this with Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Studio but any varient of ED/X/Ubuntu  should work fine !
compaq a900 ubuntu studio 10.04

ubuntu booting from external usb hd


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