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Multiple OSes on a portable hard drive?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a 500GB portable USB hard drive, and I was wondering if there is any way for me to set up multiple OSes on it for portable use?

I would like to have BackTrack 5, Debian, and possibly another on it all with the ability to boot, portable.

Thanks!

Edit: will this work?
Edited by halocog - 7/16/11 at 1:37pm
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Gary Busey
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post #2 of 8
You should be able to partition it and put the os(s) you want on it. "Pendrive Linux" ONLY installs linux operating systems.

The only problem is that you would have to install the os(s) on the HDD on the computer(s) you will be using it on. Reason being is that the operating systems interact with the registry. Not all computer's registries will be compatible with the os(s) on your HDD
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post #3 of 8
Yeah that should work fine.

http://www.novell.com/communities/no...hout-dual-boot
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/install...sb-hard-drive/

This should work perfectly fine, though once you get your main OS set you will want to disable the others from updating the MBR/Grub settings. Even though you might do kernel updates and such (which would effect /grub) you will want to use your main OS to update grub to keep it neat. You don't have to do that but it would be recommend.

[edit]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetboy623 View Post
You should be able to partition it and put the os(s) you want on it. "Pendrive Linux" ONLY installs linux operating systems.

The only problem is that you would have to install the os(s) on the HDD on the computer(s) you will be using it on. Reason being is that the operating systems interact with the registry. Not all computer's registries will be compatible with the os(s) on your HDD
Ummmm this is linux, we don't have a registry.... In fact, a computer doesn't have a registry only MS Windows does.
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post #4 of 8
This is all a matter of configuring grub. All you need to do is install linux on it like you usually would(you will want a boot partition, and make sure you install the bootloader to the usb drive), and then update your grub configuration accordingly (if the distro doesn't do that already). Then as long as you tell your host to boot from it, you'll be able to boot whatever you please. Fancy configuration tools are unnecessary, all you need is a text editor to edit the menu.lst (if you're not using grub2). Of course, there can be complications based on how your host's bios detects harddrives.
However, YUMI looks interesting and is probably worth a try.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks! +REP to all.
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy View Post
Yeah that should work fine.

http://www.novell.com/communities/no...hout-dual-boot
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/install...sb-hard-drive/

This should work perfectly fine, though once you get your main OS set you will want to disable the others from updating the MBR/Grub settings. Even though you might do kernel updates and such (which would effect /grub) you will want to use your main OS to update grub to keep it neat. You don't have to do that but it would be recommend.

[edit]


Ummmm this is linux, we don't have a registry.... In fact, a computer doesn't have a registry only MS Windows does.
LOL, I know. Trust me, I use Linux all the time (On my general-purpose laptop). I meant if he were to install multiple versions of windows on the Hard drive.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetboy623 View Post
LOL, I know. Trust me, I use Linux all the time (On my general-purpose laptop). I meant if he were to install multiple versions of windows on the Hard drive.
in which case the registry still doesnt matter what so ever becaues the windows registry is generated from the registry hive files in \\Windows\\System32\\config every time you boot the computer, meaning that different hive files are used for each installation... and all you REALLY have to do for multiple versions of windows would be edit your boot.ini to include the extra entries... HOWEVER, it would probably just be easier to use grub cause it kicks ass

OP: it should just be like a normal install set up just make sure you write grub to the MBR of your external drive, and then have your linux os's partitioned correctly and grub (installed to the mbr of your external) configured correctly after that, you just set your computer to boot from usb, and when your computer finishes its post it should hand it over to the first boot device (being your external) at which time grub runs and you see all the goodies you have grub entries for

one draw back though, is with this sort of set up, you wont be able to boot OS's existing on the computer... but you CAN make a grub entry to pass to the next boot device which would allow you to do this ive seen it done on many live cd's but cant think of how to do it myself
Kinda meh now...
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post #8 of 8
^ Exactly, the reason why I quoted jetboy is because he doesn't say anything about Windows specifics. Even if I know where you are going (by guessing) I don't ever assume. I was also going to go the way of EntTheGod but that got covered. =P
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