Booting Linux from an external USB drive - Setup

This is a discussion on Booting Linux from an external USB drive - Setup ; Hi All, I thought I'd gently ease myself into the world of Linux by installing it on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I can "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port ...

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Thread: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

  1. Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    Hi All,

    I thought I'd gently ease myself into the world of Linux by installing it
    on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I can
    "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port or unplugging it (in
    which case, I boot Windows as usual) as required.

    To this effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the
    drive. This worked.... but I'm now having problems booting up from the
    drive, it only seems to work very intermittently, at other times I get
    messages like:

    usb 2-3: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    sd 8:0:0:0: SCSI error: return code = 0x50000
    end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    unable to read partition table

    Seems like a problem with the disk? I can't work out whether the problem is
    with the file system, or the hardware itself. I did a hardware dagnostic on
    the drive and it came up error-free. When I attach the drive in Windows I
    can see it in PartitionMagic. I have no reason to believe there is a
    problem with my USB ports, although I did try plugging the drive into a
    different one - sadly this made no difference.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Are there any known incompatibilities with the
    kernel and my setup that I might be unaware of? My MoBo is a Gigabyte
    K8N-Ultra9 (nForce4 Ultra).

    Many thanks in advance for your help!
    Mike

  2. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    Mike enlightened us comp.os.linux-(ab)users with:

    > Hi All,
    >
    > I thought I'd gently ease myself into the world of Linux by installing
    > it on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I
    > can "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port or unplugging
    > it (in which case, I boot Windows as usual) as required.
    >
    > To this effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the
    > drive. This worked.... but I'm now having problems booting up from the
    > drive, it only seems to work very intermittently, at other times I get
    > messages like:
    >
    > usb 2-3: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    > sd 8:0:0:0: SCSI error: return code = 0x50000
    > end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    > Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    > unable to read partition table
    >

    If you have a external powersupply for that notbook drive, use that one
    and not the power supplied by the usb port.
    The problem might be usb power intermittently is turned off when the
    bios - after loading kernel - hands over control to the linux kernel.
    Any current demand >100mA has to be "negotiated" with the driver, and
    even then there is a limit of 500mA per usb socket.
    --
    vista policy violation: Microsoft optical mouse found penguin patterns
    on mousepad. Partition scan in progress to remove offending
    incompatible products. Reactivate MS software.
    Linux 2.6.17-mm1,Xorg7.1/nvidia [LinuxCounter#295241,ICQ#4918962]

  3. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    Mike wrote:

    > To this effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the
    > drive. This worked.... but I'm now having problems booting up from the
    > drive, it only seems to work very intermittently, at other times I get
    > messages like:
    >
    > usb 2-3: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    > sd 8:0:0:0: SCSI error: return code = 0x50000
    > end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    > Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    > unable to read partition table
    >
    > Seems like a problem with the disk?


    No, it's probably a problem with the USB host controller or the IDE bridge.
    Change them around, if you can.

    > Anyone have any suggestions? Are there any known incompatibilities with
    > the kernel and my setup that I might be unaware of? My MoBo is a Gigabyte
    > K8N-Ultra9 (nForce4 Ultra).


    No, it should be fine.

    --
    Lasse Jensen [fafler at g mail dot com]
    Linux, the choice of a GNU generation.

  4. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    On Mon, 16 Oct 2006 01:29:31 GMT, Mike staggered into the Black Sun and
    said:
    > on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I
    > can "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port. To this
    > effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the drive.
    > This worked.... but
    >
    > end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    > Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    > unable to read partition table
    >
    > Seems like a problem with the disk?


    Probably. If you can't read sector 0, something's really screwed up.
    How is this thing powered? Bus-powered, or external power supply?
    Drives draw more power when they spin up, and that might be exceeding
    the amount of power your bus can supply (though it really shouldn't).

    > I can't work out whether the problem is with the file system, or the
    > hardware itself.


    There's no filesystem on sector 0.

    > I did a hardware dagnostic on the drive and it came up error-free.


    How, exactly, did you do this dagnostic? What were the exact messages
    it reported?

    > I did try plugging the drive into a different [USB port] - sadly this
    > made no difference.


    Check the thing's power consumption if it's bus-powered. Make sure it
    doesn't exceed the power your ports can supply. If you have other USB
    devices that might be drawing power, try unplugging them. Check your
    machine's BIOS for any options that relate to USB ports or booting from
    USB devices and fiddle with those settings in an intelligent way.

    --
    Seemingly ordinary humans transform into rage-fueled sarcasm
    dispensers. I love it! --Patrick Shaughnessy
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  5. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    On Mon, 16 Oct 2006 07:30:02 +0200, Walter Mautner wrote:

    > If you have a external powersupply for that notbook drive, use that one
    > and not the power supplied by the usb port.
    > The problem might be usb power intermittently is turned off when the
    > bios - after loading kernel - hands over control to the linux kernel.
    > Any current demand >100mA has to be "negotiated" with the driver, and
    > even then there is a limit of 500mA per usb socket.


    Guess what - I think you're right! I had another external USB box, which
    doesn't get its power from USB but has a separate power adapter - and now
    Ubuntu boots up every time. Weird.
    I guess I need a new USB box then - the one that didn't work was a nice,
    sleek little thing that had two USB connectors - one for data, one for
    power. Looks like I'll need something more traditional - any
    recommendations?

    Thanks to all who replied,
    Mike

  6. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    On Mon, 16 Oct 2006 01:29:31 +0000, Mike wrote:

    > Hi All,
    >
    > I thought I'd gently ease myself into the world of Linux by installing it
    > on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I can
    > "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port or unplugging it (in
    > which case, I boot Windows as usual) as required.
    >
    > To this effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the
    > drive. This worked.... but I'm now having problems booting up from the
    > drive, it only seems to work very intermittently, at other times I get
    > messages like:
    >
    > usb 2-3: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    > sd 8:0:0:0: SCSI error: return code = 0x50000
    > end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    > Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    > unable to read partition table
    >
    > Seems like a problem with the disk? I can't work out whether the problem is
    > with the file system, or the hardware itself. I did a hardware dagnostic on
    > the drive and it came up error-free. When I attach the drive in Windows I
    > can see it in PartitionMagic. I have no reason to believe there is a
    > problem with my USB ports, although I did try plugging the drive into a
    > different one - sadly this made no difference.
    >
    > Anyone have any suggestions? Are there any known incompatibilities with the
    > kernel and my setup that I might be unaware of? My MoBo is a Gigabyte
    > K8N-Ultra9 (nForce4 Ultra).
    >
    > Many thanks in advance for your help!
    > Mike


    Please read this article:

    http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS2850840818.html



  7. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    On Wed, 18 Oct 2006 07:20:38 -0700, Keith wrote:

    > Please read this article:
    >
    > http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS2850840818.html


    Thanks, interesting read. Fortunately in my case Linux boots up fine
    straight from the external drive, *as long* as the power is not drawn from
    the USB bus alone. The author doesn't seem to have that particular
    problem...

    Cheers,
    Mike

  8. Re: Booting Linux from an external USB drive

    Mike wrote:
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I thought I'd gently ease myself into the world of Linux by installing it
    > on an external disk (an old 60GB Toshiba notebook drive), so that I can
    > "dual boot" by plugging the drive into the USB port or unplugging it (in
    > which case, I boot Windows as usual) as required.
    >
    > To this effect I installed Ubuntu 6.06 (with kernel 2.6.15-27) on the
    > drive. This worked.... but I'm now having problems booting up from the
    > drive, it only seems to work very intermittently, at other times I get
    > messages like:
    >
    > usb 2-3: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    > sd 8:0:0:0: SCSI error: return code = 0x50000
    > end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 0
    > Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
    > unable to read partition table
    >
    > Seems like a problem with the disk? I can't work out whether the problem is
    > with the file system, or the hardware itself. I did a hardware dagnostic on
    > the drive and it came up error-free. When I attach the drive in WindowsI
    > can see it in PartitionMagic. I have no reason to believe there is a
    > problem with my USB ports, although I did try plugging the drive into a
    > different one - sadly this made no difference.
    >
    > Anyone have any suggestions? Are there any known incompatibilities withthe
    > kernel and my setup that I might be unaware of? My MoBo is a Gigabyte
    > K8N-Ultra9 (nForce4 Ultra).
    >
    > Many thanks in advance for your help!
    > Mike

    Try using the flash drive in a USB-1.1 port. I don't care if it's
    slower, it's usually a working solution.


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