View Full Version : Knoppix on a usb hard drive with my multimeida(dual purpose)

07-06-2005, 12:52 AM
I'm in search of advice on hwo to realise my wishes.

I would like to setup a 40 GB external usb hard drive so that if plugged in normally, a FAT32 partion can been seen in any OS, which would have my multimedia and data.

But I would also like that if I'm in a pinch, I can connect the drive preboot, and with the BIOS's permission, boot to the ext. drive, and have a knoppix install bootup, autodetect the hardware as necessary, and allow me to access my data.

If possible, I'd also like to keep the a home dir on the knoppix install synced with my currect home dir in FC4.

Any ideas?

I would appreciate some detailed partioning advice also.


07-06-2005, 06:54 PM
In Knoppix, the most troublesome bit is the kernel. It is compiled with CONFIG_BLK_DEV_UB=y such that usb devices are no longer emulated as SCSI devices, i.e. /dev/uba instead of /dev/sda. Unfortunately, this bit is still not mature. In fact, with /dev/uba, the data transfer rate is painfully slow and it also causes trouble to install the GRUB bootloader because it blocks the BIOS from recognizing the USB HDD. Another worst thing is you are unable to build an initrd with the mkinitrd tool in order to boot this USB HDD!

I encountered similar circumstances as yours. I am unable to find an easy way to solve this issue with Knoppix but I solved it by installing Kanotix into a USB HDD. Therefore, I believe your wishes can be realized by installing Kanotix, it is not too difficult.;)

1. Boot the Kanotix LiveCD, http://www.kanotix.net/ (2005-03 is the latest version as of today)
2. Partition your USB HDD with cfdisk, For me, I also have a 40GB HDD and I did:

sda1 20GB W95 FAT32 (LBA)
sda2 512MB swap
sda3 5GB home
sda4 15GB /

This suit my needs, how you prepare your partition depends on your system and applications.

3. Proceed installation as if you are installing Knoppix to an ordinary HDD, do not install the bootloader to MBR.
4. Install your bootloader later to your USB HDD by

#grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/sda4 /dev/sda

5. Check your /boot/grub/menu.lst entries and make sure the (hd0,3) is written correctly. During installation, the USB HDD is identified as (hd1,3), however, when you boot the USB HDD, it will become (hd0,3).

Hope this help and good luck!

PS: If you want to upgrade the kernel in future, some kernel options need to be changed before your can use the mkinitrd tool.