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Install Red Hat to USB2 HDD

By nobby57 ·
Need to install Red Hat 8 or 9 to an external USB2 hard drive - have heard that it is possible but since my USB drive is never recognized until Windows starts, I need to know how to get it recognized by the install software running on the CD at that stage of things - right now it doesn't see it, just the IDE drive. Any suggestions?

Thanks --

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may be possible

by LordInfidel In reply to Install Red Hat to USB2 H ...

but it will probably take alot of work. I can see a dual boot.

Part of the problem that I see is the fact that the usb drivers are not typically loaded at the time of setup. You have to add usb support in after the kernel is installed.

Go to:
There are some mailing lists you can try posting to. I looked on RH's site and there was someone else trying to do the same. But no one responded back.

I've personally have never installed it on an external usb device, or have seen or heard it done.

And I have never seen this done on a M$ box. That's not to say that it can't be done or has not been done.

But even on the linux-usb guide pages:

There is no reference to anything like that. So I have my doubts. But I would post to one of the mailing lists there.

One of the other problems that I see is that your system (motherboard) has to be able to boot off of USB. If it's not a boot option then your research is all a moot point.

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Yes, thanks --

by nobby57 In reply to may be possible

I went to RH too -- thanks for the other
references! Some time ago I read in another
discussion (can't remember where) of
someone doing it, gave me the idea -- have an
IBM laptop and did indeed want to dual boot;
thought I would use the floppy option because
the install is for learning and I wanted to keep
it flexible. Haven't room on the main disk for
the whole install but have made room in two
partitions for 147MB boot and /, and 256MB
swap since I figured they would have to be on
the main drive (the 147 is below the 2GB
boundary.) So thought maybe I could just
install the minimal stuff and get USB working
as you said, the maybe the other stuff would
be recognized. So I don't need the USB for the
boot partition (provided that the boot and / will
fit in the 147MB, which I could maybe increase
a little) but still would like some guidance
about going about it, particularly since in the
installer I don't see how to tell it to just install
the kernel and boot; and I don't have any
experience with adding things to or
recompiling the kernel.
I know the best thing would be to upgrade the
HDD but it is an older IBM and has a
proprietary HDD connector which means
more expensive, I already have the external
USB2 drive, and I just thought it was worth a
shot. Will check out the refs you gave and
thanks a lot!

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The main thing

by LordInfidel In reply to Yes, thanks --

Is that your motherboard needs to support booting off of USB.

I was thinking about it and the is essentially the crux of it. If your bios does not load up a driver for the usb port. Then the OS will never see it until *it* loads a driver for it.

The classic what came first....

If your bios never tells set-up that it has a hdd connected to it via usb. Then the whole thing is moot.

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I'm Sunk!

by nobby57 In reply to The main thing

Yeah, you are right, who cares what the kernel thinks, the installer has to see it! Man, I'm dumb -- I knew that the install couldn't see it to start with but got up that side alley anyway. Thanks for bringing me back to earth.

Guess I'll start pricing those proprietary IBM drives again. There is a BIOS update for this laptop but I don't remember it mentioning anything about USB booting support.

Thanks again for the clear thinking, LI!

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fyi about laptop hdd's

by LordInfidel In reply to I'm Sunk!

I know they look propietary, but there not.

You can generally pull the interface off of them and take them out of their casing. I do it all of the time. You just need to get the right size hdd, typically a type III.

The hdd (ide) interface on all laptop drives are the same. It is the interface to the ide port int the laptop which is unique. But if you really look at it, you will find that the "connector" can come off. You just take it off and put it on another drive.

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Will try that --

by nobby57 In reply to fyi about laptop hdd's

Yeah, thanks -- will have a look. When I bought
the drive someone warned that IBM laptops
before the late '90s took a special interface
and it turned out to be true, apparently -- but I
didn't examine the difference carefully, just
found that it would not work and said to
myself, I need a special drive. Will take it apart
this morning and let you know. That makes
sense, hope it is true! Except now all my
mp3's and photos are on the "external" drive (I
got a housing and made the 30GB into an ext
drive) so maybe should get another one
anyway. Appreciate the info, LordInfidel!

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