Booting Debian from an external drive

Discussion in 'Debian GNU/Linux' started by tufa91, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. tufa91

    tufa91 New Member

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    Hi, i have 2 problems:
    1. I just finished installing debian in an external usb drive, and is working just fine (have both windows and Debian). But the thing is that i installed GRUB and now i can only initialize my system when the usb is connected; otherwise it wont go (it gets stuck in the black screen with "GRUB rescue"). What can i do if i want my pc to automatically run windows when my usb harddrive isnt connected?
    2. How do i configure my internet connection in Debian? I have a wifi network, but dont know how to make Debian recognize it and get connected.
    As you probably see, im not a real programmer: just trying a new o.s. to see how it works. Any comments would be appreciated!

  2. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    1. I have never done exactly as you are describing; however, if I am understanding your situation correctly, I think you can just restore the Widnows boot loader on the hard drive. Grub will still be on the external drive (unplug it first just to be safe). Then, set your BIOS/CMOS settings to boot from USB before the hard drive. If this works as I believe it will, when no external drive is present, Windows will boot normally. When an external drive is present, Grub should boot instead from the external drive.

    To fix the MBR, there are a few different ways. Which version of Windows are you using? Also, do you have a disk for Windows?

    2. Setting up a network connection is no more complicated than doing it in Windows. You should see an icon for network connections in the upper right or lower right of your main panel, near the time. It really depends on which desktop environment you are using as to what it looks like and such. If you don't see your wifi router listed when you click on it, then the wifi card is probably not supported by default, assuming the router is not set to be hidden. If you do see the name of your wifi router, then you should be able to just click on it, enter the security info, and it should go online automatically. If you do not see yours or any wifi connections, then yours is probably not supported. You could play around trying to get it working, or you could try a distro that is more likely to support the device without a lot of problems. What is the make and model of the wifi adapter? It may not be supported and it may be easier for you to just download and install a different Linux version. Debian, by choice, is as stable as possible. This, however, causes the OS to not have up-to-date support for newer devices.

    Ubuntu and its derivatives are known for using cutting edge technology, as opposed to Debian which only employs proven stable technologies. Ubuntu, by the way, is a Debian derivative. While this may make them a little less stable (you may experience more frequent bugs), they do support newer devices out of the box.

    If you really want to use Debian, you may need to hunt around on the internet to find out how to get your wifi working. Alternatively, you can try Ndiswrapper https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/Ndiswrapper to make the Windows drivers work in Linux. I would use this as a last resort, though.

    If you let me know the Debian version and desktop environment you are using, I can check to see if I have the same and can post screen shots of what it should look like if your device is supported naturally. I am fairly sure mine is. I dabble around with Debian from time-to-time, but always come back to Ubuntu.

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