Installing Ubuntu 7.04 to a USB Hard Drive

A complete Ubuntu install to a USB hard drive is a relatively simple process. As a matter of fact, it is almost as simple as a regular Ubuntu internal hard drive or compact flash card installation. Due to popular e-mail demand from our subscribers, we have decided to write a simple tutorial on the Ubuntu USB hard drive installation procedure. So go grab an available external USB hard drive and a nice cold beverage and lets get started.

*Ubuntu is a product of Canonical Ltd

Notes: Do be forewarned that this is a full installation (not a compressed Squashfs install) . Due to the extensive read and write operations of a full Linux install, you might want to use an external USB or Firewire Drive with a rotating platter instead of a Flash Drive.

Full install Prerequisites:

  • 8 GB + USB hard drive (note "rotating platter" we aren't talking about a flash drive here)
  • Backup any information on your USB hard drive (device will be formatted during the install process)
  • Ubuntu ISO (Ubuntu 7.04 was used in this tutorial) however 7.10 should work as well
  • CD Burner

Installing Ubuntu to an external USB hard drive:

  1. IMPORTANT: Ensure that all internal hard drives are disconnected from your computer during the install (pull your SATA or IDE cables)
  2. Download the Ubuntu 7.04 ISO, burn it to a CD and restart your computer from the live CD
  3. Once the Ubuntu Live system is up and running, navigate to System-> Preferences-> Removable Drives and Media and uncheck the following options:
  4. Mount removable drives when hot-plugged
    Mount removable media when inserted
    Browse removable media when inserted

  5. Click the install Ubuntu icon from the desktop to begin the installation
  6. At step four Prepare disk space, select the Guided-use entire disk option and elect to install to your USB hard drive:
  7. Prepare disk space - Full Ubuntu external hard drive install

  8. When the installation has finished, select the option to restart-now
  9. Boot into your system BIOS or Boot Menu and elect to boot from your USB Hard drive.

If all goes well, you should now be booting into a full installation of Ubuntu from your portable USB device. ;)

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