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Thread: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

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    Default |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Hi.
    So I got my new laptop, and want to install BT4 on it.
    The laptop have 1 HD, 500 GB, which the backup software devided into 2 partitions - 1st is C: (178 GB, windows 7 home premium installed on it) and second is D: (266 GB).

    Now, I saw once a guy over here that said that he installed the boot loader on USB stick, and I want to do pretty much the same. What I wanna do is like this:
    Install BT on another partiton, install GRUB (or whatever boot loader I can) on USB stick, so if I just turn on the laptop - it will go straight to windows. However, if I plug the USB in - it will give the choice to load BT. How can I do this?

    And another Q - Is it possible not even use the USB - just install Grub also on another partition - and load it with F2 key in BIOS, or somthing like that?

    TIA on any information that will help...

  2. #2
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    Default AW: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Well you'd install GRUB onto the USB drive instead of the MBR of the hard drive and configure your machine that it will boot first from USB devices. If you plug your USB stick in it will recognize it and boot into GRUB. If not it won't.
    Tiocfaidh ár lá

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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Ok, thanks. That's exactly what I thoght I have to do. Problem is - I have to figure out how..
    But I heard that the installer of BT gives you that option by itself (to install GRUB on a USB) so it shouldn't be a problem, no? Oh, BTW - am I need to reformat the USB to make it bootable, or the installer will take care of that too? And second - will I be able to use this USB as a storage USB, after I'll reformat it to 'Bootable'?

    But most important - is my last Q at the first message - Is it possible not even use the USB - just install Grub also on another partition - and load it with F2 key in BIOS when needed, or somthing like that (you know, like 2 drives with different OS, F2 allow you to choose which one you want to boot into)?

    Thank you again!

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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    If you install BackTrack on a USB via UNetBootin it'll do it by itself. You can also follow the guide to create a persistent Live USB if you want.

    Both options leave your Win partition intact.

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    Just burned his ISO oliverkrystal's Avatar
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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheetah64d View Post
    Ok, thanks. That's exactly what I thought I have to do. Problem is - I have to figure out how..
    But I heard that the installer of BT gives you that option by itself (to install GRUB on a USB) so it shouldn't be a problem, no? Oh, BTW - am I need to reformat the USB to make it bootable, or the installer will take care of that too? And second - will I be able to use this USB as a storage USB, after I'll reformat it to 'Bootable'?
    When you run the installer it will ask where to install GRUB. This will probably be (hd1,0) but CHECK to make sure that is the right location.

    The USB drive will be formatted when you install BT4. This is standard procedure for most linux installers. If the USB drive is formatted as ext3 then you can get a driver for windows to allow you to read ext3 formatted disks. Otherwise, you will be unable to use the usb drive for storage under windows. You should however be able to store files on it when running linux.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cheetah64d View Post
    But most important - is my last Q at the first message - Is it possible not even use the USB - just install Grub also on another partition - and load it with F2 key in BIOS when needed, or something like that (you know, like 2 drives with different OS, F2 allow you to choose which one you want to boot into)?

    Thank you again!
    GRUB is the bootloader for all linux systems. You have to have a bootloader. You can chainload into windows with GRUB. Most linux systems will setup that function for you automatically, otherwise there are plenty of tutorials online. You will have to install GRUB to the MBR of the drive either your USB drive where you are installing linux or the MBR of you harddrive should you decide on using a "true" dualboot.
    The /boot (which has the rest of the bootloading files) folder will installed to the linux partition. If you do this, the GRUB screen will appear at boot and you can select which OS to load. You will not even need to press F2.

    You seem to have alot of questions. The best suggestion that I have for you is to setup virtual box or vmware if you like and then test your installation procedure in the virtual machine. If something goes wrong, then nothing bad will happen. You can just delete the virtual machine and try again.

    Also, if this is your primary computer, make sure you have a few hours and possible another day or two before you will have to have this system. Make sure you can make your way to a friend's house so you can do google searches for when something inevitably goes wrong. When I installed Backtrack 4 the installer didn't do what I thought it would and I had to spend a bit of time (the afternoon) reconfiguring my bootloaders.
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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarradax View Post
    If you install BackTrack on a USB via UNetBootin it'll do it by itself. You can also follow the guide to create a persistent Live USB if you want.
    I think you got me all wrong. I don't want to install BT on USB, just the bootloader. And if I can - I prefer even the bootloader not on USB, but on another partion on my HD. Hope this make it more clear...

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverkrystal View Post
    When you run the installer it will ask where to install GRUB. This will probably be (hd1,0) but CHECK to make sure that is the right location.
    This is the kind of answers I was looking for, TY!!
    BTW - are you sure that (hd1,0) is the right place to install GRUB on USB? sounds to me like it's gonna install it on the HD..

    Actually, I think I didn't explained myself so good, and what I want to do. I think I'll do it now to get more accurate answers..:
    I want to install simple Dual-boot OS's on my laptop - BUT I want the computer to boot atomaticlly to Windows (still my main OS, sorry) unless I'll press a pre-defined key. Then, only when I press this key - I'll get the 'Options screen' where I can choose which OS to boot into.
    My prefferd way is to install the bootloader (GRUB, I assumed on this case) somewhere else, another device or another partition, so it won't load automaticlly when the PC is up. I want only the MBR to boot in a un-thouched boot.

    How can I do that?

    TY anyway, you helped me so far already..

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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    I think you got me all wrong. I don't want to install BT on USB, just the bootloader. And if I can - I prefer even the bootloader not on USB, but on another partion on my HD. Hope this make it more clear...
    Even better! You will have to overwrite the MBR, but that's no problem as GRUB can also handle windows booting so you won't loose that feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheetah64d View Post
    This is the kind of answers I was looking for, TY!!
    BTW - are you sure that (hd1,0) is the right place to install GRUB on USB? sounds to me like it's gonna install it on the HD.
    GRUB uses hdX,X to explain what disc and what partition you are installing to. Discs are counted like hd0, hd1, hd2, etc. The partitions for those discs are counted as hd0,0; hd0,1; hd0,2 etc. If you open up a terminal, then type grub, you can use geometry (hd0) and it will show you the size and partitions on the disk (it should anyway) that GRUB considers [FONT ="Courier New"]hd0[/FONT].

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheetah64d View Post
    Actually, I think I didn't explained myself so good, and what I want to do. I think I'll do it now to get more accurate answers..:
    I want to install simple Dual-boot OS's on my laptop - BUT I want the computer to boot automatically to Windows (still my main OS, sorry) unless I'll press a pre-defined key. Then, only when I press this key - I'll get the 'Options screen' where I can choose which OS to boot into.
    My preferred way is to install the bootloader (GRUB, I assumed on this case) somewhere else, another device or another partition, so it won't load automatically when the PC is up. I want only the MBR to boot in a un-thouched boot.

    How can I do that?

    TY anyway, you helped me so far already..
    No worries on the windows preference . My desktop is still Win XP and my netbook's primary OS is Fedora.

    Just install backtrack normally. You'll want to install GRUB to the MBR, which should be just hd0. Then, kate /boot/grub/menu.lst (I think that is the path) and setup Windows to be the default entry.

    The default menu.lst is a bit cluttered, so if you get stuck post it and I'll look at it and help you out. I cleaned up my menu.lst in BT4 and it won't apply to you because of some UUID stuff. There should be a DefaultEntry= option that you can set to 2 or something similar and have windows boot automatically.

    If you want to boot BT4, you'll just have to press the down arrow, and then enter.

    Just make sure to backup important files and have access to another computer with the internet. Just in case something goes wrong. If you prepare it might not break but if you don't it most assuredly will. If you have the option, install windows in a virtual machine, then dual boot that virtual machine. The process is the same.
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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverkrystal View Post
    GRUB uses hdX,X to explain what disc and what partition you are installing to. Discs are counted like hd0, hd1, hd2, etc. The partitions for those discs are counted as hd0,0; hd0,1; hd0,2 etc.
    Thank you for making that clear enough for me..

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverkrystal View Post
    Just install backtrack normally. You'll want to install GRUB to the MBR, which should be just hd0. Then, kate /boot/grub/menu.lst (I think that is the path) and setup Windows to be the default entry.
    Well, guess what. That exactly what I did on my desktop, right before I removed BT from it. I know how to install GRUB, and how to tweak it in a way that windows will be the default OS. Thing is - I don't want GRUB to get involved, untill I'll press a button. This GRUB cause me enough troubles. For example, when I turn on the PC back from hibernation - instead of resuming right on windows - GRUB appeared.
    So, basiclly - again - I want GRUB to load ONLY if I'll press a button, not a second before.
    Now, is THAT possiblle?

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    Default Re: |Help| How to make Dual-boot running from USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheetah64d View Post
    So, basiclly - again - I want GRUB to load ONLY if I'll press a button, not a second before.
    Now, is THAT possiblle?
    No. Not unless you can get the windows bootloader to support linux.
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