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[SOLVED]Can't install Mepis to external drive 
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Post # 301612
Post [SOLVED]Can't install Mepis to external drive
I've installed quite a few Linux distros to external drives/usb sticks. I use gparted to set about 2 gigs swap and the rest as ext4 file systems on 16 gig sticks. I cannot get the Mepis installer to do this. I've tried 3 times to get Mepis to install this way but it won't work for me. I get to the point on the installer to point it to the external drive, and there seems to be no issues, I suspect the problem might be the way it installs grub. I tell it to install grub to the mbr to the select drive on the stick, it says it installed ok, but when I go to boot up Mepis I get the splash screen for Mepis, and the boot up choices, I go to 'newest kernel', and it says: error 21 selected disk does not exist.
Never had this issue with other installers. Any ideas?
Thanks.
kbd


Last edited by KBD on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:25 pm
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Post # 301613
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
Post the menu.lst file from the USB install. Most likely that needs edited to point to sdaN instead of sdcN.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:38 pm
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Post # 301614
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
It's installing again now for the 4th time, with the last install I let it auto-install to the stick and it showed no mount point in the properties when I just checked it with kde partition manager. So I set it up manually to install again with a mount point. On my desktop where I'm installing it the install is going to sdg which is one of several usb ports on that computer. On my netbook when I boot up the stick it's in sdb, don't know if that's why it's not showing when I try to boot up.
How do I get the menu.lst file? Are you talking about the boot up options?


Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:59 pm
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Post # 301615
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
KBD wrote:
It's installing again now for the 4th time, with the last install I let it auto-install to the stick and it showed no mount point in the properties when I just checked it with kde partition manager. So I set it up manually to install again with a mount point. On my desktop where I'm installing it the install is going to sdg which is one of several usb ports on that computer. On my netbook when I boot up the stick it's in sdb, don't know if that's why it's not showing when I try to boot up.
How do I get the menu.lst file? Are you talking about the boot up options?


You are correct to install grub to the MBR of the USB drive. However, the installer will write menu.lst to point to sdgN or sdbN, because that's what the partition is identified as from the standpoint of the machine you're installing FROM.

Access the USB drive from the machine it's plugged into like it's a plain data drive, then drill down and open /boot/grub/menu.lst. You should see an entry that points to MEPIS at sdg1 or sdb1 or some such. Edit that to point to sda1 instead. This assumes you installed the root file system to the first partition on the USB drive.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:10 pm
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Post # 301616
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
I was thinking it was something like that. Not exactly sure how to 'drill down' to it. Do I: "su dolphin" in a terminal and search through the system files?
Thanks for the help!


Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:15 pm
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Post # 301617
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
KBD wrote:
I was thinking it was something like that. Not exactly sure how to 'drill down' to it. Do I: "su dolphin" in a terminal and search through the system files?
Thanks for the help!


Stick it in your desktop. Open Dolphin, look for the drive on the left, open it up and drill down to /boot/grub/menu.lst. Right click on that file, then Actions> Edit file as su. Then look for the grub line that points to the root partition on the USB drive install and edit it to point to sda1.

Mine looks like this:

Code:
title MEPIS at sda2, newest kernel
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda2 nomce quiet splash vga=788  nomodeset nouveau.modeset=0
initrd /boot/initrd.img
boot

title MEPIS at sda2, kernel 2.6.36-1-mepis64-smp
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.36-1-mepis64-smp root=/dev/sda2 nomce quiet splash vga=788  nomodeset nouveau.modeset=0
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.36-1-mepis64-smp
boot


In your case, you'll want to change all the (hdX,N) entries to (hd0,0), and all the root=/dev/sdXN entries to root=/dev/sda1.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:25 pm
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Post # 301625
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
Thanks for the help Mark. I changed those and I thought it was going to boot this time, but it froze on the next loading page, I clicked on esc to get the boot messages and it said something about sda1 does not exist dropping to shell! Then was froze on (initramfs)
I would love to see Mepis 12 use the LMDE or SolusOS installer, much more user friendly. I've never had trouble with the Mepis installer for a full install, but installing to an external device is not a user-friendly exercise :-)
Thanks again.
edit/update: Just for the heck of it I decided to do what you said except use sdb1 instead of sda1 and it worked. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Nice to have a portable Mepis :-)


Last edited by KBD on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:51 pm
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Post # 301626
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
If you want to try one last time, do a fresh install from your desktop, installing grub to the MBR of the USB, then access the USB from the desktop and post the contents of the menu.lst file. Maybe that will give me some clue.

A screenshot of the USB drive as it appears in gparted or kpartitionmanager from the desktop might be useful as well.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:15 pm

uncle mark thanked by: KBD
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Post # 301632
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
I just needed to put sdb1 instead of sda1.
Thanks for helping me Mark!


Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:25 pm
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Post # 301634
Post Re: Can't install Mepis to external drive
KBD wrote:
I just needed to put sdb1 instead of sda1.
Thanks for helping me Mark!


Glad you got it sorted, although the sdb1 entry being the solution makes me scratch my head.

Are you booting directly to the USB drive, or are you chainloading to it from the OS on the main machine?

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:37 pm
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