USB Drive Installation Notes

How to install GRUB on your USB drive instead of your hard drive

Using the graphical installer on the Live USB/CD

When installing Ubuntu on Step 7 there is an Advanced button. It is right above the install button. If you select the Advanced button you will be able to select where (which drive) the bootloader will install. Note: This worked for Diana, but didn't work for Tim.

How to restore the Windows bootloader

If you can't boot into Windows after installing Ubuntu on your USB drive, that's probably because Ubuntu installed the GRUB bootloader onto your hard drive instead of on the USB drive.

So, first you'll need to reinstall the Windows bootloader by repairing your master boot record. Here's how to do that:

  1. Download a Windows 7 or Vista recovery disk ISO file and burn it to a CD. Or if you're on XP, download MbrFix and follow its instructions.
  2. Boot from the recovery disk, select the command line, and run the following commands in the command line:
bootrec \fixmbr
bootrec \FixBoot

Second, you'll need to install GRUB onto the USB drive. We're figuring out how to do that...

Although it is an old post, the first post in this thread sounds like the right answer--specifically, disable the hard drive in the BIOS while installing Ubuntu to the USB drive.

How to recover from the "grub rescue>" prompt / How to restore GRUB on your hard drive

Tim had GRUB 0.97 (Legacy GRUB) installed on his hard drive. Ubuntu 10.04 installs GRUB 0.98 (GRUB 2), so in order to implement the fix below for a system running GRUB 2, other club members will need to follow the instructions listed on the GRUB 2 page instead of the instructions below. However, the following instructions may provide a helpful pointer to the right solution.

Here's the problem: Tim booted from Diana's USB drive which seems not to have GRUB installed correctly yet. For some reason this caused Tim's computer to display the following prompt after booting from the hard drive:

grub rescue>

This indicates that GRUB is running from Tim's hard drive, but is no longer configured correctly to boot Ubuntu from the hard drive.

Here's the solution: The following commands fixed this problem:

  1. Boot your computer up with Ubuntu CD/USB
  2. Open a terminal window or switch to a tty.
  3. Type sudo grub. Should get text of which last line is grub>
  4. Type "find /boot/grub/stage1". You'll get a response like "(hd1,0)". Use whatever your computer spits out for the following lines.
  5. Type "root (hd1,0)", or whatever your hard disk + boot partition numbers are for Ubuntu.
  6. Type "setup (hd1)", to install GRUB to MBR
  7. Quit grub by typing "quit".
  8. Reboot and remove the bootable CD.
Last modified 7 years ago Last modified on 06/28/10 17:31:26