Quote: Originally Posted by Seijun
My b/f has two very old IDE/ATA hdd's from some now dead lappys. Both hdd's are living in external usb enclosures. Both have win XP installed. He has a brand new lenovo laptop with Windows 7 64 bit installed. He wants to be able to boot the comp from the old hdd's. He set the boot order in BIOS to boot from the USB first, but it would not boot from either of the old hdd's in this way. I'm not sure the specifics because I wasn't there, but the computer froze and/or threw errors when trying to boot from either. Is there some trick to making this work? The computer DOES recognize both hdd's in "My Computer", it just won't boot from them. He plans to wipe win XP from one of the drives and install ubuntu
This will not work for many reasons:-
1) No windows OS is designed to be bootable from USB (there are complicated modifications that can be done to system files but dont go there)
2) A windows operating system is installed to a particular computer. You cannot easily take a hard drive from one machine and expect the operating system on it to work with another computer. (the two machines would need to be identical in hardware)
If you intend to install Ubuntu onto one of them, this too will not boot from USB on the majority of systems but modifications can be made fairly easily to the ubuntu boot commands to get it to work.
I would suggest connecting the USB HDD, Download and burn yourself an Ubuntu live CD. Insert it into the laptop, dont worry, Ubuntu live cd will not change anything on your laptops operating system or settings.
Then you need to look for the "install Ubuntu options". This next process will ask you where you want to install Ubuntu. be careful to choose the right HDD. (if you really want to be sure you can take the lenovo's internall hdd out for now, it is not needed for this operation)
During the process the USB drive will be formated so any existing data will be gone.
Now you should have Ubuntu on the usb hdd.
Take out the live CD. Reboot making sure your boot options are set to "USB HDD" first (assuming you do have that option in the bios).
With some luck, Ubuntu will fire up. If not, you will get a "DOS" like error message.
Now, I have been at this point myself in the past but I cannot remember how I fixed it. You need to search the Ubuntu forums but it was something along the lines of adjusting some boot parameters to basically give more time for the OS loading sequence i think. The adjustment required could vary from machine to machine.
I did also manage to install XP to a USB hdd eventually but that was a pain getting it to boot trust me. Main problem being that when you install a windows operating system, at first it will see the USB hdd via the bios, but a short way into the installation process and loading of drivers
, USB will be momentarily disabled, hence the HDD disapears and the installtion falls over.