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I used to install Ubuntu 11.10 on my external HDD, it was working well, but after I installed 12.04 on my external HDD, it can't boot any more!

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just go through the same process you did for 11.10. You would just choose erase entire disk. you'll loose files though so I would click try Ubuntu and see if you could move any wanted files to a thumb drive or something.

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the upgrade process has proven to cause similar issues. – czifro May 2 '12 at 22:47
I installed 12.04 by using the live CD, and I did choose erase entire disk. – Jerry May 2 '12 at 23:05
Sorry you made it sound like you used the upgrade manager. I guess try reinstalling it, or make sure you computer's bios boot order is still usb/cd/dvd (can't remember quite what it is) is at the top level, above internal hdd. try the second idea first. – czifro May 2 '12 at 23:06
my guess is when you changed the order of where to boot from, I'm assuming this, that boot from usb got pushed to the bottom. – czifro May 2 '12 at 23:09
I'm sure it was boot from usb, because the whole screen has gone purple, and there is no hard disk in my computer. it knows there is a system in the external HDD, and it was booting from the external HDD, but somehow, it decided eject all the usb device, i can hear my external HDD stop running,and then it gone black, shows me something "doesn't exist". – Jerry May 2 '12 at 23:24

I had the same sort of problem. I have a Windows 7 laptop with an external HDD connected via USB. When I partitioned the external HDD and installed Ubuntu 12.10, it would not boot even when USB HDD was first in BIOS boot ordering. I reinstalled with one change to make it work. I chose to install GRUB on the internal HDD. I have to choose a boot option everytime now, even if I am booting into Windows 7 with the USB HDD disconnected. However, this is a small price to pay for this functionality.

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Can you provide instructions on how you installed GRUB to help the OP? – Kevin Bowen Jan 4 '13 at 22:57

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