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I am running Ubuntu 12.04 from my external USB hard drive on my Gateway laptop. The internal hard drive of the laptop went bad, that is why I am using the external one.

I have a USB mouse and keyboard but it is not being recognized. Is this due to the fact that I am running it on the external hard drive? If not, is there a way of fixing this issue?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Technically, running a hard drive, keyboard and mouse should all be possible. However with the root file system on the USB hard drive it is conceivable that there is to much traffic across the bus and the mouse and keyboard are not being detected properly. Usually this happens when running silly-massive amounts of data like 4 printers and 6 web cams. The hard drive should not be transferring that much, but it is possible.

All that said, you are in should work land so...

  1. Make sure your using a powered USB hub (not direct to computer, or unpowered hub). A hard drive can require a lot of power, specially if it's the kind that draws it's power from usb.
  2. Try to use different "controllers" for the hard drive and the input devices. On a laptop that can be kind of tricky, and you really just need to move the connections around.
  3. Unplug the mouse, then run tail -f /var/log/syslog plug the mouse in, watch for errors. If nothing happens at all, you likely have a hardware issue (either real, or you just have "too much" happening on that bus and the BIOS isn't passing up events/data.) If something does show up you should get a error message that tells you why it isn't working.
  4. Try running lsusb and see if your devices are listed. If they are they should be working, if not, then you have a kernel (or hardware) level problem.
  5. Try a live CD. Do they work there? If so, your down to your configuration, if not, then your back to hardware or unsupported devices.
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Thank you for your help. The HDD has its own power source, it's a 1TB and only runs Ubuntu. I am totally glue less as to how to run any commands, always used Windows OS before. – Maggie Nov 28 '12 at 16:19
If you can use your internal keyboard then either use "Terminal" from the unity launcher, or press ctrl+alt+F1 to get to a text console. You should be able to run the commands from there. – coteyr Nov 28 '12 at 16:33
Great, I will try this, thanks again! – Maggie Nov 28 '12 at 16:50
Hi coteyr, just wanted to let you know I got the USB wireless mouse and keyboard working, it was just a matter of switching to a different USB port. Thanks again for helping. – Maggie Nov 29 '12 at 15:14

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