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Current situation is:

  1. My laptop internal hard disk is fried.
  2. I have a USB stick of XUbuntu-12.04
  3. I have a live CD of Ubuntu 11.10.
  4. I have another 16 GB HP pendrive where there is an Xubuntu 12.04 installed, which I am currently using as my only hard drive and running the system.

  5. I bought a new WD 1TB Elements USB-3, which is fine when I connect to any system, it works fine, I can save data.. do whatever.

  6. My new WD hard drive is detected in Bios when booting.. even I can choose it as my first boot device too.

My goal is:

To install a Linux on my External hard drive "Western Digital Elements 1TB with USB-3" and run my system without an internal hard, like the way I am doing it now with my pen drive, I wanna do it with my WD External.

Problems I was facing initially (day before yesterday):

  1. I had inserted Ubuntu 11.10 Live CD [it doesn't matter whether 11.10 is not supported the CD is fine].

  2. I had connected my WD external.

  3. Bootable device list shows both of the above and I selected my CD as first and WD second.

  4. Ubuntu appears with option (i) Try (ii) Install, I selected (i) then in another time (ii) also.. doesn't matter problem is same I am describing below:

    After choosing any of Try/Install appears a nice black screen that usually is not a problem.. but after waiting for several minutes I see

    "udevd[124]:timeout:killing '/sbin/blkid -o udev -p /deb/sdc1' [269]"

    I tried many times so something like that appear always may be /sdc becomes /sda or /sdb ..

    but this kind of "timeout" error !

    But it never happens if I use anything else.. any other "pen drive" instead of WD Hard Drive for installing Ubuntu. In fact I have installed Ubuntu in another pendrive same way and I faced no such problem.

    So I googled and found:

    1. WD External hard drives are updated with some new "4k" sector technology, I don't understand much so I won't explain.
    2. Thy say some sort of "alignment" is necessary during partitioning, and newly bought WD won't boot or will be slow if I don't do this new partitioning with proper alignment.

What I did yesterday ---

I followed links like this one --


and created partitions using "fdisk" and started first sector at 2048 and endpoints also a multiple of 8 and each partitions separated by space multiple of 8. Then I finally formatted the partitions using Gparted to two big "ext4" and smaller "swaps"

My partition tables are big so I have pasted at the end of this question.

I went on and did more gymnastics [describing below] --

I gave up Ubuntu 11.10 and started with a fine perfect "USB Live stick Xubuntu12.04" and faced

 same "timeout" problem. Then I applied a new idea... 

I removed the WD hard drive and using Pndrive-1 as my hard disk and Pendrive-2 as USB XUbuntu Livestick... I opened Xbuntus

"Try Xubuntu 12.04 without Installing"

Then when trying it... I inserted my WD External... and it perfectly mounted all the partition, I can open the partitions and see whats inside... life is fine. Then in the desktop of I clicked... "Install Xubuntu Icon" and it started... it asked me to unmount the WD partitions otherwise I won't be able to repartition these during intsallation so I allowed Xubuntu to unmount but the WD is still connected.

Installation started.. everything went well.. finally I was able to install Xubuntu in one of my Partition of WD and installation completed saying "now restart to run newly installed Xubuntu bla bla bla"

When I restarted and chosen newly installed XUbuntu drive that is WD as my first boot device.. and the message during booting showed... "no bootable or something like that [don't remember] found insert bootable media and press any key...". I then removed every CD pendrive everything except this WD Hard driv... it still displayed

“Insert bootable media... and press..."

I gave up and started computer with Xubuntu installed HP pendrive... and then after startup.. I connected WD External HDD... and in one of its partition I found.. it contains all the files of Xubuntu installed... everything... but why my system doesn't recognize it and "times out" I have no clue....

This is the best way I could explain all my problems... outside this I neither know nor understand. This is it and this is all. Please help... I just need my WD hard drive [external 1TB] to work as my main hard disk with Ubuntu... I need step by step instructions to achieve that....

I don't have reputations to upload image so copy pasting:

xyz@xyx:~$ sudo -i
root@atanupndrive:~# fdisk -lu /dev/sd
sda   sda1  sda2  sda5  sdb   sdb1  sdb2  sdb3  sdb5  sdb6  
root@atanupndrive:~# fdisk -lu /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 16.3 GB, 16257318912 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 1976 cylinders, total 31752576 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00013fd3

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2048    27584511    13791232   83  Linux
/dev/sda2        27586558    31752191     2082817    5  Extended
/dev/sda5        27586560    31752191     2082816   82  Linux swap / Solaris

root@xyz:~# fdisk -lu /dev/sdb

Disk /dev/sdb: 1000.2 GB, 1000202043392 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121600 cylinders, total 1953519616 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000022db

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1            2048    61032447    30515200   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb2       122094856  1953517566   915711355+   5  Extended
/dev/sdb3        61032448   122093567    30530560   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb5   *   122110065  1037798999   457844467+  83  Linux
/dev/sdb6      1037799063  1953503999   457852468+  83  Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order
share|improve this question
I think we need a little more information than just "won't be detected during booting".. Are you saying your BIOS doesn't detect it? Or are you saying that the installer on a LiveCD doesn't detect the hard drive? –  Seth Aug 30 '13 at 20:46
Yes, the question doesn't make sense. Also 11.10 has reached end of life so you should use a newer release. –  psusi Aug 30 '13 at 22:12
I think the / partition of the the installed xubuntu system lacks the bootable flag. –  Bolt64 Sep 14 '13 at 4:09
The 4k alignment thing is not an issue. Ubuntu should work well with this and even if it doesn't the disk access would only slow down. You have done well by choosing sector 2048 as the beginning of the first partition. I think we can safely exclude this as a problem source. –  Paul Hänsch Oct 19 '13 at 17:04
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1 Answer 1

You may be experiencing bug https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub-installer/+bug/384633, wrong device used in the grub.cfg linux boot line. Take a look at the grub boot commands -- type e to edit them (instructions at the bottom of the page). Now the UUIDs used to identify partitions should be OK, but if a specific /dev/sd?? is mentioned, check it, and change it if necessary -- I'd guess the WD boot by itself will be device sda, so I'd expect the actual device should be root=/dev/sda5 on the linux line. At first successful boot, rerun sudo update-grub to fix the problem.

share|improve this answer
Please provide a link to the bug report in your answer. –  douggro Dec 25 '13 at 19:56
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