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I tried to install ubuntu 32 bit in the following way: On a hard disk, I have two partitions, one ext4 with / as the mount point (300 GB) and a swap partition with 4 GB. I told the installer to install GRUB on a USB stick (12 GB FAT32 Partition) In the first attempt, when rebooting I got the error message attempt to read or write outside of disk 'hd2', which is the USB stick I guess. In the second attempt, even the installation of GRUB failed. What did I wrong?

My system is a dell inspiron 6000, and I'd like to maintain simple windows boot with the built-in hard disk. I installed a second HD in the dvd bay, and my idea was to boot from that HD with GRUB on a USB stick. When I remove the stick, the system will boot windows without loading GRUB at all.

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are you installing as a stand alone system or dual boot? Please help us help you by providing more information. For example this question is tagged dual-boot but there is no mention of what other OS you are trying to boot. It would also help to know what hardware you are installing on, above and beyond the partition info you've provided. Thanks! –  Elder Geek May 5 at 22:07
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My system is a dell inspiron 6000, and I'd like to maintain simple windows boot with the built-in hard disk. I installed a second HD in the dvd bay, and my idea was to boot from that HD with GRUB on a USB stick. When I remove the stick, the system will boot windows without loading GRUB at all. –  user278373 May 11 at 18:32
    
An installation with GRUB and root and swap on the stick is booting and running smoothly –  user278373 May 11 at 20:37
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1 Answer 1

I suggest you have GRUB install to the MBR of USB stick.

If all else fails, Try boot-repair.

Boot-Repair is a GUI application which can fix a variety of GRUB 2 problems. It can be used either from a LiveCD, its own CD, or during a normal Ubuntu session. In addition to providing a simple user interface, Boot-Repair also includes the ability to run a script to gather details of the system which can be used for troubleshooting help on various forums and IRC channels.

Please refer to the Boot-Repair community documentation for instructions on how to install and run this application available here

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How can I tell gparted to make a partition the MBR of the stick? What is puzzling me is why booting from the root directory on the stick works fine, but not booting from the root directory on the HD. –  user278373 May 12 at 18:37
    
MBR stands for Master Boot Record - Typically, the first 512 bytes of a storage device contain the Partition table which tells how the disk is partitioned and the Master Boot Record. Perhaps the clarification of these terms will help? If not, please boot from the USB stick and add the output of: sudo fdisk -l to your quaestion. Thank you! –  Elder Geek May 12 at 19:52
    
Direct copy from answer above: On a system with multiple drives and OS's, the user can preserve the original bootloader by installing GRUB 2 on another drive. To accomplish this: specify the disk (eg /dev/sdX, not /dev/sdaXY) not currently used to boot the system for the bootloader location. After the installation is complete, change the boot order (via BIOS setup) so that the disk to which the GRUB information was written is the one booted first. If the user wishes to restore booting with the original bootloader, change the boot order back to the original drive. –  Elder Geek May 12 at 20:07
    
If the USB stick is absent in this case your BIOS will happily choose the next drive on the boot order list which you can set to be your windows drive. Please keep in mind that GRUB is a boot loader, so you will either be booting with GRUB from the USB stick or booting with Windows boot loader on the hard drive according to your desires. –  Elder Geek May 12 at 20:11
    
Thank you very much for your sustained interest! What you suggested i your last comment was exactly what I intended. It works fine if I choose in GRUB (booted from the usb) the Linux system on the stick. However, when I choose the linux from the second HD, I get an error like 'Kernel must be loaded first'. Here is the output of the frisk -l command. –  user278373 May 14 at 6:52
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