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When I installed Ubuntu on my USB flash drive (a proper permanent install, not a live cd with casper), the installer recognized the operating system on the host computer, a laptop, and made an entry in grub for it. Now, I want to use this USB thumb drive on any computer I go to, so the Vista entry will be useless on some other PC. I mentioned laptop because I tried to disconnect the HDD (on which Vista is installed) in the BIOS setup, but apparently laptop BIOS's don't always have this option.

So, what bootloader can I install that will only boot from the boot partition of my USB thumb drive?

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I don't understand the question... why not remove the entries in your current bootloader and only leave the one you need? – Rinzwind Sep 17 '11 at 14:33
@Rinzwind I suppose what I mean to say is that grub seems like overkill for what I want. When I choose to boot from the USB key in the BIOS, I don't want the grub screen to show up; I want Ubuntu to load immediately just as it would on a Live USB drive. – ladaghini Sep 17 '11 at 15:14
But would removing the grub from the USB stick not do what you want? If the usb is inserted and bootable and the bios sees that before the local hdd it would just boot from the USB. – Rinzwind Sep 17 '11 at 16:08
What benefit is there to a "proper install" as opposed to simply making a live USB stick? – John Feb 24 '12 at 22:31
This question appears to be abandoned, if you are experiencing a similar issue please ask a new question with details pertaining to your problem. If you feel this question is not abandoned, please flag the question explaining that. I am flagging this for closure :) – Ringtail Feb 28 '12 at 21:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If I understand you correctly, you currently have the following setup:

BIOS -> GRUB2 -> Boot USB

However, when you installed Ubuntu to the USB drive, you should make sure that you install grub to the USB drive, not the host hard drive, e.g. /dev/sdb not /dev/sda. So your setup should be like this:

BIOS -> Boot USB -> GRUB2

Please note that if you but your USB drive from a different machine other than the one you installed it on, it is not guaranteed to work properly. There may be settings specific to your machine.

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I have it set up as the second one: BIOS -> Boot USB -> GRUB2 --(choose OS)--> Ubuntu, I would like a simple bootloader to just start Ubuntu (i.e. boot from first partition in USB drive) without any OS menu prompt. – ladaghini Sep 17 '11 at 15:38
In that case you will need to configure your BIOS to boot from USB first, then modify GRUB2 to boot Ubuntu by default: – Dariel Dato-on Sep 17 '11 at 15:44

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