I am new to Linux. I recently installed Ubuntu Desktop 11.10 onto my portable hard drive. Much to my surprise, it installed half of GRUB to the PC, and half to the PHDD. The PC does not belong to me. GRUB got removed from the PC, but that's not the issue. I want to be able to boot Ubuntu from my PHDD on any PC. I share one Windows XP PC with my family, but the BIOS is locked and I cannot change the boot order, so I installed PLoP and added it to the Windows boot menu. I don't want to need the boot disc to boot. I just want to be able to have Ubuntu boot when I boot from the external drive. I am not installing anything or changing anything on a PC. I don't want GRUB on my PC. I cannot open up my PC and remove the internal HDD. I cannot boot Ubuntu from my PHDD as it is. All I want is truly portable Ubuntu. If there is a way to have some kind of bootloader that only needs to be on the portable HDD, maybe one that works with PLoP, it would be much appreciated. I may have to add more details later. Thank you.

  • sounds interesting. Ubuntu should not affect other HDD for grub. I think you are missing something. Can you provide the picture of your boot priority screen(BIOS). Try to +/- to up/down the boot device selection. Each HDD should have separate MBR(master boot record). – shantanu Feb 18 '12 at 17:52
  1. Go into Ubuntu
  2. Open a terminal
  3. Type mount and look for a single / next to it you should see something like /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb2 or something like that. All you need to remember is the /dev/sda, /dev/sdb or whatever letter it is.
  4. sudo grub-install /dev/sd[letter] (Obviously [letter] isn't literal, it's whatever letter you got from the mount command in #3. Had to say it though)
  5. Done! Now you can boot off the external -- assuming the computer can boot from USB.

To restore the original (probably Windows) bootloader onto the PC:

  • For Windows XP: Insert the XP install CD and press 'r' to enter recovery console. Then run fixmbr
  • For Window Vista/7: Insert the DVD and boot it. Run Startup Repair.

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