I downloaded the 64-bit ISO of Ubuntu, mounted it with Daemon Tools, and installed it on an WD 500 GB "My Passport" Hard Drive. I did this with the drive attached to my desktop machine. When I rebooted the desktop, it asked me if I wanted to boot into Ubuntu or not. Now, my thinking was "if I plug this drive into my laptop, it should give me the same Ubuntu option"....Yeah, not so much. It just boots straight into Windows Vista. I tried changing the boot order on the laptop (it's a Toshiba), but there was no option for booting from USB. This may be the true problem. If it is, I'll take that issue to superUser. :D

Anyone have any suggestions to solve my issue?

  • Since you mention you mounted via Daemon Tools, I assume you were running Windows and used the "wubi installer" to install it. Can you confirm ? If you are really not sure pls check the screenshots at the Wubi guide (wiki.ubuntu.com/WubiGuide) with what you got during the installation process. – koushik Sep 10 '10 at 11:43
  • Yes Daemon tools was used to mount the CD image – Levi Hackwith Sep 11 '10 at 21:54

Since you have installed Ubuntu while on your desktop as Wubi installation, I believe there will be no grub installed on the desktop harddrive. Wubi modifies the vista bootloader to provide a Ubuntu boot option. It does so by modifying the boot.ini in the vista partition.

If, for example, Vista is installed in C drive, you would find C:\boot.ini which is a text file specifying the boot options. You can open that file on the host system to see how this is done on the desktop system.

Caution Wubi installs are by-design not portable across Windows installations (even between 2 machines having same version of Windows - Pls don't even try to copy the boot.ini anywhere else.). This is because of the following

  1. Wubi installs the entire ubuntu OS + persistent data into what appears to be a file to windows (see the 2nd item in this section of wubi faq
  2. Location of the mount point of the drive is not expected to consistent across all systems and hence the location of this above file as the bootloader sees it can vary from one pc to another.

Installing Ubuntu onto an external harddrive is an excellent option of being able to have your favourite os on-the-go and due to the above reasons doing it in a "Wubi-mode" kind of defeats that purpose.

My suggestion would be, if possible, to have Ubuntu on the external hard-drive as a normal install. If you could eke out some space for a new partition in the disk using gparted in the livecd/liveusb then you could follow this tutorial to even migrate your existing Wubi install into the new partition.

This link has comprehensive info on wubi that might be helpful.

  • +1: it is not clear exactly what the question asker did install, how, but so long as your first statement is true, this is a well written and well referenced answer – msw Sep 9 '10 at 7:25
  • I assumed this since "Daemon Tools" lists Windows as a system requirement. I have commented on the question also to trigger a confirmation. – koushik Sep 10 '10 at 11:41

The boot-loader on your first machine was replaced with GRUB. The laptop still has the Vista Loader on it.

grub-install is probably the easiest way to get the boot record on the laptop changed to GRUB, but I'm intentionally not giving you details as you should take the time to ensure that you understand the options you pass, lest you make the laptop unbootable.

There is also a way to get the Vista boot-loader to allow it to recognize the Ubuntu partition, but that is as flexible, convenient, and as well-documented as one might expect from Vista.

You don't specify the vintage of the laptop, but USB boot came much later than boot from CD-ROM. You may well have to boot your laptop with a LiveCD in order to get GRUB loaded on it.

Oh, and Wubi can be used to install Ubuntu, but that it does so is a secondary feature, and LiveCDs are preferred.

  • Toshiba Satellite (Got it about a year ago - brand new). Thanks so much for the info. When booting from a live CD, does that install GRUB permanently? As in, I should be able to boot from the USB Hard Drive once I run the live CD? – Levi Hackwith Sep 8 '10 at 23:14
  • If you boot from a LiveCD, it won't make any changes to your harddrive (including the boot loader) unless you explicitly tell it to. I'm not trying to be coy, I just don't want to accidentally tell you how to "brick" your machine so ask that you do a little reading on your own. – msw Sep 9 '10 at 2:52

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