So I've been trying to install Ubuntu for a while now with no success. I don't have a thumb drive, and my computer doesn't have a CD drive, but I have an external hard drive.
I already went through the instructions at Ubuntu's site and when I got to the restart and hit F12 part, it gave me weird error messages like No Texts!.

I decided to delete what I put on the hard drive and re-download it.
That time it actually brought up a screen asking if I wanted to try Ubuntu or install, or other options.
But when I selected Install Ubuntu it just gave me a black screen with a blinking underscore in the upper left.

I'm assuming the problem must be the hard drive since I'm pretty sure I downloaded the right things and took all the right steps that would apply to a USB drive.
So since the only discrepancy is the fact that I'm using an external hard drive, that has to be the problem, right?
Is there anything I need to do to my hard drive to make it work, maybe reformat it?

  • 2
    The black screen has probably nothing to do with the hard drive. Possible duplicate of My computer boots to a black screen what options do I have to fix it?
    – user68186
    Jul 22, 2014 at 16:13
  • Could you also give us some info on your current system? What kind? How much memory? That kind of stuff. It may be running out of memory or it might have a video card issue. Jul 22, 2014 at 16:15
  • Did you hashcheck the downloaded iso with md5sum?
    – ubfan1
    Jul 22, 2014 at 16:27
  • @user68186 So I've been following those instructions but it seems not to be working. I did the whole "press the down arrow, select English, select nomodeset, and then when I go to check the drive integrity, it still gives me a blank screen. So it seems like that's a dead end and I don't see any of the rest of the instructions saying what to do about this. It mentions special instructions if it's Ubuntu 12 (which it's not anymore) and your computer uses an ATI graphics card (which mind does), but then the instructions for that case are unreadable to me. So stuck again.
    – Addem
    Jul 22, 2014 at 18:06
  • @ubfan1 I have Windows 7 running on a Toshiba Satellite. It has 287 GB (I'm not going to partition the hard drive or anything, I'm fine wiping the hard drive clean and having a machine that runs only Ubuntu. All my important files are on another computer, so I'm putting Ubuntu on an older computer so I can get used to it before I completely switch to Linux.) If the video card is the same as the graphics card, it's an ATI.
    – Addem
    Jul 22, 2014 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


If it is OK to overwrite the external drive, you can use several tools, that normally are used to work with USB pendrives, and make the external drive a live drive and it will be seen like it were a USB pendrive by the system.

  • Start by backing up whatever data you want to keep from the external drive to another drive or to an internet cloud service.

  • In Ubuntu: mkusb-dus might notice that it is a hard disk drive (or SSD), and ask if you really want to install into that drive. After confirming things will work the same way as if it were a USB pendrive.

    enter image description here

    enter image description here

  • In Windows: After checking the md5sum you can clone the Ubuntu iso file with Win32 Disk Imager to the external drive.

    Check and double-check, that you have selected the correct target drive. Otherwise you might overwrite valuable data. Format the external drive with a file system, that Windows can see, for example NTFS, FAT 32 or exFAT. Use the available tools in Windows to identify and select the correct drive. See the following picture,


    You can also use Rufus. It can also find a hard disk drive (or SSD), as illustrated with the following picture.

    enter image description here

  • 1
    Or try the same with rufus.ie/en on Windows and build it from there. Jul 25 at 20:36
  • If partition 1 = FAT, and partition 2 = extended, will mkusb or alternatives just alter part. 1, or should I also forget about part. 2?
    – Erwann
    Sep 6 at 0:26
  • And if applicable, what should be the size of part. 1?
    – Erwann
    Sep 6 at 0:42
  • If you intend to use Ubuntu on and external HDD (or SSD), you need not create a persistent live drive. It is easiest and you are most likely to succeed if you clone from the iso file to the external drive, and in that case all partitions will be contained within the size of the iso file (which is normally a lot smaller than the size of a HDD (or SSD). So the size of partitions will depend on its image size on the iso file: ubuntu-22.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso: total size ~3.6 GiB, Part 1 ~3.6GiB, Part 2 ~4.2MiB, Part 3 300KiB, Part 4 will be created when booted and fill the unallocated space.
    – sudodus
    Sep 6 at 8:11
  • @Erwann, If you do not clone, but use some other method, you can select the sizes of the partitions on the external HDD (or SSD) within a wide range depending on how you intend to use the drive. And if you are asking about the sizes of the partitions on the internal HDD (or SSD) after installation, it is a different issue. It depends on what kind of installation you want: a. Use the whole drive and the default partitioning or manual partitioning; b. Install alongside Windows or some other operating system(s) with the default partitioning or manual partitioning: Ask a separate question!
    – sudodus
    Sep 6 at 8:18

Try making a bootable hard disk using pendrive linux. There is also other software that can do similar things. If your hard disk doesn't show up, try formatting to FAT32. Also, make sure that there is nothing else on the disk. Use this page for more help. If you do need to re-format, be careful. This can wipe everything on the disk. Good luck!

  • Yeah, I used pendrive since that's what the instructions said at the Ubuntu website. I'm currently following commenters' recommendations about checking the download integrity. But in case the issue comes up, FAT32 isn't an option on my machine--is exFAT the appropriate format instead?
    – Addem
    Jul 22, 2014 at 17:59
  • Do you mean that the computer doesn't support FAT32? If you mean that the hard disk doesn't support it, try formatting to exfat and then using this web page: superuser.com/questions/177143/… ;you can use it in linux in a virtual machine such as VMware or virtualbox. I personally recommend virtualbox. You can use the iso file you have and boot that in vbox to use the software and partition your hard disk.
    – Comet
    Jul 23, 2014 at 1:02

Seems you didn't try Unetbootin

UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions without burning a CD. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. You can either let UNetbootin download one of the many distributions supported out-of-the-box for you, or supply your own Linux .iso file if you've already downloaded one or your preferred distribution isn't on the list.

enter image description here

Also, if you have another machine running Ubuntu, try:

Startup Disk Creator

enter image description here

  • Well I'm up for anything, tried it, but when it asks me to specify the drive, it doesn't recognize the E drive--just has C. I know the drive is plugged in and basically working because when I go to Computer, I see it there. I've kind of had this problem with the pendrive thing, except that it had a button I could click with a warning on it, but when I clicked it, it showed the drive and everything kind of worked from then until the point where I tried to boot from it.
    – Addem
    Jul 23, 2014 at 6:01

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