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I would like to boot directly from an external hard disk to improve performance over my internal notebook hard disk. My notebook has no native eSata jack but a pci express card.

As my BIOS doesn't support the card on boot time so no way directly booting it.

My question is, is it possible to work around this issue by using an USB stick or similar with a boot loader like grub and if so, will this only work for Linux or Windows as well?

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If the drive does not show up for the BIOS (I do not know whether or not it will), then no simple boot loader can help you. If it does show up then grub can just hand off execution to the MBR of the drive, which will load whichever OS it's designed to handle.

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So there is no way for grub to load drivers before mounting the device? How about a special ram image on an usb stick which grub starts that handles the drivers and boots the kernel from the eSata? – OliverS Jun 30 '10 at 7:08
grub does not support drivers for devices, only for filesystems. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 30 '10 at 12:38

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