I'm at a loss for where my USB sticks/CDs are. I want to install Linux on an external hard drive connected via USB without burning a CD/finding a flash drive.

This seems like it would be relatively simple but I can't seem to make it work. I've tried booting into a VirtualBox VM (4.0.8 with USB passthrough) but it wouldn't recognise the attached USB drive when it was booting from the attached ISO.


I've recently come across this article which explains that grub2 can boot from an iso on the main hard drive, which is frankly easier than creating a new tiny partition to boot off of.


I suggest you try using 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

That would eliminate the need to use a virtual machine. Basically, you just click through the wizards provided. You choose the Ubuntu distribution, the version, then the ISO file that contains the distribution, and finally the external drive the distribution should be installed on.

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  • excellent, thank you. I had forgotten about unetbootin and didn't find it whilst google-ing. Cheers – EricR Jun 11 '11 at 21:03

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