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I am a new user on Linux and am attempting to move away from Windows ASAP but I need Windows on my laptop for awhile. I just ordered a 250 gig external hard drive so I could put mandrake and Red Hat 9 on it. What boot loader can I use that will detect a USB 2.0 hard drive to detect the Linux Distributions? How do I set it up on my laptop which is currently running Windows XP Pro. Thanks!
Well, when you install linux, you should be able to install to a USB drive.

Just make sure to install your boot loader to MBR (either lilo or grub will work). Since this sounds like a fairly new laptop, you should be able to boot from USB.

Either grub/lilo should be able to work with your USB drive.

While installing both RedHat/Mandrake, make sure to do the partitioning yourself, so it doesn't eat up the entire HDD. smile.gif You'll just want a linux parition, and a swap partition. For a 250gig HDD, I'd reccomend the following setup:

100 gig ext3 (or reisfs) parition for Redhat
2 gig swap partition for Redhat
100 gig ext3 (or reisfs) partition for Mandrake
2 gig swap partition for Mandrake
10 gig linux partition (backup purposes, in the event you need to reinstall one of the linux distros... or in case you want to install another distro)

The rest should probally be unallocated (which you should turn into NTFS or FAT32 while you're in windows, you can use partition magic for this). This is so if you ever need to recover/remove windows from your main HDD, you can atleast back up any applications/movies/etc. that you have.

This is just my personal opinion, do it however you want. happy.gif
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