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Minor issues with an external hard drive

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Thanks very much for all that, I will investigate as soon as I can. The NTLDR error message I don't know so much about, though when it first happened I noticed from Googling it that it was sometimes linked to an external hard drive, so I thought it could well be related here.

I don't know if it can be a Windows problem, but it can't be in this case, I'm running LL on a laptop that has never had anything else on its new SSD which is its one and only hard drive.

Ah, just noticed that I misread part of your reply. Windows has never been installed to the external drive either, it is a backup drive and just contains data, no OS - but it has been in use attached to Windows machines, if that might be a factor.


Sounds like what you have is enough of a Windows boot sector on that external HD for it to think that Windows MIGHT BE installed, but not enough for it to actually BE THERE. It also sounds like SOMETHING, sometime in the past, enabled a flag that's telling your PC this drive is bootable.

If you want to leave it hooked up on startup, you'll have to either use GPartEd to 'turn off' that boot flag, or turn it off as a boot selection in your BIOS. The former option is preferable because THAT will keep it from trying to boot into a Windows install that doesn't exist...


Aha - that's interesting, thanks. I should be able to manage to set it as non-bootable in GParted. I will see if that sorts me out.

With regards to your NTLDR problem -- just so I am sure what you mean:

If you do a normal "shutdown" of LinuxLite -- no problem.  Correct?

If you do a "restart" of LL -- problem.  Correct?

On the restart, does the problem occur after LL is down and then started up again?  Or does LL hang and not shutdown for reboot at all?

If problem is that LL does go down, but reboot process shows error, experiment with following and report back result:
-- hit "reboot" like you normally do
-- immediately after LL goes down (and BEFORE) reboot starts, disconnect external drive.
-- I'm guessing that you now don't get the error message.  Is that correct?

-- If "yes" (you now don't get the error message), then my guess is that somehow Windows stuck something in the MBR of the external drive.  How/Why?  I don't know.  Maybe some Windows update done with the external drive attached caused that -- purely a wild guess on my part!

-- You can get rid of what's in the MBR with the following command, but you need to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL that it is entered correctly and is pointed at the external drive:

--- Code: ---sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=446 count=1
--- End code ---
Substitute the correct drive designation for your external drive where I have /dev/sdX above.  (NOTE:  you are using just sdX, not a particular partition like sdX1.)  For example, if you have one internal drive and one external drive, sda will likely be the internal drive and sdb might be the designation for the external drive.  The command zeros out the first 446 bytes of the drive, which is where the MBR is located.

To find the correct designation for the external drive, have the drive connected then run following command:

--- Code: ---lsblk
--- End code ---

Confirm the result you find with above by running next command (look to see if it shows same sdX as other command did for the external drive):

--- Code: ---sudo blkid
--- End code ---

Using the dd command can be very dangerous -- if done improperly can easily wipe out your drive!  I have not needed to use the command myself in the above form (to wipe out an MBR); so you may want to wait until another knowledgeable Linux user checks and confirms that the command I've written is correct before proceeding.


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