Make/load bootable .iso from external hdd (not from flash drive)

Hi... can anyone teach me how to make bootable external hdd (not flash drive), I mean like booting linux .iso (or multiple .iso) from external hdd
I was searching for this topic but end up with installing/ make bootable from flash drive (it's completely different).
For now, I was be able to make one FAT partition on may 1 TB external hdd, mark is as boot (@ mbr partition table), but don't know the complete way how to install grub on external hdd.

Why do you want to boot using an HDD, when you can use a single pen drive.

Also, its not possible to boot multiple OS from a single Drive . As, one drive (even of 1 TB) can only contain a single OS boot and you cannot install the OS on the same drive you created.


If you want to know the procedure of installing any OS using a pendrive/sdcard it can be provided, but making a hard drive bootable is not advisable :smile:


My purpose is just for quick boot from ISO file. I don't want to re formatting my pen dive each time just for make it bootable purpose.
Why not we use static allocated partition on external hdd that can booting from .iso file (can get boot in to multiple .iso is more great).
Case example:
I wan to try/test latest several linux distro like recently example Cute OS, Manjaro, etc. It will bloody take long tame just for make bootable pen drive, each time for every single distro.
So if I have external hdd that can boot form .iso (multiple), I can just copy the distro .iso file and boot on it, simple.

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Even if we consider this option, there is not even a little bit of chance that the bootable drive creator won't format the entire hard disk each time we make a bootable partition :man_shrugging:

In my opinion you should buy several one Gig to four Gig pen Drives which cost not more than 5 dollar for linux distro's. So, that you can create and name each of them specifically for single distro.

Making bootable isn't that difficult we balena etcher :wink:
Just download the .iso, insert the pendrive and use etcher to make the drive bootable in minutes :smile:


At this moment, you missing my point my friend :smile:
I mean using "already have" external hdd., without doing any "repetition formatting", and also without additional cost (buying several pen drive? :rofl:).

Take a look this :

The problem with that link is only using internal grub. I want (if possible) the "grub" is also "installed" on the external hdd (the bootable partition one), so we can pick the ".iso" using grub selection list, so this external bootable hdd can also reuse for boot to any PC, not only single PC.

If you so wanna do it, Try making the allocated partition with the size required for the .iso file in the disk manager. Then use balena etcher or rufus to select the drive and burn it with the iso and hopefully etcher or rufus won't format the entire disk :smile:

Also, I cannot understand how many hard drives you are trying to involve and of which type (internal/external)(hdd/ssd). So, no tips on that :slightly_frowning_face:

Also, you cannot install the OS on the same hard drive from which you are booting from :wink:


This might be what you are looking for:

On a different thread I found a link to this:

Another possible option is to use the live DVD version of MultiSystem, boot off of that and point to the .isos on your external drive:

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Okay I would explain my case.

Terms, we assume like this:
Internal drive hdd/ssd (sda);
"External" drive hdd/ssd (sdb);
"External" Pen Drive (sdc);

"External" it mean is removable via usb port interface.

With this method, we just store ".iso" file to "External drive hdd/ssd", without "burn process" or "formatting entire drive", this method is completely different technique compared to using software like rufus or etcher etc.
It's purely just "mount" the ".iso" file, at this time "grub" will be "involved" to guid/showing the "iso selections list" just like regular "grub" does.

what I was done:

  1. make dedicated "External drive hdd/ssd" @ "sdb1" partition, (partition table MBR, formatted with FAT, has "boot flag" enabled) to store the bootable file.

    the ".iso" file should be stored somewhere on this partition.
    or using multiple iso like

what next to do (but stuck from getting answear):

  1. install "grub" to this "External drive" "sdb1" partition,
  2. make grub.cfg to list all ".iso" file.

That's it bro.


I suppose @swarfendor437 gave your answer and even made things better :smile:


As @swarfendor437 posted, yes - you can create a bootable external drive. Please follow the steps in the link.

@anon6471198 , there is a swapped word in your post - I believe you meant partition rather than drive. You cannot create more than one bootable OS on a partition.
With Legacy (MBR), a user can create up to Four Bootable partitions on a Drive. Using EFI and GPT, a user can create many bootable partitions on a drive. I, myself have had (for testing software on different distros) up to ten different Linux distros installed on one hard drive. Currently, I have one OS installed on one drive in my machine and Zorin Installed on the other - I choose which drive I am booting at Grub.


I suppose he was saying it is not advisable to make a hard drive bootable :woman_shrugging:
To prevent him from destroying his important data :thinking:

Thanks bro, I'll follow your link that given above. :+1:

Also thanks to you bro, I'll looking to your link too. :grin:

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