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Re: Query on adding a USB hdd

andy wrote:
Hi all

I am thinking of getting an external/USB2.0 hard-drive.
This is entirely new to me, so I have a load of questions if you guys don't mind throwing your opinions into the pot on this?

1. Is this a device that can/should be rw via other (possibly non-GNU/Linux) machines? If yes, then what are the best avenues for a decent encryption set-up on this USB drive?

2. Does this need to be made bootable? And if so, what of those BIOS that don't have the option for USB boots?

3. How would I go about cfdisking it? Would I need to change something in /etc/fstab and create a mount point (which would seem logical)? How could I set this up so that it automounts when plugged in?

4. Any gotchas or dire warnings? Any alternative ideas about obtaining portable storage space?

Thanks for any thoughts on this. There's a good deal on locally and I am just wondering how feasible it would be to take advantage because an external drive makes good sense as a system back-up repository, as well as for additional data.

One thing that needed solving for me is that "natively" when you boot from an USB disk there is no sufficiently long wait for the device data to show up for the kernel, which in my case takes on the average 6 seconds.
If the kernel boots before that the root device will not be found.
I "solved" it by changing initramfs-tools and adding an arbitrary wait of 10 seconds. This is the patch:

--- local.orig  2006-10-17 02:26:00.000000000 -0500
+++ local       2007-03-07 13:24:53.000000000 -0600
@@ -7,6 +7,9 @@
        run_scripts /scripts/local-top
        [ "$quiet" != "y" ] && log_end_msg

+       echo "Self-imposed wait of 10s..."
+       /bin/sleep 10.0
        # If the root device hasn't shown up yet, give it a little while
        # to deal with removable devices
        if [ ! -e "${ROOT}" ]; then

Now when I boot a kernel from the USB disk, he first waits 10 seconds and during that wait the device data shows up. Is foolproof...


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