Linux installed on external HDD won’t boot

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Problem :

I installed Arch Linux on the second partition of my external hard drive and marked the partition as bootable in GParted, however it won’t boot even if I select it from my BIOS’ Boot Menu (it says “Non-system disk or disk error”). Can somebody tell me what am I doing wrong?

Solution :

To boot the Linux kernel, you need a boot loader. There are multiple options, the most popular ones being:

  • Grub
  • Syslinux
  • Lilo

There are some interesting newcomers though, especially for UEFI, especially Gummiboot. The Arch Linux Beginners’ Guide contains a chapter on setting up a boot loader.

Basically, it’s something like this:

pacman -S grub
grub-install /dev/sda
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

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