How can I boot Ubuntu 11.1 from an external drive on a Windows 7 PC?

Mubthasim November 6, 2011
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I installed Ubuntu 11.1 onto my external hard from a computer already installed with Windows 7. (I created a new partition on my external drive to install Ubuntu.) If you are wondering why I didn’t install Ubuntu onto the computer’s hard, it’s because the computer belongs to my brother and I don’t want to install anything onto his drive. I was hoping I could boot Ubuntu from my hard drive  through his computer. So after installing it at the boot menu I can successfully boot Windows 7 but when I choose Ubuntu, Windows Boot Manager appears with an error. It says that Windows failed to start and that a software or hardware change might have caused the problem. And to insert the Windows CD and repair Windows.

It also says:
File: \ubuntu\winboot\wubildr.mbr
Status: 0xc000000e

Info: The selected entry could not be loaded beacause the application is missing or corrupt.

I tried the same on a computer with Windows XP installed and no problem occurred.


  1. Irshaad Abdool
    July 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

    its better you format tour external drive completely and install ubuntu on it becase storage formats and bootable formats are different.
    then, as usual, choose the external drive as primary boot device from your bios settings and boot from the external harddisk.

    if you want to use ubuntu, you can also boot from its downloadable live cd.

  2. Sissy
    January 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    This may not help unless you have another computer running Ubuntu.

    I had the same problem on a Netbook. Burnt the first 11.10 ISO to CD on my Mac, didn't work, wouldn't boot on the external drive.
    Had an older ISO I used and upgraded that took a long time because it did 11.04 then did 11.1, both a whole new 600Mb+ image.

    Worked here:
    Re-burnt the ISO using my Netbook running Ubuntu 11.1 and it boots, thankfully because I forgot my new password and had to do a re-install

    Is it me or does the new Ubuntu 11 GUI act allot like OS X with the dock on the left. I like it after getting use to it.

  3. Anonymous
    November 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    You need to enter your BIOS and change the boot priority to that external
    drive.Your BIOS may allow you to enter a boot menu during startup which
    makes it a lot simpler

    You will never be able to boot from that external if there is no bootloader in
    the MBR of that disk. If it was Ubuntu 9.10 using GRUB2 on that external disk
    you can install GRUB2 to MBR of that disk. Boot into Ubuntu , open a terminal
    and run
    sudo grub-install /dev/sdb

    Then try rebooting from the external and see if you can log in.

    Installing Ubuntu to a USB Hard Drive

  4. Jay
    November 7, 2011 at 2:51 am

    try again, but this time...with a simpler and officially suggested option.
    format your external hdd, better if without any partitions.
    follow the instructions here by selecting usb sick and clicking "show me how":
    tell me if it worked.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Hello, did you make sure to change the start up order to usb-hdd?  Did you check if your computer can start up from a external drive?