Hi everybody,

so unfortunately the hard drive of my rather old notebook has failed, and is beyond resurrection. As I do not have any Windows boot cd, or system backup my plan is the following: Buy an external hard drive, throw the old hard drive away, and boot linux from the new external hard drive (booting from cd is not working). Do you think this would work? Are there any things I as a linux newbie should be careful about?

Thanks for your time

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You can get a new drive to replace the old one (internally) and install Linux on it, probably without much issue. Your wireless (WiFi) hardware may be a bit of a problem to get working - sometimes proprietary drivers and firmare is required to make it work, but generally that can be handled, and we'll happily help you sort that out - see www.linuxwireless.org for a lot of good information.

Check your BIOS to see if the old computer has the ability to boot off a USB drive. Many older computers can not, depending on how old it is. It is easier to replace your internal drive, as rubberman said.

Ok guys, now I have the following problem:
I bought a hard drive + an enclosure to have the possibility to use it as an external hard drive.
I managed to save some data of my old hard drive by putting it into the enclosure and connecting to another laptop, where i could basically see all the files.
Now I tried to install ubuntu at my old laptop with my old hard drive pluged in as an external one because otherwise the computer would just boot from the hard drive (I went to the BIOS to change the order, didn't work), but failed. I created a bootable usb stick by using universal usb installer, and started installing ubuntu at my old laptop. I choose the option of installing it alongside windows, and then I was asked to assign some space for the partitioning. I used the default setting and clicked continue, but then I got an error that some root thing was missing.
I have read an instruction on how to install ubuntu and my installation process was definetely different than described here: http://members.iinet.net.au/~herman546/p24.html Especially, I was not asked which mount point to use. Anyway I tried the same with a new hard drive, with the same error.
But now, when I plug the hard drives as external ones into my new laptop, it won't open them. Although I get a message in the right button, that there is a usb mass storage device, when I go to "My computer" they don't show. Other usb devices still work. Are the hard drives broken? What can I do now?

Would really, really appreciate your help

Usuallly (if you can), you boot into the BIOS and set the boot order to boot from USB first in your situation, If you cannot do that (via configuration), then you need to press (usually) F12 and select the boot device (USB). Otherwise, it will try to continue to boot from the internal HD. This is why I previously suggested you get a new HD to replace the old (bad) one. Then, boot from a USB/CD/DVD drive and install Linux from there. This has worked well for me many times in the past.

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