how to install ubuntu to external hdd w/out grub loading first vista bootup

Hi all. I am a complete novice so bear with me. Since I'm not thrilled with vista I thought having ubuntu would be great. A friend had Ubuntu loaded on an external drive and this is what I wanted. So I tried installing Ubuntu to external Which I think happened, but when I boot Ubuntu is default. Thats not the end of the world, but what is killing me is the external has to be pluged in to boot anything @ all or just get GRUB(error 21).
How can this be fixed so when computer is turned on vista loads default unless I go to boot menu and load Ubuntu from external drive.
Any advice/help greatly appreciated! Thanks tinman44

Mak 2.0

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You should be able to. I do the exact same thing with my Linux OSes.

Indeed your first problem is that you need to fix the Vista bootloader for your main hard drive. It sounds as if Ubuntu assumed it for the default location of where you want to intall GRUB and installed it to your main Hard Drive's MBR rather then that of the external drive.

Install EasyBCD if you haven't already and, with your external drive plugged in and powered on, add a Linux entry pointing to Ubuntu's hard drive and partition and select the option for GRUB isn't installed. You do not need to install NeoGrub before hand. This new entry well pass control to Ubuntu's GRUB and menu.lst and provide you the option to boot Ubuntu as usual.

However, the entry for GRUB now may not work as the drive is considered drive 1 (If you have only 1 main hard drive in the system). You'll need to take advanatage of GRUB's edit feature to change (hd0,y) to (hd1,y) where y is the number of the partition Ubuntu is installed on (Most likely 0, 1, or 2) as you are attempting to boot Ubuntu. The number for y is usually correct though and only the first number before the comma needs to be altered. This is a one time change and you'll need to edit Grub's configuration file to save it by opening a terminal window and issuing "sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst".
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