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Old 04-10-2007, 02:51 PM   #1
furiousn00b
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[Solved]Weird Drive Detect Mepis Problem


Hello everyone, I seem to be having issues with running and installing Mepis. This happens with any and all recent versions of Mepis. The dvd/cd burner in my system is new and maybe be odd though I do not think so as other distros work fine with no problem. My system is an Acer Aspire AST-180-EA350M and during any version of Simply Mepis I cannot under normal circumstances get Mepis to run properly as a live cd. After adding a few changes in the boot loader (all-generic-ide & acpi=off) I can get the livecd working great, but I run into yet another problem during install. Fdisk, and the install script see my two SATA drives as IDEs. They have them listed as hde and hdg. Here is the output

Code:
root@1[~]# fdisk -l</p>
<p>Disk /dev/hde: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes<br />
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders<br />
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes</p>
<p>   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System<br />
/dev/hde1   *           1        2550    20482843+   7  HPFS/NTFS<br />
/dev/hde2            2551       19457   135805477+   7  HPFS/NTFS</p>
<p>Disk /dev/hdg: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes<br />
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders<br />
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes</p>
<p>   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System<br />
/dev/hdg1               1          13      104391   83  Linux<br />
/dev/hdg2              14       14083   113017275   83  Linux<br />
/dev/hdg3           14084       14338     2048287+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
What in the world is causing Mepis to not properly display my drives? And what can I do to fix this. I will not install it until I can get this fixed, as I have a perfectly fine working copy of Linux Mint running, but would like to switch over. Thanks for any and all help.

Last edited by furiousn00b; 04-11-2007 at 03:03 AM.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 03:11 PM   #2
Junior Hacker
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If you pass the "all-generic-ide" parameter to the kernel, it will see all drives as generic IDE drives, does that make sense?
 
Old 04-10-2007, 05:00 PM   #3
furiousn00b
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Yes that makes complete sense. I was unaware that the argument did such a thing. I always assumed it used generic drives for all detected ide drives only. Hmm anyway around this or a way to fix this after the livecd is booted?
 
Old 04-10-2007, 05:31 PM   #4
Junior Hacker
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I'm not sure how it will play out, but chances are, you can go ahead and do the installation. It will probably have and issue upon first boot off the drive, you can probably pass the same argument to the kernel to boot it and make necessary changes to /etc/fstab file, then re-boot without the Generic IDE argument. Or you may have to put the CD back in the drive and boot into rescue mode, using "Linux rescue" or similar as another boot parameter, and from a terminal as root you would navigate to /etc/fstab and change the /dev/hd(x) entries to /dev/sd(x) with an editor, from ATA to SATA. Then re-boot.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 05:41 PM   #5
Junior Hacker
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In any event, if it will not work without having the Generic IDE argument, after installation, you can probably modify the entry in the kernel line of the boot loader to include the argument so you don't have to type it in at every boot.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 05:53 PM   #6
furiousn00b
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Hmm Im wondering if there is maybe the same type of argument but for just a single ide type drive, more specifically the dvdrw drive. Like hdc=generic-ide or something of the sort, or maybe a sata/scsi argument to counter act the effect?

In any case, if worse comes to worse I'll just lsmod my current installation and find out what module is being used for my sata controller, and my dvdrw drive, and just install via gparted and a mounted iso on a thumb drive.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 06:07 PM   #7
saikee
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I don't think hde and hdg are the standard IDE devices as I have my two Sata being called that way in Suse 9.1, Red Hat 9, Mandrake 10, Linare 2, Victor 4.3, DSL 2.1...

I believe it is associated with older versions of the kernel or the deliberate use of certain parameters to be passed at kernel loading time.

Newer version of distros call the same two disks as sda and sdb.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 06:11 PM   #8
Junior Hacker
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I don't think it's an issue with the optical drive, it is an issue with the hard drives. Where Mepis may not be coping with the SATA drives. Allot of operating systems require you to tell it that you have to include special drivers for SATA controllers. Maybe if you dig in this area with our friend google using "Mepis and SATA drives" as keywords, you may find that you need to slap a floppy with the SATA controller drivers for Mepis to see them as SATA drives during the installation process. For instance, During the earlier Windows XP installation, one of the first things it asks you is if you have any third party drivers to include, this is where you would press F3 or something to say "yes", then somewhere down the line during the installation you would need to put a floppy in the drive with the SATA controller drivers for it to see/use the drives.

Or you may just have to do the installation with the generic IDE argument, and the installer will set it up to include the argument in the boot loader's kernel line and /etc/fstab will have /dev/hd(x) for the partitions and everything will be cool, you won't need to do anything else.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 06:24 PM   #9
Junior Hacker
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What did you do saikee to get Red Hat 9 to load on a SATA drive, most people just can't seem to make it happen, I know I tried, but didn't waste time because I had better distributions around.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 06:46 PM   #10
saikee
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Junior Hacker,

I am pretty sure RH9 cannot see a Sata but I do keep a record of the kernel version, does it work with Internet, does the sound work and what does the distro call my two Sata. It may be an erroeous entry there. My record has been retyped several times as I have migrated the distros at least in 4 hard disks and between 3 mobos. They are still the same Red Hat 9, Mandrake 10 and Suse 9.1 as I first installed them.

On Mepies I have version 3.3.2 actually installed in sda13 so I know modern Mepies can cope with Sata OK.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 06:58 PM   #11
furiousn00b
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Junior Hacker, if what you said is true about the all-generic-ide argument, then that would be the reason why the SATAs are being seen as ide's. However, I would not have to add it if the dvd drive would work right. Thats the initial problem. The Mepis Live CD wont boot with my dvd drive, it will come up with the splash screen and then when I choose the boot selection (default) it will go black and not do anything.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 07:14 PM   #12
Junior Hacker
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I'm not sure how that works, It's just that I have read in other threads where some people could not get the distribution to work with their SATA drives till they added that argument. And I'm just guessing, that it has to do with the driver the distribution uses to work with the drive's controllers. Because ultimately, the OS has to go through the controller to access the drive. There are many different SATA controllers, some were on expansion cards in the past, most of them are now integrated in the chip set of the motherboard.

EDIT: Which is why Mepis on saikee's machine works with his SATA drives and not so well with yours, you don't have the same north & south chip sets on the mobo. Which means, different controllers.

Last edited by Junior Hacker; 04-10-2007 at 07:18 PM.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 07:31 PM   #13
furiousn00b
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Hmm I see, well I have the nVidia nForce 430 MCP chipset, and technically I havent tried installing it, just basically trying to get it to see things correctly. I'm going to lsmod my current install of Mint to see what modules are being used.
 
Old 04-10-2007, 07:55 PM   #14
Junior Hacker
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That particular chip set should have good support for Linux, possibly not included in that distribution on the CD, but probably available. Have you checked nvidia's site to see if there is a driver you can implement into the installation. But that is the what SATA drivers that you need to install during installation is all about, it is not a driver for the drives, it is a driver for the controller.
SCSI was not widely used back in the day, same as SATA which was originally only included in high end units, which is why the controllers were not part of the mother board, and was implemented via expansion cards. But nowadays, SATA is mainstream, so controllers are integrated in pretty much all mainstream mobos, via the north bridge chip in most configurations if I remember correctly, I don't have photographic memory.
 
Old 04-11-2007, 03:03 AM   #15
furiousn00b
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Uhh weird problem, weird fix

Ok, Junior Hacker, you were correct. The 'all-generic-ide' argument forces the OS to see ALL DRIVES within the computer as generic ide drives. I actually had a friend replicate the issue, and he actually suggested a way to troubleshoot the issue, but the method fixed the problem instead. Here was his replication:

With my friend, he also has a SATA II system though its a self-build so different chipset, bios, cpu, etc. He could not get the cd to boot past the splash same as I, however read up on the mepis help page and found out that if he removed the 'silent' argument and replaced it with 'vga=normal' he could at least see what was going wrong with the boot. He discovered that the cd drive was losing connection for some weird reason and could never load up the ramdisk. So he then goes to the bios so see if he can find anything to change, and discovers a switch: SATA Controller Mode = Enhanced or Compatibility. He changes it from Enhanced to compatibility mode and reboots. The cd then works for him and when he gets to the desktop, there are no weird drive letterings out of place.

My fix was oddly enough, simply removing 'quiet' from the splash grub options, and booting. I was using the opt-in Nvidia choice, as well as disabling acpi. The silent option was some how preventing the boot from occuring. It would just blank screen and sit there. I know this was the only thing effecting it, because I changed absolutely nothing from the first trouble until now. And I have no magically SATA mode switch in my bios. Now the live cd is booted and Im at the desktop again. Problem #1 fixed. I then goto install it on my secondary drive and lo and behold the drive lettering is correct. Turns out that the 'all-generic-ide' covers ALL drives within the computer. It sees ALL OF THEM as generic ides. So now, by not having to use that parameter the SATA drives are properly seen and the proper module is being used.

Installed in 6 min, Happiness within the day. Wewt.

However for the record, I found someone else with a similar problem and his issue was a preinstalled windows sector giving him hades. Ive had this happen in reverse with Grub (previous install of linux) refusing to let the Windows install cd work. It would in fact blank screen the exact same way. However I think the linux install was trying to save me from myself. Heres the link to that other guy:

http://www.mepislovers.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4680
 
  


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