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I recently installed new seagate ST3500830AS(500GB) harddrive into my debian box (debian 3.1) , but when I was trying to fdisk or cfdisk the device cfdisk (fdisk) hangs with no response. I thought it is a HW problem and changed the drive. at first everything goes nice, 1- 4G swap, and 2- 2*250 raiser drives but mkswap says swap drive boundary has a problem.
I tested partitions with fdisk -l and there was no swap drive, and after that again cfdisk fdisk dd or any command on the drive hangs.
I can't kill even with -9 this hanged processes. after killing they are still there.
What type of sata controller do you have? That's a pretty old kernel and there were issues with various sata controllers back then. Have you been able to successfully use other sata drives on this system?
As far as patitioning operations, download a livecd with gparted on it like these:
about the kernel, it's one of latest kernel in debian, I've another choice to 126.96.36.199 (a security release) but I dont think this version helps.
I'll test your boot CD or another distro to check your idea.