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After banging my head against the wall for the past few days to get FC4 installed on my computer in dual-boot mode w Windows I've decided to come to those who know. I am not a Windows or Linux person (Macintoshes mostly) but am fairly comfortable with computers going back to the dark ages of CP/M computers. I have search the forums, but all of the two drive/dual boot issues do not involve a computer w 2 SATA drives and so the fixes do not apply to this machine (no master/slave drives, etc.).
The computer: Dell Precision 670 workstation w single Xeon 64-bit processor (no hyperthreading)
1 GB RAM
two SATA drives- one with Windows (SATA-0 (/dev/sda in Fedora)) and one for FC4 (SATA-1 (/dev/sdb in Fedora)). Windows XP64 is already installed, second hard drive is completely empty. I assumed that things are easier if you keep each OS on a separate disk drive.
both SATA drives are seen by BIOS, Windows, and the FC installation program. However in the BIOS boot loading order, it just says "Onboard SATA hard drive" as one of the choices and doesn't let you choose one over the other- it may be that SATA0 is always accessed first.
The computer normally boots to the Windows disk.
I installed FC4 on /dev/sdb from the DVD following the on-screen directions (with automatic partitioning). I chose to use the GRUB bootloader and told it to install on the MBR of /dev/sda and to load Fedora as the default. Installation was successful (at least according to the installer). However when the machine rebooted, it went right to WIndows as if nothing happened during the installation.
I rebooted with and went to linux rescue mode. Typed "chroot /mnt/sysimage" and then "grub-install /dev/sda" which should have installed GRUB on the first disk MBR. The following error came back
"/dev/sdb1 does not have a corresponding BIOS drive"
I'm completely lost here-any expert guidance as to how to get both operating systems to run?
The Windows disk management utility does see both disks. The BIOS is version A06, and while it has both disks listed under the disk/drives menu (i.e., SATA-0 and SATA-1), in the boot order menu only "onboard SATA drive is listed." I have no idea why BIOS knows that there are two SATA drives but the boot order only considers one.
I would assume the easy way out would be to install FC4 on the same disk as Windows and leave the second drive for data storage. While not what I originally planned, it seems to be the only way I can think of with dealing with this problem.
Well you may wish to know that Sata support in Fedora is patchy.
I have just tried a FC4 disk on my PC. As I always select "manual partition with Disk Druid" my two Sata were nowhere to be found, leaving only 2 IDE disks displayed.
It is possible that some Sata disks are supported if their disk controllers are of certain type.
May be you should try the "manual partitioning" instead of relying on "automatic partitioning".
It is common for an intaller to claim to have installed the distro when technically it can't. A installer is not bug-free.
There is no reason that you can't install FC4 on a separate disk. Chances are if FC4 has a problem with Sata it will not do any better if it in the same disk with XP.
My sata problem with Fedora (or Red Hat families distros)is uncommon though because I have a Sata II board. I have installed Red Hat variants in a Sata disk which failed to boot when I moved the disk to my current PC. I can confirm though many Red Hat variants , which Fedora is one of them, dislike my mobo whereas other distros would have no dramma in the installation.
Just wanted to add that I have the same setup you do, 2 SATA drives. I have WinXP on sda1 and Fedora 4 on sdb1. I don't use a swap partition because I have tons of memory. I also have Slackware on sda2 (the first SATA drive). I had no problems installing FC4 on the second SATA drive and installed GRUB on the MBR of sda. As long as the GRUB is installed on the MBR during installation of FC4 you shouldn't have any problems.