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Old 06-28-2006, 09:21 AM   #1
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Unhappy Sarge 3.1r2 will not create file system on Western Digital 40Gb laptop HDD

Hi, I am a Debian newbie, although not a Linux newbie !

I have a TC-10 touch screen computer from EarthLCD. The mobo is x386-based, and I am looking to put a 2.4 Linux kernel on this hardware because it supports touch screen calibration, which the 2.6 kernel does not.

For starters I've attached a CD-ROM as IDE primary slave and that's recognised just fine. When there's an IBM 512Mb microdrive also attached as IDE primary master, I have no problems whatsoever creating filesystems and indeed a whole Debian system on it, but the problem is that I'm very quickly running out of disk space when I start to add packages, add X11, play with the kernel, etc. (It is /var that fills up very quickly).

So I decided to swap the Microdrive for something bigger - a 40Gb Western Digital 2.5 inch laptop HDD, connected via a 2.5 inch-to-3.5 inch adapter. Again, the disk is recognised just fine. However, when I come to try and create even just a 1Gb root partition (in ext2, ext3 or reiser), the filesystem creation progress bar gets right to the end and then says that it failed to create the filesystem.

I have tried two different brand new Western Digital 2.5" disks - both give the same result. I have tried various types of partition table (the default 'msdos', but also bsd) but again this does not help.

One other thing I have tried is to create the filesystem on a root partition no more than 500Mb, thinking that I would later extend it. Sometimes this works, but if I then go back one step in the installation menu and try to run the partitioner again, it says "no partitionable media found" !!

I'm tearing my hair out!

Any ideas why these fairly harmless, standard IDE disks (not even SATA) should fail to accept a filesystem ? Anywhere I can look for clues as to what is behind the failure ? I don't know what else to try.

Old 06-29-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
Dutch Master
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Registered: Dec 2005
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Try booting with a LiveCD, like Knoppix or Ubuntu. Maybe Xubuntu might be a better choise, on such low resources. Create and format the partitions with the tools in these distro's.

PS: the BIOS of that system might not be able to recognise the larger harddrive. Try updating that first. Mind you: flashing your BIOS *could* lead to data loss!

Last edited by Dutch Master; 06-29-2006 at 06:43 PM.
Old 08-30-2006, 01:44 AM   #3
Registered: Aug 2006
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Yeah you might want to to check for LBA support (Large Block Addressing). If LBA is turned off in the BIOS, make sure that is turned on, and then do an F10 (in most BIOS releases anyway) and let it reboot. Try it then. Because yeah, I have Deb 3.1 Sarge installed on a PC at home, it works fine (at least the partition part ).

Anyways, hope that helps.

Thanks, Justin


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