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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 05-14-2006, 11:22 PM   #1
Peepsalot
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Hard drive no longer detected after failed Ubuntu install


I recently attempted to install Ubuntu linux for a dual boot setup on my computer. I installed windows first, partitioning 50GB (out of 320GB) so there would be plenty of space for linux.

When I started the ubuntu install, I chose to partition the Ubuntu manually and made separate partitions for swap, /, /home, /boot, /usr, and /var, and put all the remainder as a fat32 partition so I could share it between OSs. The install went along fine until it came to the portion of the install that configures grub. A single error message told me the grub install had failed, and the install program exited.

When I restart, it still boots into Windows just fine. But there is no way to boot Linux off of the hard drive since grub never fully installed.

Now if I try to boot any LiveCD(I have tried about 5 recently), none of them even recognize that a drive exists anymore. So I can't repartition or install anything to finish setting up Linux. I have no idea what to do at this point.

Whatever I do, I'd prefer to keep my windows partition intact, since I've already set up a lot of things on it I'd hate to have to go through it again.

What could cause Linux to recognize my hard drive at first, and then later have it completely undetectable?

My hard drive is a 320GB SATA Western Digital WD3200KS.
 
Old 05-14-2006, 11:37 PM   #2
Simon Bridge
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There is trouble installing breezy to some SATA drives, particularily on dual-core machines. Most consistently: grub refuses to install, some error about an invalid location.

Sometimes the partition tables are destroyed, and/or the windows partition is wildly downsized.

The ubuntu forums suggest dapper installs fine to these systems.

I've also installed fedora core 5 fine in dual-boot, and breezy as a linux-only machine. Both in situations where I have had trouble like you describe.

What do you mean, live distros don't "recognise" the drive? What have you done to try to get the drive recognised?

Did you try: from a live distro (ubuntu or knoppix for favorite), open a root terminal and enter "fdisk -l" ? Try again and post the output here.
 
Old 05-15-2006, 10:59 AM   #3
Peepsalot
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To clarify what I mean when I say the drive is not recognized: The live CDs that I have tried used GParted or QTParted, and neither of these programs detect any hda device. So no device is displayed in the "list" of devices, and there are no partitions to edit. Ubuntu did detect the drive with no problems before the failed install, but now it cannot. I have not tried the fdisk command but will do when I get home from work. Thanks

Last edited by Peepsalot; 05-15-2006 at 11:01 AM.
 
Old 05-15-2006, 11:06 AM   #4
Peepsalot
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Also, I should have noted that this failed install was from a Dapper LiveCD, not Breezy. I don't recall the exact sub-version but I can check that when I get home too. I did the LiveCD install through the Desktop environment. I was told the regular(textmode) install CD is possibly a bit more reliable than the "LiveCD" version, but neither can detect the drive anymore.
 
Old 05-15-2006, 08:40 PM   #5
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
[snip]neither of these programs detect any hda device
As a SATA device, it may be /dev/sda not /dev/hda. "hdx" is a regular ide device.

Quote:
I should have noted that this failed install was from a Dapper LiveCD
The live CD dosn't do installations: you need the install CD for that... or is this the DVD?

As suggested, boot from the live CD - open a root termianl, and post the output of fdisk -l.

You know that you don't want to make fat32 (vfat) partitions bigger than 32gig?
If windows is ntfs, I usually suggest a 4gig vfat partition which windows knows about (showing up as windows D: drive usually) for shared files. 4Gb is also a nice DVD size.

But I wouldn't use it for regular file sharing.
Note - you can copy files from ntfs with the linux native driver. If you also install captive, linux can write (unencrypted) to ntfs as well. So the shared directory is only really to get files to and from linux while using windows.
 
Old 05-28-2006, 03:35 PM   #6
Peepsalot
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Ok, I managed to get Ubuntu installed finally. I cleared my manual partitioning and just let ubuntu do it automatically, and the install completed without error.

I partially figured out the problem I've been having. For some reason Linux cannot detect my drive from a warm boot. If I turn the computer off for 10 secs and then start up, it works fine every time. Windows on the other hand will still load from the same hard drive no matter how it is booted.

So I can boot ubuntu off my hard drive from a cold boot, but on a warm boot this happens:
at the Ubuntu loading screen,
Mounting root file system...
Waiting for root file system...
(the computer sits here for a couple minutes, then)
ALERT! /dev/sda2 does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

I don't know what the shell is running off of. I tried to fdisk from there but I guess the fdisk executable is not there. When I boot my LiveCD from a warm boot and try sudo fdisk -l, there is absolutely no output. I just get another command prompt on the next line, as if I had pressed enter with no command at all.

It is such a strange problem. Does anyone have an idea why this would happen?

The only thing I can think of that might be causing this behavior is that I used a Windows program called ATItool to enable SMART settings on the hard drive for reduced noise("acoustic management" they call it). I try to turn it off, but running ATItool now causes my system to spontaneously reboot now. I think I'll try reinstalling it and trying to turn off this acoustic management option if I can. Does anyone know if this is some issue with Linux being incompatible with these settings?
 
Old 05-28-2006, 03:40 PM   #7
Peepsalot
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Quote:
The live CD dosn't do installations: you need the install CD for that... or is this the DVD?
This LiveCD does. And it's not a DVD. It is the Dapper 6.06 LiveCD. When gnome loads from this LiveCD, there are two icons on the desktop: an "Examples" directory, and an "Install" icon. This is what I used for my install, and it worked when I let Ubuntu do it's own partitioning. I just still have to cold boot everytime to get to linux.
 
Old 05-28-2006, 10:59 PM   #8
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
This LiveCD does. And it's not a DVD. It is the Dapper 6.06 LiveCD.
I stand corrected then. My info is out of date: the breezy live CD won't do installs.

So you used dappers new GUI installer?

I'm having a little trouble visualising your system. From the information you have supplied, I understand that you have a main box with no internal HDDs at all. You are running a dual boot from an external USB HDD. Is this correct?

"The shell" in question is running from a ramdisk - which is loaded in the early stages of the boot process - it looks like either: the ramdisk dosn't contain USB drivers, or the usb drivers in the ramdisk are not aquiring the usb drive. Suspect the latter, since the cold-boot is aquiring the drive. This suggests a timing issue - with this in mind...

Have you seen:
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=80811 ??

This is for breezy. However, similar notes should be applicable for dapper. Particularily:
Quote:
( STEP 9 ) Run vim to edit the initramfs.conf file to make sure enough time elapses for USB support to load before UBUNTU gets running ...
Code:
vim /etc/mkinitramfs/initramfs.conf
At the very top of this file, add this line which tells UBUNTU to pause for 12 seconds before starting up ...
Code:
WAIT=12 (in all caps here, not sure if necessary though)
Be sure to save the file changes (using : x)

INSTALL NOTE: Editing these two files loads the necessary commands to get USB support going so UBUNTU will recognize the external USB drive. But we still need to recompile (or recreate) the initrd.img that UBUNTU uses at startup ... so that these edits actually work.
 
Old 05-29-2006, 11:40 AM   #9
Peepsalot
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Sorry if I'm not explaining this well. There is no USB involved. The box has a single internal SATA hard drive.

You can see the product here.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136003

I tried adding this delay you mentioned but it doesn't seem like it did anything. Is that number supposed to be in seconds? I didn't notice the boot process pausing at any point for about 12 seconds.
 
Old 05-29-2006, 11:52 PM   #10
Simon Bridge
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Hmmm... I think I may have been thinking of another thread when I replied to this one last. However, there may be a similar problem in aquiring drivers. The wait time is supposed to be in seconds.

The acoustic management may well be responsible - especially if this sets windows specific options in the drive itself. It may not be responding as a standard sata drive, thus will not be detected by linux.

Linux does support acoustic management through hdparm. I wouldn not be surprised to find that windows AM is incompatible with linux AM. (MS generally do not feel they need to keep to standards, even when they set them.)
 
  


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