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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 04-01-2002, 02:14 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago
Distribution: Mandrake 10.0 Official
Posts: 181

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Unhappy New hard drive

Wheee! I get to replace a dead hard drive today.

I run an old IBM Aptiva 2159 as my server and the HD died. I can't find new HDs that are as small as the one that came with it (3.2GB), so I got a Western Digital 20GB.

The BIOS (even after a Flash update downloaded from IBM's site) doesn't seem to "see" anything larger than 8.4GB. But, Mandrake 8.1's installer seems happy to let me setup one big, 16GB parttition. Am I asking for trouble if I do that? (i.e., would it be better for me to divvy up the drive into <8GB partitions rather than have one big one?) I thought these kind of size limits were strictly to cater to Windoze 95 (the vintage of this machine), but if Linux is going to have a problem with it, I'd love to know now rather than later.

Old 04-01-2002, 02:16 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2002
Location: Grenoble
Distribution: Debian
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I'd try with bigger partitions. After all, it's a new hd and reinstallation isn't a problem.
Old 04-01-2002, 02:48 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago
Distribution: Mandrake 10.0 Official
Posts: 181

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I read the following since posting: "Because of BIOS limitations, it is usually not possible to boot from partitions using cylinders numbered over 1023."
--Running Linux, 3rd edition.

Since there's no better time than now for me to "be cautious & be safe" (and since the above statement conjured visions of me banging my fist on the keyboard at some later date, and likely at an ungodly hour... ), I think I'm going to break the drive up.

But, thank you very much for your quick reply! I appreciate it.
Old 04-01-2002, 04:44 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Distribution: Gentoo, RHEL, Fedora, Centos
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i don't think you have anything to worry about IF you wanted large partitions. my P200 server's bios can't handle 8.4gb+, in order to get a 40gb drive going under windows i had to use "EZBios". yuck. BUT linux goes down to a much lower level than windows does, and works along side the bios at times, not always above, so m,y 40gb drive works perfectly under linux without and bios manager crap messing around with my bios for me.

having said that thou, it's generally nicer to break up the system as much as possible, without it impeding what you do with it. one good reason, is that ext3 supprto (and probably resierfs if you use that) aren't normally compiled into the kernel image, meaning that it's not possible to have your / partition as ext3, only ext2. so the smaller that is (i.e. have a seperate /usr and /home and maybe /var) the quicker it can be checked. you'll be unlikely to ever mange to fill say 2gb if your usr or home aren't there.

you can see from that quote you gave, that that issue WAS present because linux is not loaded at that stage, so it's only the standard bios that can do anything about it.


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