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Old 12-09-2006, 06:45 PM   #1
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Question Cannot see SATA drives on boot

I am a complete linux newbie, and I am having trouble getting Linux to see my SATA II drives. I have one IDE drive onto which I have loaded ubuntu (Edgy Eft) and SUSE 10.1. I also have two SATA drives, each of which has a Windows install on its own NTFS partition (XP Pro 32 and XP Pro 64). The rest of the SATA partitions are formatted as FAT32.

When I set a SATA drive as the first disk in the boot order, the windows dual boot gives me the option of either windows OS. It can't see the linux partitions, but that is what I'd expect.

If I make the IDE drive the first disk, Grub loads, and I can dual boot into either linux distro. The problem is that I cannot see either of the SATA drives when I load ubuntu or suse.

So, the question is, how can I get the GRUB boot loader (or linux itself, for that matter) to see the other drives? I don't care if I cannot access the NTFS partitions, but I want to use the FAT partitions for shared data. (System specs below)

Any help would be appreciated.
Old 12-10-2006, 10:18 AM   #2
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Let's see if I can get this down without leading you too far astray.

If you set the IDE drive as primary master, and the SATA drives as secondary master and secondary slave, you can set up grub to show you all three OSs in the grub menu. Then you can select which to boot. The entry to make in /boot/menu.lst is covered in the grub manual. Look for the menu.lst entry with the 'map' lines. Windows will not be on the first partition of the first drive and will refuse to boot unless you remap locations.

For the shared data partitions, you set that up in /etc/fstab.

From a console, run 'fdisk -l /dev/sda' and 'fdisk -l /dev/sdb' to get the partitions on the SATA drives. Make entries in /etc/fstab for the shared partitions. You will need to create mount points to mount those partitions.

For mountpoints:
mkdir /mnt/shared1
mkdir /mnt/shared2

Where /mnt/shared? is the mount point you have chosen. It can be anywhere; not just in /mnt.

For fstab:
make entries for the shared partitions:
/dev/sda? /mnt/shared1 vfat defaults (or whatever options you want) 0 0
/dev/sdb? /mnt/shared2 vfat defaults 0 0

The ? represents the partition number of the shared partition. Vfat is for fat32.

You can also add entries for the xp32 and xp64 partitions if you want.

With those entries, Linux knows about the existence of the other drives and partitions, and they will mount on boot.

If I have missed anything, I apologize. Not intentional.
Old 12-10-2006, 10:34 AM   #3
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I believe Sata II can be too new to the distros without upodating their kernels.

Sata I is recognised by most distros but Sata II is different and it is also dependent on the chipsets handling it.

To check if Grub finds Sata II one can invoke a Grub prompt (by pressing "c" key at the boot screen of Ubuntu) and then issue the following commands
geometry (hd0)
geometry (hd1)
geometry (hd2)
If Grub can't report on the last two then the Bios have not (or unable to) pass the Sata II disks information to Grub becuase at this stage Ubuntu is not booted and therefore no kernel or Linux is involved.

To check from a boot-up Linux both the internal and external the hard disks/memory sticks/partitions (raw devices) the kernel manages to pick up from the Bios the Bash command
fdisk -l
is adequate in showing up all available hard disks and USB disks available at the hard ware level. The above command will tabulate all the partitions available. Please note Ubuntu may answer this command only in a root terminal as it may regard it as a system information requiring root privilege. The "-l" is negative small "L".

One can only do something about the Sata II disks if they are recognised.


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