-   Linux - Newbie (
-   -   Hard Drive Recognition Problems (

musicman_1962 06-02-2006 03:26 PM

Hard Drive Recognition Problems
I recently became interested in trying Linux on my computer. I'm a bit of a novice and need help. I am currently running Windows ME on a 40GB HDD and have bought myself a second 40GB HDD to install Linux. Unfortunately My computer failed to assign my second HDD a letter and so is invisible on my computer. When I look at the control panel, it only shows my existing C drive and not my second drive. I know the computer has recognised it, for it is listed in my hardware profiles. Can anyone help me please.

marozsas 06-02-2006 03:57 PM

I assume you are telling the second disk is invisible in Windows, am I right ?
If so, try to boot with a instalation CD. I recommed Ubuntu, SuSE 10.1 or FC5 in that order.

Linux does not use letters to disks. it uses names like /dev/hd for ATA/IDE disks and /dev/sd for SATA/SCSI disks. The master disk in the primary IDE/ATA controller is /dev/hda, the slave in the primary controller is /dev/hdb, the master on second controller is /dev/hdc, and slave on second is /dev/hdd. This is true for cdroms too. The first SATA/SCSI disk is /dev/sda and others /dev/sdb, etc...

The first primary partition on /dev/hda is /dev/hda1. others partitions has numbers 2, 3, etc.

So, when the installer asks for a installation disk, use this information to decide which is the right disk.

Give it a try and any problems post a note in this thread.

theNbomr 06-02-2006 05:38 PM

May I suggest making the Windows disk the 'second' drive? It should be the slave on the first IDE bus. Make the new drive the master on the first bus, and the linux installer will know how to manage that setup. Later, your Windows disk can be removed and will operate standalone, if desired. All of the boot record gynastics can be applied to the Linux drive, where there is a more capable boot loader, and which can deal with the complexity (ie. use the grub bootloader). The one tweak you might have to make is in /boot/grub/grub.conf:


title Windows XP
        rootnoverify (hd1,0)
        map (hd0) (hd1)
        map (hd1) (hd0)
        chainloader +1

This logically swaps the drives to make Windows believe it on the 'first' drive, which it is fussy about.

--- rod.

J.W. 06-02-2006 06:12 PM

Welcome to LQ. My guess is that the new hard drive is not jumpered correctly. If it is on the same ribbon cable as your original hard drive, then the new drive should be jumpered to be the slave. If you have a CD drive, then it's probably the secondary master, so again, if the new drive is on the same ribbon cable then the new HDD would need to be jumpered to be the slave. Personally, I don't like the "cable select" option - it has never worked for me

As marozsas mentioned, the drive labels are different in Linux than they are in Windows. For reference

/dev/hda = primary master
/dev/hdb = primary slave
/dev/hdc = secondary master
/dev/hdd = secondary slave

Personally, I disagree with the suggestion about putting Windows into a slave position, because that as noted, Windows insists on being installed into the first partition of the primary master. If it's not there, then you have to unnecessarily jump through additional hoops to get it to work correctly. There's no real need to do that though, because Windows is happy where it is, and Linux doesn't care which drive it gets installed on. That's just my own personal recommendation, others may have others.

Good luck with Linux!

theNbomr 06-02-2006 06:24 PM


What you say about Windows being happy where it is, is true. The fly in the ointment is when either of two things happens:

1. Windows update overwrites the MBR on it's drive. If this is the boot drive, then grub gets wiped out. While this is not insurmountable, it will certainly be a hassle.

2. The Windows disk gets removed. There goes your linux boot loader. Again, not insurmountable, but a hassle.

The hoop you have to jump through has already been outlined in my previous post. Some linux install-systems get this right all by themsleves.

Oh, and I agree with you about the 'cable select' stuff.

--- rod.

marozsas 06-02-2006 07:22 PM

Windows XP is more robust about to be in the second controller/slave.
But musicman has WinME, which is problematic.

I agree with J.W. about not changing the current disk order, specially with an already installed system like WinME.

I would like to add that some installer tend to re-size your windows partition, making space to linux. If you have a second disk, it is a un-necessary and a bad idea. Go through the advanced partition setup or whatever, to manage to install the linux on the second disk.

However, it is ok to install grub on the MBR of the first disk.

good luck,

grump1 06-02-2006 10:08 PM


Having read this I think the simplest soultion if you want to learn how to walk on water you will need to get out of the boat..

So to make a long story short I had to join to post. And not bragging but logic thinking is.

Simply unplug the Hard drive containning the Win ME and Place in if a safe place on the book shelf behind you..

Then plug in the new drive where Windows was and start the LINUX Install and Testing.. Just as if you had a compete computer with nothing intfering with WINDOWS.

When you want to do your' windows thing unplug the linux hard drive and plug in the windows hard drive.

And as far as cable select.. If the BIOS and Computer (MBD) and other control logic chips support cable select. Then Cable select is the ONLY way new technology to learn.

TIP: When I and still am playing and trying the different DISTRO's I simply do it on the other old computer.. I am not patting one on the back and shacking a finger at the other.. I am simply pointing out DO NOT PUT THE FOX in the HEN HOUSE, better yet FIRE and WATER don't mix very well.

grump1 06-02-2006 10:18 PM


Sorry about the spelling , which is software and my expertice is in hardware.

I started in 1982 working on IBM PC's with MSDOS 1.1 as the operating system.

DeusExLinux 06-02-2006 11:31 PM

From What I've seen, a lot of people decide that the users should just use two separate hard-drives. While this unelegant situation works, in practice it can turn into a giant pain in the bum. I seriously hate changing drives, I'm always worried about bending pins and whatnots. Besides, who keeps the case off of their machine half the time (the cases were designed to keep dust out, when you leave them open, and don't clean them, dust can get into your moving parts and cause some damage ... on the long scale). Really, the easiest way is to make sure you have your jumper settings set up properly (I would keep the current drive config tha you are using right now, winME can be a pain, in fact, I don't think I know of any version of Windows that likes have the drives changed). But, I would just install your linux distro to the second drive (probably would be /dev/hdbX where the X is whatever partition numbers you have), and install GRUB or LILO into the MBR of the first drive, and just point it to the second drive

With the tools in current linux distros, I have never had a problem dual booting. Just make sure that Linux is installed after windows (or that you don't really mess with your Windows hard-drive). I would really make sure that you don't over-write your current windows drive. If it's the first IDE drive, it should show up as /dev/hda (the secondary IDE 1 is /dev/hdb).

As for what grump1 has to say. I agree that the best way to learn is to jump off the deep end and immerse yourself. It's how I learned most of what I know, I ditched windows and went all the way with Linux. Would I recommend to start that way, no. Not all of us have been building hardware since 1982. :)

J.W. 06-03-2006 01:26 AM


Originally Posted by theNbomr
The fly in the ointment is when either of two things happens:

1. Windows update overwrites the MBR on it's drive.

2. The Windows disk gets removed.

1. The Windows Update function will upgrade various components of the Windows operating system. It will not however reinstall Windows, and there is no reason it would overwrite the MBR.

2. Not sure how this is relevant. Regardless of whether you install the boot manager to the MBR or the root partition of your Linux install, if you remove the drive containing the boot manager, it will affect your boot procedure.

As I mentioned previously, if you want to put Windows on a slave drive, you can, but it involves a lot more work than just leaving it on the primary master and installing Linux elsewhere. Regards.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:59 AM.