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Old 12-19-2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hard drive semi-detected

First of all forget my poor english.

I am using Ubuntu for a while. Last Easter I bought a laptop from a friend but I didn't check if the motherboard would support more than 100GB has main disc. I bought a disc and installed but at a certain point the system would install and then I would get some error installing Ubuntu. So I decided to give a try to Windows XP. It was even worst it couldn't format at all.

Then I became aware of my mistake and bought a 80GB HDD and Ubuntu works just great.

My problem is I want to use this 120GB as an external USB storage for music. The problem is Ubuntu, Debian, Windows all of them detect a certain disc but I want to format it. I have been googling around but I haven't found anything yet.

Both windowns and ubuntu says the disc is unallocated. Is there still a hope for this disc to be usefull for me?

Thanks in advance for your help
Old 12-19-2009, 07:20 PM   #2
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What output do you get for the device from
fdisk -l
Old 12-19-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
Fred Caro
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It is not exactly clear to me what you have done or expect to do.
To use an internal hard drive as a usb device you will need a 'caddy', which is not that expensive.
If the system takes 80GB it should take 120GB; I think even laptops are not that weird. You may have a faulty (120) hard drive. You could try partitioning the 120 with a bootable cd, eg, Gparting(ed).

Old 12-19-2009, 10:34 PM   #4
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I would boot from a live linux CD, such as Knoppix, and partition the hard drive. Then put a file system on it. Then it should work.
Old 12-19-2009, 10:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AwesomeMachine View Post
I would boot from a live linux CD, such as Knoppix, and partition the hard drive. Then put a file system on it. Then it should work.
agreed, if it's unallocated space, there is no partition or filesystem on the drive. gparted or fdisk should take care of that without any problems.
Old 12-20-2009, 06:10 PM   #6
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Still having doubts

Thank you very much for your tips. I really appreciate that. Just please be a little bit more patient with me.

Ok I'll try to be clear.

I bought a 120GB drive for Acer Aspire 1640. It's mainboard supports internal HDD up to 100GB storage place. Then what happened is I wasn't enable to install any Operating System.

This is what I get when I try the command fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 80 GB, 80023749120 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 9327 74919096 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 9328 9729 3221032 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 9328 9729 3221032 82 Linux swap
Warning: Partition 5 does not end on cylinder boundary.
Error: /dev/sdb: unrecognised disk label
Warning: Unable to open /dev/sr0 read-write (Read-only file system). /dev/sr0 has been opened read-only.
Error: /dev/sr0: unrecognised disk label

I tried GParted to format the disc but I got this error:

Error creating file system: helper exited with exit code 1: helper failed with:
mkfs.vfat: failed whilst writing reserved sector

Is there any way to have this disc working?
Old 12-21-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
Fred Caro
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half read

'fdisk -l'

I assume that this is on the 80gb hardrive? Even so there is a mistake on the cylinder allocation on hda5 you have to start from the next cylinder to the last end cylinder of the previous partition. Some good instructions on the IBM website for the LPIC 1 exam but you have to login etc. but I think you have to be using version 6 of the IP address.
As for GParted, never had this problem but it must be recognising something. If you have access to another system and a caddy, plug the hardrive (via the caddy) into the other system and partition using GParted ( look for sdb setting ,top righthand corner on GParted).

fred caro.


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