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Author Topic: hdd8 becomes hdb8 after computer is fixed--what happened?  (Read 1701 times)
GrannyGeek
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« on: November 05, 2008, 08:22:19 pm »

I had an odd experience today and I wonder if anyone knows why it happened.

My Athlon 64 X2 computer had been having an elusive hardware problem. The computer would suddenly lock up--keyboard and mouse inoperative, picture on monitor didn't change, sound would stay on whatever note was playing when the lockup occurred, only way to shut down was to press the power button. Eventually the computer couldn't get through POST. To troubleshoot, I removed all the RAM but one stick out of four. Didn't solve the problem. I disconnected the DVD writer and PATA hard drive that share a cable. The boot drive is a SATA. I replaced the IDE drive cable with a new one. When these attempts didn't solve the problem, I removed the PCIe video card (Radeon X600) and connected the monitor to the onboard Radeon XPress 200. Still had problems. I thought it might be the motherboard or power supply and before I swapped the PS with a known-good one from my other desktop in order to test, I got the bright idea to unplug the ATX power connector from the motherboard and replug it. I also reseated the RAM. One of those things did it--it's been running for three days now with no lockups. I think what may have happened was that in the process of removing and replugging the video card several times, I may have slightly dislodged the power connector and the adjacent stick of RAM. They were seated enough to allow the computer to start, but would experience a glitch shortly after starting. (This is purely a guess.) When I inserted the video card after doing the replugs and hooked up my monitor, the problem immediately returned and I couldn't boot. I tried another monitor with the same results. When I removed the video card and hooked up a monitor to the onboard VGA port, all was well. So I conclude that either the video card or the PCIe slot is defective.

Anyway, to get to the topic of the post--
    When I tried to boot to VectorLinux 5.9 Standard Deluxe (dual boot with Windows XP) once the computer was working, I got a screenful of 10 10 10 etc. I know that means the Linux partition can't be found, so I used the 5.9 CD to start the boot. For almost a year, 5.9 has been installed on /dev/hdd8. Well, I got a kernel panic with that. I went into the "fix LILO" thing through the CD and found that the VL partition was seen as /dev/hdb8. I managed to su to root and mount /dev/hdb8 on /mnt/target and I was then able to modify /etc/fstab on /mnt/target so that the Linux partition could be found when I booted with the CD.

All has been well since then. My questions:
* Why did the VL partition become /dev/hdb8 instead of /dev/hdd8? Nothing changed in my system configuration--PATA hard drive on the same motherboard connector as before, same boot order, same DVD writer. I don't know why the drive was identified as /dev/hdd when I installed 5.9 almost a year ago. For whatever reason, it's now called /dev/hdb, which seems more logical.

* Do I need to change /hdd to /hdb in any files other than /etc/fstab and /etc/lilo.conf? I use the XP boot loader, so I'll need to use dd to create a new bootsect.lnx file for the root directory of Windows Drive C.

Once I got VL loaded, everything has been working fine. And by the way, I was *very* proud of myself for getting the darn thing booted at all.<g>
--GrannyGeek
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bigpaws
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2008, 10:18:28 pm »

Check your Bios you may find the the drives are recognized in a
different order.

Bigpaws
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The Headacher
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2008, 06:35:38 am »

The change in designation does suggest the drive is now secondary slave instead of primary slave. . . How this may have happened is a mystery to me, only thing I can think of is accidentally connecting to the other cable or connectin the cable to the other IDE thingy on the motherboard. But then again... computers have a way of behaving erratically from time to time... but not all the time, because that would be too predictable Grin.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2008, 07:28:40 pm »

I looked in the BIOS to check how the computer sees the drives. The BIOS has:
First Channel Device 0     Lite-on DVDRW
First Channel Device 1     ST3500630A

Second Channel Device 0     None
Second Channel Device 1     None

Third Channel Device 0     Maxtor 6L100M0

Fourth Channel Device 0     None

Boot order:
1st Boot Device     HD Group     Maxtor
2nd Boot Device    CD-ROM

The first channel has the DVDRW as master and the PATA hard drive as slave. They are on one cable. The third and fourth channels are for SATA drives. The Maxtor is the boot drive. I'm confused about how Linux identifies the drives when SATA and PATA are involved.

I don't think I changed anything from the way the drives were arranged when I got the computer, but that was almost three years ago and my memory may be inaccurate. I did add the PATA hard drive but I didn't install Linux until that drive was in place. The /dev/hdd8 designation was working before I stopped using the computer due to its hardware problems. It sat for three weeks or so before I had time to work on it. I can't explain how the drive got called /hdd in the first place and have no idea why it changed to /hdb after I fixed the computer.

Anyway, the computer has been working fine for five days, I fixed the XP bootmanager so that VL is booting properly, and I'm very glad to have my best computer and fastest VL back in commission.
--GrannyGeek

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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
Joe1962
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2008, 10:17:41 pm »

I haven't used SATA drives on a PC yet (other than in a USB box), though I have used motherboards which support them. I remember there were certain settings on the BIOS setup which would affect which drives were seen first, SATA or PATA, if both were used.
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nightflier
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2008, 12:06:24 pm »

I have noticed that SATA drive designations are not as fixed as IDE ones. When I added SATA drives on a server initially set up to boot from first IDE drive, things moved around and it would not boot. Additionally, later, when a SATA drive died, the ones "below" it moved up to fill in the gap. I solved both problems by changing drive references to use "BY-UUID" instead of the traditional /dev/whatever.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2008, 05:04:55 pm »

I haven't used SATA drives on a PC yet (other than in a USB box), though I have used motherboards which support them. I remember there were certain settings on the BIOS setup which would affect which drives were seen first, SATA or PATA, if both were used.

On this computer you can't change that, as Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4 display in that order, with IDE for Channels 1 and 2 and SATA for 3 and 4. You can change the boot order, however. Within the Hard Drive Group, you can select what hard drive you want for the boot drive. Mine is set to the SATA drive on Channel 3.

It may be that other motherboards offer more choices. This one is an ASUS made for Hewlett Packard and the BIOS offers fewer choices than a non-OEM ASUS. However, even if more choices were available, I never changed anything like that. So the mystery remains (creepy theremin music in background  Wink ).
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
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