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Re: Debian Sarge on SATA

I'm new to the list and fairly new to Debian. I recently bought myself a new PC (HP Pavilion a1320n) with a SATA drive. I know, that there is an issue with the 2.4 kernel and I know that it is supposed to work with the 2.6 kernel. For some reason I can't get it to work, though. As soon as the installer tries to locate the HDD it fails with an error message. I also tried to change the BIOS settings, as some articles recommended, from "Normal" to "Combined" (SATA/PATA) - however my BIOS does not have any settings I could change (concerning the SATA drive). Some other linux distribution ("PC rescue CDs") were able to detect and display the SATA drive.

  I'm going to take a shot at this, though I'm no expert or guru.

I have a Dell Pavilion 8400 from last year, and it shipped with a SATA150 drive. I was also not able to install Sarge until I altered my BIOS settings from SATA/AHCI mode to UltraATA-emulation mode. It sounds like your BIOS doesn't allow that, though I'm a bit surprised if that's true. (No offense.)

  There are two possibilities that I know of:

1) I read in different places about conflicts between CD drivers and SATA drivers on the Sarge installation CDs. One link actually provided instructions about temporarily removing a module until the hard drive was partitioned, then restoring it. The Sarge installer documentation also mentions a slightly reminiscent problem:

	SATA driver can block access to CD drive in installations
	from CD.  On systems having a SATA IDE controller that also
	has the CD drive connected to it, you may see the installer
	hanging during hardware detection for the CD drive or failing
	to read the CD just afterwards. A possible reason is that the
	SATA driver (ata_piix and maybe others) is blocking access to
	the CD drive.

	You can try to work around this by booting the installer in
	expert mode and, in the "Detect and mount CD-ROM" step,
	selecting only the drivers needed for CD support. These are
	(ide-)generic, ide-cd and isofs.

	The drivers needed to access the disk will still be loaded,
	but at a later stage. By loading the CD drivers before the
	SATA driver in this way, you may be able to complete the
	installation. Note that CD-ROM access may still be an issue
	after rebooting into the installed system.


On the other hand, it's very possible that the kernel on the Sarge installer CD simply doesn't have support for your hardware. I actually was unable to install Sarge onto my older Pentium 3 machine because I was using a PCI controller that would allow me to use larger hard drives that my motherboard's controller could handle. The crazy thing was that, even though the kernel on the CD couldn't recognize the controller, when I installed Debian to a drive on the motherboard controller the kernel _did_ recognize the PCI controller. I had to move everything from the old hard drive to the new one.

2) If the Sarge CD can't do it, then you can try a recent Etch CD, which has a newer kernel and is far more likely to recognize your hardware. They've even got the Etch installers to work now! ;) (For a long time, if you burned an Etch netinstall CD and tried to use it, it just wouldn't work -- not without massive user intervention, anyway.)

Dave W.

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