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  1. #1
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    Linux installer doesn't see hard drive or partitions

    I am running Windows 7 64 bit on a MAR desktop (microsoft approved refurbisher) or something like that. I have also repartitioned the hard drive and have installed two linux distros.

    I have tried to install several other Linux distros but they don't see the hard drive or partitions when I get to the page where I am supposed to choose where to install the distro.

    I have done internet searches and posted this problem on a couple other forums but so far I haven't found anything that might be a reason for this.

    The two that I have installed are PCLOS and Sparky Linux. I haven't kept a list of those that don't see the hard drive but they include Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, and several others.

    I am just searching for ideas as to what might cause the problem. I have looked at the bios and tinkered with it a little but am less than comfortable doing stuff to the bios because I could easily cause my desktop to not boot.

    I would be glad to hear any ideas about how the problem might could be solved. Thanks

  2. #2
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    For an OS to "see" a hard disk it needs to have loaded a driver that talks to your hard disk controller correctly. You may have an unusual controller that is not recognised. Are you able to tell us what it is via the Windows Device Manager or "msinfo32"?

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=Paul T;994376]For an OS to "see" a hard disk it needs to have loaded a driver that talks to your hard disk controller correctly. You may have an unusual controller that is not recognised. Are you able to tell us what it is via the Windows Device Manager or "msinfo32"?

    cheers, Paul[/QUOTE]
    Here is the system summary:
    OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
    Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
    Other OS Description Not Available
    OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
    System Name HAROLD-PC
    System Manufacturer Dell Inc.
    System Model OptiPlex 960
    System Type x64-based PC
    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz, 2992 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
    BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. A05, 7/31/2009
    SMBIOS Version 2.5
    Windows Directory C:\Windows
    System Directory C:\Windows\system32
    Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
    Locale United States
    Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7601.17514"
    User Name Harold-PC\Harold
    Time Zone Central Daylight Time
    Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 7.00 GB
    Total Physical Memory 6.84 GB
    Available Physical Memory 4.65 GB
    Total Virtual Memory 13.7 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 11.3 GB
    Page File Space 6.84 GB
    Page File C:\pagefile.sys
    What section is the controller listed in?

  4. #4
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    In msinfo32 it's under the following: Components > Storage > IDE
    Mine looks like this.
    Code:
    Name	Standard SATA AHCI Controller
    Manufacturer	Standard SATA AHCI Controller
    Status	OK
    PNP Device ID	PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C02&SUBSYS_78171462&REV_05\3&11583659&0&FA
    I/O Port	0x0000F0B0-0x0000F0B7
    I/O Port	0x0000F0A0-0x0000F0A3
    I/O Port	0x0000F090-0x0000F097
    I/O Port	0x0000F080-0x0000F083
    I/O Port	0x0000F060-0x0000F07F
    Memory Address	0xF7E1A000-0xF7E1A7FF
    IRQ Channel	IRQ 19
    Driver	c:\windows\system32\drivers\storahci.sys (6.3.9600.16384, 105.34 KB (107,872 bytes), 22/08/2013 12:40)
    cheers, Paul

    p.s. Edit > Select All. Edit > Copy. Paste here.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Paul T;994412]In msinfo32 it's under the following: Components > Storage > IDE

    p.s. Edit > Select All. Edit > Copy. Paste here.[/QUOTE]Here is mine:
    Name Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2E16&SUBSYS_02761028&REV_03\3&172 E68DD&1&1A
    I/O Port 0x0000FE80-0x0000FE87
    I/O Port 0x0000FE90-0x0000FE93
    I/O Port 0x0000FEA0-0x0000FEA7
    I/O Port 0x0000FEB0-0x0000FEB3
    I/O Port 0x0000FEF0-0x0000FEFF
    IRQ Channel IRQ 18
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\pciide.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 12.06 KB (12,352 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 0
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&1A524476&0&0
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 1
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&1A524476&0&1
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A00&SUBSYS_02761028&REV_02\3&172 E68DD&1&FA
    I/O Port 0x0000FE00-0x0000FE07
    I/O Port 0x0000FE10-0x0000FE13
    I/O Port 0x0000FE20-0x0000FE27
    I/O Port 0x0000FE30-0x0000FE33
    I/O Port 0x0000FEC0-0x0000FECF
    I/O Port 0x0000ECA0-0x0000ECAF
    IRQ Channel IRQ 18
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\pciide.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 12.06 KB (12,352 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 0
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&2540752&0&0
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 1
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&2540752&0&1
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A06&SUBSYS_02761028&REV_02\3&172 E68DD&1&FD
    I/O Port 0x0000FE40-0x0000FE47
    I/O Port 0x0000FE50-0x0000FE53
    I/O Port 0x0000FE60-0x0000FE67
    I/O Port 0x0000FE70-0x0000FE73
    I/O Port 0x0000FED0-0x0000FEDF
    I/O Port 0x0000ECB0-0x0000ECBF
    IRQ Channel IRQ 18
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\pciide.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 12.06 KB (12,352 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 0
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&38BBC541&0&0
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Name ATA Channel 1
    Manufacturer (Standard IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers)
    Status OK
    PNP Device ID PCIIDE\IDECHANNEL\4&38BBC541&0&1
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (6.1.7600.16385, 23.56 KB (24,128 bytes), 7/13/2009 6:19 PM)

    Hope this helps.
    Harold

  6. #6
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    Harold, you must get the hang of quoting - don't quote is easier.

    That is a standard Intel 4 port SATA controller so there is no reason for the OS to have a problem with it.
    Do you have a SCSI controller?

    It maybe that the disks are formatted as GPT and can't be seen, but that seems odd. Can you post the info on the disk partitions. Start > Run, diskmgmt.msc, look for the Type column.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
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    Thanks, Paul for trying to help me. I thought that I answered this yesterday but I apparently didn't do something right. Prior to today I was not seeing the reply button, just the 'reply with quote'. Anyway I didn't notice that the quote was not working correctly. My bad.

    Disk management shows that the type is Basic for all the partitions. Drives C, E, & reserved have the file system of NTFS while all the other partitions don't have a file system listed since Windows doesn't recognize any Linux partitons.

    To the right of Disk 0 all the partitions are said to be healthy. That includes C, E, Reserved and all the Linux partions.

  8. #8
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    I wonder if it's because you have used all the space and don't have any free?
    Check this thread to see if it matches your view.

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
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    No, that doesn't match my view. Nothing shows on that page of the installer. I have plenty of unallocated space that can be used. I am uploading a png file on my partitions.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    It may be your collection of logical drives that it doesn't like. The easiest way to confirm it's the disk format and not the controller is to swap another disk in as a test.

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by houndhen View Post
    I am running Windows 7 64 bit on a MAR desktop (microsoft approved refurbisher) or something like that. I have also repartitioned the hard drive and have installed two linux distros.

    I have tried to install several other Linux distros but they don't see the hard drive or partitions when I get to the page where I am supposed to choose where to install the distro.

    I have done internet searches and posted this problem on a couple other forums but so far I haven't found anything that might be a reason for this.

    The two that I have installed are PCLOS and Sparky Linux. I haven't kept a list of those that don't see the hard drive but they include Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, and several others.

    I am just searching for ideas as to what might cause the problem. I have looked at the bios and tinkered with it a little but am less than comfortable doing stuff to the bios because I could easily cause my desktop to not boot.

    I would be glad to hear any ideas about how the problem might could be solved. Thanks
    Hi houndhen,

    Could you boot up either a Linux live CD or one of your existing Linux installations and run the following command as root:

    fdisk -l /dev/sda

    (If specifying "/dev/sda" causes an error, use "/dev/hda", but it should only be the case with really old Linux distributions.)

    thanks,
    Chung

  12. #12
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    THIS LINK is the sort of thing you might search for.

    I have accomplished it several times with different versions and it really is easy, but I recently ran into the inevitable problem of slipping up when trying to perform a dual boot setup, overwriting my drive in the process.

    The thing that matters most is to set up your version of Linux on either a bootable CD or flash drive in advance, and I recommend playing with that a bit so that you are comfortable with the system and know what to expect. In other words, you can run Linux for as long as you like without installing it at all (but it is handy to keep on your keychain). It will run much faster if and when you do install it.

    Two utilities for creating a bootable flash drive are Pendrivelinux and LinuxLive.

    Today (April 9) Windows Secrets Newsletter has a lead article that might have a better answer for your purposes than any of us.

  13. #13
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    If I remember correctly from once upon a time, an OS generally needs to be installed in a primary partition instead of a logical partition.

  14. #14
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    Here is what Chung asked for. Sorry for the delay in answering.

    fdisk -l /dev/sda

    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xb9715f43

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 63 4176899 2088418+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda2 4176900 265538384 130680742+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda3 265538392 349429814 41945711+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda4 349433793 544327679 97446943+ f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5 349433856 377450495 14008320 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda6 * 377452544 408918015 15732736 83 Linux
    /dev/sda7 408918573 433963844 12522636 83 Linux
    /dev/sda8 433963908 516939569 41487831 83 Linux
    /dev/sda9 516941824 544327679 13692928 83 Linux
    Last edited by houndhen; 2015-04-10 at 19:16.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by houndhen View Post
    Here is what Chung asked for. Sorry for the delay in answering.
    It's no problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by houndhen View Post
    fdisk -l /dev/sda
    I put your partition table dump in [CODE] tags to preserve the formatting for easier reading:

    Code:
    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xb9715f43
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *          63     4176899     2088418+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda2         4176900   265538384   130680742+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda3       265538392   349429814    41945711+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda4       349433793   544327679    97446943+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5       349433856   377450495    14008320   82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda6   *   377452544   408918015    15732736   83  Linux
    /dev/sda7       408918573   433963844    12522636   83  Linux
    /dev/sda8       433963908   516939569    41487831   83  Linux
    /dev/sda9       516941824   544327679    13692928   83  Linux
    A few observations about the partition table...

    • Technically, there should only be one partition marked active/bootable at a time. Having more than one can cause problems because the BIOS assumes that there is only one default partition so it's best to avoid it.
    • The extended partition (/dev/sda4) ends at sector 544,327,679 instead of being close to 976,773,168 (for various reasons, it won't always be exactly on the last sector). Unfortunately, this limits the sum of all the logical partitions to ~97GB.
    • It's odd that except for the 1st and 2nd partition, the remaining partitions have unallocated sectors between them.

    I suspect that there are enough errors that the graphical partitioning tools (usually based on GNU Parted) in Ubuntu, Mint and Fedora are deciding that it's too risky to try resizing the existing partitions to make room for more partitions. Disk partitioning is a complicated process so the tools err on the side of caution.

    Options...

    • Many years ago, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and other Linux distributions moved away from mounting partitions based on static device names (e.g. /dev/hda1, /dev/hdb3, /dev/sda1, /dev/sdb1) to referring to partitions based on their file system labels, and then to the current practice of using UUIDs so even if you reordered the partitions they would all still boot just fine. In a nutshell:

      1. Backup the existing logical partitions. (Acronis, Partimage or another cloning tool that supports EXT2, EXT3 and/or EXT4 file systems is ideal.)
      2. Resize the extended partition to include the remainder of the disk.
      3. Restore the Linux installations from backups.

    • Delete the existing extended partition, create a new extended partition that occupies all the free space, reinstall PCLOS and Sparky Linux plus any additional Linux distributions you're interested in.

    A couple of questions...

    • What's the name of the bootloader? (e.g. XOSL, GAG, GRUB, loadlin, Acronis OS Selector, Windows Boot Manager)
    • What partition tool(s) were used to create the current partitions?


    On a related note...

    Based on your interest in trying out many Linux distributions, virtualization (e.g. VirtuaBox - http://virtualbox.org/) might be very useful.

    Unlike multi-boot:

    • There's zero risk of inadvertently making your primary OS unbootable.
    • Provides better isolation between OSes -- it's more difficult for malware to migrate from one virtual machine to another virtual machine.
    • More efficient use of disk space.
    • Many other benefits ...

    Depending on what you use your Windows installation for, it might even be worth considering using Linux as the host OS and set up Windows 7 as a guest OS alongside your other Linux installations. Windows 7 is generally fine as a virtual host, but I've found Linux to be better at handling the extra system load when there are multiple virtual machines running.

    Looking over the system info you posted earlier, you've got more than enough hardware for virtualization. Not all of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors supported hardware-assisted virtualization (aka. "VT-x"). It's not required, but it makes running virtual machines more efficient, especially multiple ones at the same time.

    • In Windows, use CPU-Z to view the supported instruction set. Look for "VT-x" under CPU -> Instructions.
    • In Linux, just run the command "grep vmx /proc/cpuinfo". If it returns nothing, then it's not supported. (For AMD processors, replace "vmx" with "kvm".)

    Chung

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