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Install Linux on Serial ATA (SATA) drives

Q. How do I install Linux on SATA drives?

A. SATA is a computer bus technology for data transfer from hard disk. Linux does support serial ATA. All you have to do is install drive and boot from Linux installation CD or from existing hard drive. The complete list of supported driver (status report) is here.

Next logical step - create partition and format hard disk using Linux command line utilities.

While installing Linux if you don't see SATA hard drive then go to your BIOS setup. Change the SATA configuration in the BIOS (i.e. legacy ATA mode) so drives are seen as individually, not in RAID setup. In my personal experience, this solves problem 95% times.

You can boot and install Linux and you can setup LVM (and/or Software RAID) for your data partitions.

Other workaround options

  1. Rebuild your installer using kernel 2.4.27 or later, which includes libata, desirable since it adds many new chipsets and gives a (potential, subject to physical read limits, etc.) ~10M/s speed boost to some others compared to the quite slow 2.4.x drivers/ide set.
  2. Temporarily add a regular PATA drive to your system. Install Linux onto that. Fetch or build a kernel with support for your chipset. Migrate your system to the SATA drives.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • marco November 18, 2008, 5:18 pm

    You made a little typo:
    While installing Linux if you don’t see _STAT_ hard drive

  • marco November 18, 2008, 5:19 pm

    While installing Linux if you don’t see _STAT_ hard drive

  • nixCraft November 18, 2008, 5:36 pm


    Thanks for the heads up. The faq has been updated.

  • abhishek pokharna March 26, 2009, 10:45 am

    can i install linux rad hat linux 4.3v in my portable leptop which contain
    sata harddisk if not then what should i do ?
    abhishek pokharna chittiogarh

  • afzal September 15, 2009, 2:54 pm

    Please send to satadriver for linux red hat 5

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