Install Linux on Serial ATA (SATA) drives

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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.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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