jueves, mayo 22, 2008

Problems Installing Debian Etch on a DELL Optiplex 320 computer with SATA Hard Drive

Versión en Español

Some time ago, my friend Cesar, was trying to install Debian Etch in his new computer, a DELL Optiplex 320, but the Debian installer said:

"Can't detect any disc drive. You can select the driver from the list if you know the name of the one you need for your hard drive".

The hard drive into his computer is a SATA hd, I had already heard that some old Linux versions can't detect these kind of discs, but I never thought that Debian Etch (the actual stable version of Debian) would also have this problem.

We didn't know what to do, by this reason I asked in some Debian users mailing lists, I wrote something like:


I have a problem installing debian etch 4 r0, in a DELL computer with a SATA hard disk, the installer don't recognize the hard disc, may someone help me?.

Someone has had a similar experience?

Thank you."

The answer that solved our problem came from:

Marcelo - marcelo.magallon at gmail.com

He said:

"Optiplex 320. Several people have reported problems with this machine. The solution seems to use the option pci=nomsi in instalation screen, I mean, when installer start instead of press Return button, write this:

install pci=nomsi

Then, when installer say you that it will install the "GRUB" in the master boot record (MBR), you should get back (to do it you must select "back" option) and you must to choose "LILO" instead of "GRUB". This is because GRUB seems to have problems with this kind of machine."

Others good answers were:

Israel - neflyte49 at gmail.com

Simple: go to BIOS and set it in PATA+SATA mode or LEGACY mode.

Luis Roberto Castro Silva - rcswrc at gmail.com

I have seen that in some computers, you must to change in BIOS the way how it see the hard disks, beacause it implemented AHCI for Windows Vista, so that you must change it from AHCI to SATA.

Walter Pérez Aráuz - walternrg4u at gmail.com

May be it help you:



Rodrigo Castro - rodrigo.b.castro at gmail.com

I had similar problems with some Dell machines, I have no near the machines now, to tell you step by step how I solved the problem.

I remember I went to the BIOS, then in the section about HDD DATA I used OLD DATA CONTROLLER.

Curiously, using both Ubuntu and Mandriva I didn't get this problem.


Zenón Monge - zmonge at gmail.com

I don't know if the DEBIAN installer contains any kernel with SCSI support, that is the way how Linux recognize the SATA discs.

Here http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch05s01.html.en you will find how to check the start options and there should be listed the option to start with SCSI devices support.
Zenón Monge

Eric de la Goublaye de Menorval - menorval at gmail.com

Why you don't test with the lasted DEBIAN version? --> Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r3


And I get some comics answer too, like this:

Richard Mena - rmendoza85 at gmail.com

Man, You should install SUSE!
SUSE support SATA discs jejeje...

At the end of the thread someone said:

Rodrigo Castro - rodrigo.b.castro at gmail.com

Denis sent the question to multiples lists, and seem that in one he got an answer and he fixed his problem:

> Thanks to all, with the instruction
> install pci=nomsi (with LILO)
> it works perfectly! Thanks!

Denis Torres - denisjtorresg at gmail.com

Yes, indeed, Rodrigo, that instruction is the one that work, but is good to learn what other experiences have got others colleagues in this mailing list, thanks to all!

I have no doubt that the DEBIAN community (in any place around the world) is very active and experienced, that is the reason why I don't choose other linux distro!

In fact I am registered in many linux mailing lists, I like to learn from the share experience from others!

Regards from Nicaragua!

Personal conclusion:

This article, more than explain how to "Install Debian Etch on a DELL Optiplex 320 computer with SATA Hard Drive", I am trying to show, that be part of LUG mailing lists, is so beneficial because a lot of experienced people get join to give a full support to every one who has doubts or problems.

Thanks to all friends from:

* Debian users group from Nicaragua:
** debian-ni@googlegroups.com
* Debian users group from Costa Rica:
** debian-user-cr@cr.debian.net
* Debian users group from El Salvador:
** debian-sv@lists.debian.org.sv
* Linux users group from Nicaragua:
** gul-nic@linux.org.ni
* Free Software Network from Costa Rica:
** csl-tec@softwarelibrecr.org
* Linux users group from Costa Rica:
** gulcr@listas.linux.or.cr

Please excuse my english, english is not my first language, but I'm learning.

2 comentarios:

  1. hello,
    what is defference installing using "install pci=nomsi" with ordinary instalation ?


  2. nomsi means:

    To Disable Message Signal Interrupts.

    You can read here for more information: