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Is there a tool for Ubuntu that will detect whether I have a SATA or a PATA hard drive interface, even if there's no hard drive inserted?

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Drive bays usually don't have an interface. Are you talking about a backplane? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 18 '10 at 20:21
I edited it up to make a little more sense (hopefully). ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 18 '10 at 20:33
up vote 3 down vote accepted
sudo lshw -C storage

should display all storage controllers you have

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lspci will list what PCI/AGP/PCI Express devices your system has. One of them is bound to be a storage controller.

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mount displays what block device stores the filesystem.

PATA harddisks end up in /dev/hd* SATA harddisks end up in /dev/sd*

If you do something fancy with RAID it might be different.

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PATA hasn't been hdX since the introduction of libata. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 19 '10 at 1:58

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