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Would any one have any suggestions on how to ascertain the type of disk (ide, sata, scsi) used in a Linux (ubuntu) computer with out opening the case?

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You can run hdparm -i <hdd> and smartctl -a <hdd> to gather information about your drive.

If you are still uncertain, you can google the hdd model name (which you can find out with either of the two commands) which will give you the information you need.

Other suggestions can be found here.

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You also can see it on /var/log/syslog where starting system log is saved.

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