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How do i install Linux (e.g. Debian 6 or Ubuntu Server) on my server box with a single 3TB SATA HDD?

  • Server is based on Intel D510MO motherboard.

  • I can install the OS from the USB drive but i can't boot it after the installation. BIOS just says that it couldn't find a suitable device to boot from.

  • I'm installing 64-bit version of OS.

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closed as not a real question by KronoS, terdon, Dave M, Scott, 8088 Apr 8 '13 at 1:32

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did you create a GPT on the hard drive? –  cybernard Apr 7 '13 at 4:51
    
@cybernard, not by myself. I rely on installer auto-partitioning program. Do i need to do it manually? –  Slava Fomin II Apr 7 '13 at 8:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

To use an over-2TiB disk, you've almost certainly created a GUID Partition Table (GPT) on the disk, whether you know it or not. On my one Intel motherboard, though, use of a GPT makes the motherboard try to use Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) boot mode, and until recently, Debian didn't officially support EFI-mode booting. Thus, my guess is that you installed Debian in BIOS mode to a GPT disk, resulting in the error message from the firmware. There are at least two workarounds to this problem:

  • You can use Linux fdisk to set the "active/boot" flag on the type-0xEE partition in the MBR. This will cause the firmware to accept the disk as being bootable in BIOS mode and enable you to boot your existing installation. Note that you must use fdisk for this task; if you use parted or GParted to set the "boot flag," the result will be a change to the type code of whatever GPT partition you select, which is a completely different change -- and an undesirable one!
  • You can create an EFI System Partition (ESP) on the disk and install an EFI-mode boot loader for Linux on it. This is likely to be harder to do than the previous solution, but it might work better on some systems, particularly if yours has any flashy EFI-only features you could use. (I've heard of some Intel boards that can be remotely administered before booting, for instance.) A variant on this approach would be to re-install Debian from scratch, but you'll need to be sure to install in EFI mode. You should be able to control the boot mode of your installation medium by using the boot device selection tool and select the option for your boot media that includes the string "EFI" or "UEFI."
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Thanks Rod! I'm accepting your answer as a most relevant. –  Slava Fomin II Sep 26 '13 at 19:54

The problem may be as simple as installing the bootloader correctly.

There should be an option during installation that asks you, at the very least, where you want to install the bootloader. To avoid complications, you can simply select to install it to the MBR (master boot record) of your HDD, and it should run normally without problems.

Also, make sure the configuration in your BIOS has booting from SATA HDD enabled. Double checking is always good.

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Hardware

If you are using that 3TB disk on a 64 bit system (OS and hardware) installing any operating system should be straight forward.

Installing and using your disk with a 32 bit system can be troublesome.

If you are installing your 3TB hard drive on a system that is 32 bit and not 64 bit you will get in trouble with anything bigger than about 2.2TB since you can not address more than that. (2^32) * 512 is the maximum where 2 is for binary, 32 is the number of bits your system can address and 512 being the sector size (bits per sector). I have seen newer hard drives having bigger sectors, in which case you can install larger disks than 2.2TB.

The documentation you refer to says 64 bit, so if you make sure that you install a 64 bit operating system as well, this should be pretty straight forward.

Installation

Debian

If you choose to install Debian, then partitioning your hard drive will be the one of the "hardest" parts of the installation. If you're going to run this machine in a production environment you can tell Debian to partition your set up automatically and then do changes that fit your needs.

Ubuntu

I have not installed the Ubuntu server edition in a while but I suspect, since Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian, the installation process will be is pretty similar.

Hope this helps. Cheers.

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Thanks @Mogget for an extended answer. I do install 64-bit version of the operating system and i rely on auto-partitioning program. I just can't boot the OS after the installation. Maybe it's somehow related to GPT and UEFI? I'm kinda new to this technology. –  Slava Fomin II Apr 7 '13 at 9:00
    
The bit size of the CPU (32- vs. 64-) or of the OS has nothing to do with the ability to use an over-2TiB disk. Such disks require the GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioning system to take full advantage of their size, but both GPT and over-2TiB disks are accessible from 32-bit OSes. (GPT uses 64-bit pointers, but a 32-bit CPU or OS just allocates two 32-bit numbers and uses more complex algorithms to process the numbers.) –  Rod Smith Apr 7 '13 at 17:43

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