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I got two HGST 4TB HDD's for my birthday and I'm trying to put them in my media center which already has a 128GB SSD and a 2TB HDD. The motherboard is an ASRoxk E350M1 which only has 4 SATA headers so I'm unplugging my DVD-ROM while I test and load the new disks, and I'll be passing my 2TB drive along to my wife.

The problem is, with all four hard drives plugged in, Ubuntu never boots. I get the BIOS, which recognizes all four drives and selects the right one as the boot drive, but GRUB never loads. I have tried several different configurations of ports, cables and drives, and it will boot with any three drives (provided one is the SSD with the boot partition). It will even boot with any three drives and the DVD-ROM, so it is not any one drive, and it is not any SATA port or power cable, but specifically the combination of all four drives.

Now, I'm going to be taking a drive out, so I can do the Tower of Hanoi shuffle and get everything the way I wanted, but does anyone have any ideas what could cause this?

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    That's weird; ghosts? Is it a UEFI machine? If so, do any of the other drives have EFI System Partitions, or fat32 partitions using the boot flag? I'm grasping at straws, but it's all I can think of.
    – Robin Hood
    Oct 10, 2014 at 5:46

2 Answers 2

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You could try using a live Ubuntu USB stick to boot from and then run Ubuntu Boot Repair (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair). I had a similar problem, and ended up either fixing it with Ubuntu Boot Repair, or make sure the boot disk is the first one seen by the BIOS. You can see this in the BOOT messages of the BIOS when it searches for disks. Then use Ubuntu Boot Repair and make it fix the GRUB installation on /dev/sda. Usually that does the trick.

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I could suppose that the added disk has a phisical number lower than some other significant disk.

Make sure that the book disk is seen as sda, and (chrooting from a live cd) reinstall grub.

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