[nSLUG] booting from 320 GB IDE PATA disk

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Sat Jun 28 21:28:19 ADT 2008

The status quo was an assortment of 40, 120 and 160 GB
IDE PATA drives attached to Promise Ultra 133TX controllers
on a Pentium II/III generation BX chipset machine.  I was
able to boot with grub from a 120GB disk having a small /boot partition
and Linux software raid.  I've had this set up for years, starting
with a collection of 20 GB and 40GB, and as storage needs
grow, I upgrade disks.

I recently decided to switch to a pair of 320GB drives rather than
running 5 drives, and perhaps save on power bill a little too.
I booted in single user mode and used find piped to cpio to
copy each partition to the new md devices.  I chrooted
to the new root system and ran grub - the usual sequence of

device (hd0) /dev/hde
root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)

Grub shows it is successful finding the stages and so on.

On booting, both 320GB drives are visible to the Promise controller,
and then the motherboard shows it will boot from a SCSI
device (as usual for PCI controller) and nothing else happens.
I don't get a "GRUB" or a "GR" or nada.  I've been through
the routine a few times in case I had made a typo or
missed a step, using the rescue mode of Debian 4.0,
chroot to my mounted new mdadm device and run
grub or grub-install again from within there.  Indications
from grub setup is that things went well.  On boot, I still get
no hint there is a boot loader, nor do I get a message
from the BIOS that there was no OS to load.

I makes me think there is a size limitation going on with the BIOS
or something like it.  One other little change is that I used to
have a dedicated /boot partion of a few megs in size, and now
I just have a root partition with /boot on it, which is 9 GB in size.

I'm not getting as far as seeing the kernel, so I don't think it
matters what version of that I'm running, but it is 2.6.18 something.

The rescue disk can see the whole size of the disk OK, but I'm not
sure if the Promise BIOS could be getting into trouble.
I'm running the latest firmware for the Promise controller.

Has anyone seen anything like this before?

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