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Booting from External SATA

Posted on 2006-07-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hello

I have an Icybox external case, inside is a ATA 80GB Hard drive, this is connected to my computer using SATA cable to a SATA external port which comes form my motherboard, which has 2 built in external sata ports (nforce 4 A8N-SLI)

I would like to boot from this external drive as I was led to believe that having an external drive SATA as long as its from a SATA external connector will appear to windows as if it was internal which makes perfect sense to me.

When i turn the power on however and boot the machine it just loads my boot loader and i cannot see it.

When i log into windows and click on my computer, and device manager it says unknown devices are RAID & USB device but it says this when the SATA drive isnt plugged in, also says under ATA, i have nforce 4  Serial ATA controller x 2 and then nforce 4 parallel ata controller,

When i boot from a windows disk or run a linux partiton prgram it does not pick up the drive, I am wondering what I am doing wrong and how i should boot/find the SATA device

Thanks alot
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Question by:jamestallert
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17 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17061659
another thought i know SATA doesnt use slave or primary so is it because of this? Do i need to somehow switch which drive to use, switch my other one off and see if the external one then shows up?
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17063787
You will need to provide the driver floppy for your sata or raid controller to which the external drive is attached to when you are installing the OS. For linux which often lacks out of the box support for newer chipsets and sata devices you might have to build a customized kernel.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Yuray
ID: 17064542
check out is you motherboard allow booting from the external USB drive? if it's not there is no chances to boot from this drive.
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17065675
As the RAID COntroller was in device manager as unknown devices and i was advised this was the SATA drive itself or a function to allow it, I clicked update driver and told it to search motherboard driver cd to which it then installed

In storage snap in in the admin settings in control panel it said HD1, red sign saying not initialized and it was 74GB which is defo the external sata drive, so i then booted the machine back up

press ctrl + s to go into RADI config like it always does but below that it said 1: maxtor 6l080l0 74gb at this point i press enter as it always hangs there unless i dont,wqhen i click enter it says no valid device press any key to continue or enter raid config ctrl + s

If i press any key it goes onto the list where it shows all comp devices and then after that goes into windows loading screen however it just hangs at this screen

When i remove the sata drive and reboot I no longer hav e this problem.

If i go into RAID config i have the options  create raid set delete raid set rebuild raid1 set resolve conflicts low level format logical drive info

Below this it shows the physical drive maxtor again 74GB

I dont know what to do as im not trying to set up RAID i will not be using the drives at the same time, In the motherboard cd it has a make silicon bootable floppy for sata drive or something and make nvidia bootable floppy for sata drive,

I assumed it would simply pick the SATA drive up in a partition view and i could install an OS to it from a bootbale CD but I cant boot from a CD when the SATA drive is connected

WHat should i do?

Thanks so much again
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17065796
It depends on your BIOS and controller. If possible try turning off raid completly, as you aren't using the system with raid. SATA controllers can usually be run in different modes, including raid or not raid, and IDE mode. You should find these modes in the BIOS. If you can turn off raid, and also set it to use the sata part in IDE mode, you probably would be able to use the external SATA disk just like you would use an internal one. So check your manual for such options.
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17068615
After low level format on the raid controller options i put in the ubuntu cd went to install it, Got to the partition part and it found the hard drive, I formatted the drive installed UBuntu to it but at the part where it asked about grub boot loader it said it has found ubuntu and windows which was on the primary main HD, i clicked yes which now i believe i shouldnt of.

When loading it said booting from local drive and just hanged there and after turning the drive off it then says grub load error, When i go into BIOS the drive still is not picked up as 2nd SATA master, what should i do, and what did I do wrong?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17069036
THis is my story in full again, Please help :)

Hello, I have an external ICYBOX with a 80gb ATA drive inside, and USB/SATA connection from the icybox, I want to install WIndows and linux to it as a multiboot for testing purposes as a mess about/test OS and also for security reasons.

I already have a 300GB SATA internal drive and as a note my computer specs are as follows:

AMD 4400 64Bit X2 - 2gb ram - nforce 4 a8n-sli Motherboard
WIndows XP and Ubuntu 6.06 are installing on this drive using the GRUB Loader

Now i have an expansion card with 2 SATA connectors and an unknown white connector in the middle, I connect the external drive to one of these, now when I do this I dont see it under windows/linux, when i make the connection USB i see the drive pop up and then say it is installed but I dont see it on the machine.

On device manager I had RAID Controller in unknown hardware and then i clicked update driver and selected motherboard cd, then im not sure if this made it worked but in local storage snap in in control panel it showed the drive and said not initilizaed.




As the RAID COntroller was in device manager was unknown devices and i was advised this was the SATA drive itself or a function to allow it, I clicked update driver and told it to search motherboard driver cd to which it then installed

In storage snap in in the admin settings in control panel it said HD1, red sign saying not initialized and it was 74GB which is defo the external sata drive, so i then booted the machine back up

press ctrl + s to go into RADI config like it always does but below that it said 1: maxtor 6l080l0 74gb at this point i press enter as it always hangs there unless i dont,wqhen i click enter it says no valid device press any key to continue or enter raid config ctrl + s

If i press any key it goes onto the list where it shows all comp devices and then after that goes into windows loading screen however it just hangs at this screen

When i remove the sata drive and reboot I no longer have this problem.

If i go into RAID config i have the options create raid set delete raid set rebuild raid1 set resolve conflicts low level format logical drive info

Below this it shows the physical drive maxtor again 74GB

I dont know what to do as im not trying to set up RAID i will not be using the drives at the same time, In the motherboard cd it has a make silicon bootable floppy for sata drive or something and make nvidia bootable floppy for sata drive,

I assumed it would simply pick the SATA drive up in a partition view and i could install an OS to it from a bootbale CD but I cant boot from a CD when the SATA drive is connected.

After low level format on the raid controller options i put in the ubuntu cd went to install it, Got to the partition part and it found the hard drive, I formatted the drive installed UBuntu to it but at the part where it asked about grub boot loader it said it has found ubuntu and windows which was on the primary main HD, i clicked yes which now i believe i shouldnt of.

When loading it said booting from local drive and just hanged there and after turning the drive off it then says grub load error, When i go into BIOS the drive still is not picked up as 2nd SATA master.

I then reinstalled linux the same way and at the GRUB stage selected HD1 instead to install to not the master boot record, now i can boot into windows and ubuntu on my internal drive but when i actually connect the external it just says booting from local disk and hangs on that

What am i doing wrong?
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17070982
Can you tell us the mainboard manufacturer and model (could be asus but I'm not sure).
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17072070
yes it is ASUS
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17072258
According to the manual you can disable the raid function, then the drive will run in SATA mode. You must make sure the drive is connected to the SATA 1 or SATA 2 connectors and not the SATA 3 or SATA 4 connectors, as the system can only boot from those first 2 connectors.
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17073834
rindi, Are SATA 3 & 4 the external ones though and 1 & 2 the internal? that would make sense, I hope that isnt so as I only want to boot externally, How would i disable RAID then?

Basically what steps exactly should I now follow rindi?

THanks again so much, your a legend :)
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 440 total points
ID: 17073898
No, it doesn't matter if they are external or not. External would be the one you connect the external disk to, but you should be able to decide where you connect the external header to. According to the manual of the board you can boot from sata 1 and 2, but not the others. So just connect your external disk to Sata 1 or 2. You'll probably just need to switch a cable on the board.
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Expert Comment

by:scr5
ID: 17075957
Rindi, NVRAID is disabled i just looked in BIOS, hmm IM not sure how to / which cable to change, and is this definitly the reason it does not boot/detcted in bios?

Man i didnt think this would be this complicated and long winded :S
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17076037
Check the board's manual, page 32 there is a diagram of the board. SATA 1 and 2 are closer to the edge, away from the board's center. Your external disk should be connected to one of these 2 Sata connectors.
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