Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Linux Bug #257790

I never thought I’d say anything like this, but…I may have run afoul of Linux bug #257790, “Kernel does not recognize Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB/s Hard Drive (2nd Generation)”. I recently bought a new 7200 RPM hard drive (guess which model!) for my main desktop system, which had come with an older Seagate 5400 RPM unit as the primary bootable drive. I migrated my Windows XP install over to the new WD drive without any trouble. But when I go to do a clean Linux 9.10 install, the installer does not see the WD drive. It does see the secondary drive in the system, which is a 5400 RPM Seagate 750 GB unit. But the WD? Installer no see.

Interestingly, gparted has no trouble seeing the WD, and even resized the Windows partition there to make room for two additional Linux partitions. However, when I go to install Karmic in the new partition on sda2, the installer doesn’t see the sda device at all…except when I check the button telling the installer partitioner to erase the whole drive and install Linux on the entire thing. Then sda magically appears. At that point, when I re-check the option to install Windows and Linux side by side, the sda device vanishes from the device selection pane at the top of the installer partitioner window.

While sniffing around the Web looking for insights, I ran across Linux Bug #257790, simply because it names the precise model of drive that I just bought. Supposedly, that bug was fixed for the 9.10 Karmic release at the end of October, but evidently the installer still has some reservations about certain WD drives…like the one I now have. I’m tempted to download and install Fedora to see if I get better service, but if any of you Linux gurus have any suggestions I’ll certainly hear them. I do not want to go back to my older (slower) drive, nor do I want to wait for Lucid Lynx (V10.04) due in April. I can’t imagine that this is not a fixable problem. Thoughts?


  1. Eric Brombaugh says:

    Hey Jeff – longtime…

    This sounds familiar – I recently installed a WD3200AAKS drive in my Fedora 11 system. It worked fine for 2 weeks and then disappeared completely. I returned it to Fry’s for another of the same model. It worked for 2 weeks and began to disappear intermittently. I bought a different brand, copied the contents over and shelved the WD. This new drive has worked fine for several months now. I haven’t investigated further, but this bug (which is more than a year old) certainly seems similar.

    1. If I had unlimited time I’d love to know just what the hell it is inside a supposedly standard SATA hard drive that would give a kernel as sophisticated and good as 2.6 trouble. But I have a long list of things I need to do sooner, so I simply went down to CompuXParts and bought a 500 GB Seagate SATA drive. It’s not like they’re a fortune anymore, and I need to get my Linux install available again. I’ll report back here if I have any trouble.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *