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Thread: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

  1. #1
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    Oct 2006
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    How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Hello,

    as you can see on this url: http://www.osnews.com/story/22872/Li...or_Hard_Drives

    Linux may have problems with WD hard disks with 4k sectors.

    I would like to install Ubuntu now on a 4k sectors hdd.
    How can I do it?

    Thanks in advance for interest!

    Mario

  2. #2
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    I have searched in forums and it seems that all people recognize the problem but no one give a solution.

    Some people say: "the last version of parted or fdisk uses right parameters, so compile it and use it".

    Sure, but I am installing ubuntu 9.10, I cannot compile fdisk before installing ubuntu.

    With current ubuntu installer what can I do?

    Thanks!

  3. #3
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    Oct 2007
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Yeah, someone telling you "download the source and compile latest version of xxx" is a pretty much unacceptable answer, especially for someone new to Ubuntu. I have been using various kinds of Linux for almost a year, but I still don't have a clue how to compile from source.

    I'm not sure I understand your problem. Are you able to install Ubuntu 9.10 on the Advanced Format drive? Or did you try yet?

    What I've been reading is that you CAN install some operating systems (such as Ubuntu 9.10) on the Advanced Format drives, but the performance is really terrible because they don't deal with the Advanced Format correctly. Western Digital offers a utility called "WD Align" to fix the problems, but it's only for Windows XP/Vista/7.

    Of course that doesn't help you, but it's all I got for now.

  4. #4
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    I can install ubuntu on wd ears hard disk easily and it works.

    But the problem is:

    1) The partitions made by ubuntu are aligned or not? If they are not aligned I lose 2/3 of writing speed.
    2) How can I easy test that I have lost that speed? The wd ears is a new model and it is very fast, faster than my old hdd. I have done some test with bonnie++ without luck.
    3) If I discover that ubuntu 9.10 installation cd partitions it in a bad way where can I find a live cd with updated parted or fdisk? (or another way to do it).

    I think that it is a big problem because in the future all hard disk will have 4k sectors.

  5. #5
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    I've sent some links of the problem. Some describe it and some include examples. Some are better written than others.

    I still am confused as there's so many variables and I'm not used to manually creating partitions. I usually use gparted (the gui) and leave the defaults. But, you can't do that with these drives in Linux yet. Not until the gparted/parted developers alter gparted and how it currently works to support these drives.

    I think you have to choose a different starting sector than 63. It has to be divisable by 8. You can use fdisk to do this or parted. I don't know what the starting sector should be. Some reviwers have chosen 32, 40, 48, 56 and 64. I don't know why there isn't an ideal or 'favored' method or number but that is what is confusing. Some people say you should change the number of heads from 255 to something else as well. 224 has been chosen in some examples. But, why that number?

    Anyway, check out the links and see what you think.

  6. #6
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Thanks for the links. Infact I have read some of them.
    I have discovered one big problem infact: I partitioned the disk with fdisk putting first sector 64 then 63. Compared results and they were similar. Then I used 224 heads as parameter to fdisk and I discovered that even the partition that I supposed that was starting at 64 now starts at 63.

    So I am very confused.

    Thanks for help!

  7. #7
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Some of those articles talks about how the hardware 'lies' to the partition programs. If you try 'fdisk -l', it should show what sector it starts at? It should be a multiple of 8. If it shows 64, that should be okay.

    If I had one of those drives and wanted to use a partition program in Linux (for e.g. GParted, System Rescue CD, Parted Magic, QtParted etc. etc.), I would read up on the various options in parted and fdisk. I think you might want to manually set the partition options and then use some commands to align the partitions. I would do this and run the commands in the examples of those articles to CHECK whether it's really aligned or not.

    I think WD just figured they want to release these drives without really caring whether you have to do anything in Linux or they REALLY REALLY underestimated what happens when you partition these in Linux. Translation: they WEREN'T tested in Linux, only Windows.

    There are drive/disk experts in those articles but I wish there were more detailed examples instead of just discussing the problems. Also, much of it applies specifically to SSD drives but what about Advanced Format drives, right?

    Also, try 'fdisk -l -u' and/or try the command for changing the unit to sectors. The starting and end sectors should be multiples of eight so if it still shows starting at 63, it's probably not aligned.

  8. #8
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Quote Originally Posted by SeePU View Post
    Some of those articles talks about how the hardware 'lies' to the partition programs. If you try 'fdisk -l', it should show what sector it starts at? It should be a multiple of 8. If it shows 64, that should be okay.

    Also, try 'fdisk -l -u' and/or try the command for changing the unit to sectors. The starting and end sectors should be multiples of eight so if it still shows starting at 63, it's probably not aligned.
    Infact the problem is this! I set with fdisk the start of a partition as a multiple of 8. Then I change unit or number of heads, I check again the partition and I discover it starts from 63 (head? sectors? whatelse??)

    I am VERY confused...

  9. #9
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    Quote Originally Posted by mgiammarco View Post
    Infact the problem is this! I set with fdisk the start of a partition as a multiple of 8. Then I change unit or number of heads, I check again the partition and I discover it starts from 63 (head? sectors? whatelse??)

    I am VERY confused...
    Can you post the output of 'fdisk -l -u' and if possible, what commands you used to set what the starting sector to be? Basically, post what you did if it's not too much trouble?

    I'm curious and maybe I can spot something.

    I am considring one of these drives and would like to know what to do already.

  10. #10
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: How to install ubuntu on WD EARS 4k hard disk

    A way of making sure everything is done the right way when installing to a EARS drive, is to download the alternate boot CD. When you get to the "partition drive" menu, press alt-f2, enter and use fdisk from the terminal. Type x in fdisk to enter expert mode, like someone else mentioned earlier, setup the partitions according to the guidelines in this thread (start every partition on a sector which is a power of 8), write the changes, press alt-f1, select manual, and just specify mount points for your new partitions.

    I don't really have time to test how the installer works with this kind of drives, but while i was fiddling around with a RAID 5 setup on three of these yesterday, i noticed some weird performance changes from time to time, seemingly dependent on the version of fdisk being used. But i'm not sure about this, because it wasn't really what i was looking for. Now i will definitely look into this and make sure the partitions are made the right way.

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