Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've installed Ubuntu 11.10 on an external USB (2.0) Hard Drive (/dev/sdb1) but when Ubuntu starts I get a message that says:

ata_id[279]: HDIO_GET_IDENTITY failed for '/dev/sdb': Invalid argument

where I made a mistake? The first HD contains Windows 7 (the official OS of my packard bell notebook).

share|improve this question
Can you boot into recovery mode at all? HDIO_GET_IDENTITY is the kernel's way of implementing the ATA command IDENTIFY DEVICE. It has two possible ways to fail, one is that info isn't available, the other is if the device is being blocked by something (partitioner, etc). – Huckle Feb 18 '12 at 16:05
If you're inclined to read C. Here is the descriptions of the HDIO functions of ioctl: -- Here's the actual implementation (line 30): -- Here's the structure of a block_dev (look under bd_claim):… – Huckle Feb 18 '12 at 16:08

This is a warning from hdparm as it can have problems communicating with external usb hard drives, so you can ignore that warning.

Source: 1, 2

share|improve this answer

I am getting the same error on a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 on an external USB hard disk.

The message is displayed for ~5 sec at boot but ubuntu does boot and run properly after that. I have also noticed some data loss but can't say for certain if its connected to this error.

According to to other help threads on the net this error only appears when Ubuntu is installed on an external USB drive.

share|improve this answer
I have no issues with my external hard disk, which is a Seagate GoFlex 2 TB disk with GPT. – hexafraction Jul 20 '12 at 14:13

protected by Community Sep 11 '12 at 22:45

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.