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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).

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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: ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~rosentha/linux/2.6.26.5/docs/ioctl/hdio.txt -- Here's the actual implementation (line 30): cs.fsu.edu/~baker/devices/lxr/http/source/linux/block/ioctl.c -- Here's the structure of a block_dev (look under bd_claim): softwarerevolution.com/jeneral/file-system/fs/block_dev.c/… –  Huckle Feb 18 '12 at 16:08
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2 Answers

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

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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.

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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
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