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When I boot into the live CD, I can see sda. I can partition it with fdisk. But when I start the installer and it gets to the partitioning window, the "Device for boot loader installation" drop down box has only the usb disk (sdb) in it -- not sda. So I can not choose a place to install ubuntu.

What could cause that?

I am building two similar machines. The other one did not have this problem. The only difference is that they have different hard disks.

Update: originally, the drive had a centos install. I ran fdisk only after the installer did not recognize it. I just ran garted and this time I had it recreate the partition table and now the installer sees the drive.

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You may have fdisk'd the drive so that Grub cannot be installed to it. If Ubuntu will be the only thing on that drive, type sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=8 from the Live-CD before starting the installer, and then partition the drive from within the installer. –  izx Jul 1 '12 at 15:54
    
Are you sure you don't have it backwards, and sdb is the hd and sda is the usb flash drive? Normally the installer specifically does NOT show the disk it is being booted from. –  psusi Jul 1 '12 at 19:30

1 Answer 1

It sounds like sdb is the hard drive in this instance. sda is just the first drive it sees, which in this system sounds like the USB stick is detected as a hard drive. Boot the live USB into Try mode, then fire up "Disk Utility" and it will list both disks, see which one the hard drive is. I'd bet it's sdb. Then just fire up the installer from the desktop.

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