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

So I'm migrating back to Ubuntu after a long struggle with Windows specific applications for my college work. My problem is, I now have two hard drives in my laptop, an SSD and a mechanical one. I plan to install Ubuntu on my SSD (not dual boot with Windows) while my mechanical HDD would serve as a backup storage for my residual files from my Windows.

Can my mechanical HDD then be accessible when I go into Ubuntu after the install? Or do I need to change the filesystem and what not?

share|improve this question
Ubuntu can read and write to Windows file systems (NTFS, FAT32, etc.) so you shouldn't have any problems. – user68186 Mar 18 '14 at 15:00

You will likely have to set the BIOS and possibly jumpers on the mechanical hard drive to be a slave drive versus the primary drive. Your Ubuntu SSD Drive should be set to be the primary, but yes all of this is able to be accomplished. The manufacturer of the hard drives should have Support online that specifies how to accomplish the change to make the drive a primary or a slave.

Once this has been done successfully, Ubuntu should recognise the older drive and allow the drive to be seen if you manually partition your drive during setup and provide a mount point for the other drive. However, until the master(primary)/slave relationship is established in the hardware appropriately, then the system may not boot as desired (two masters in system can not co-exist).

If you run into trouble, consult the drive manufacturer's website as they usually can provide the information on configuring the device as a slave.

share|improve this answer
As far as I know SATA drives don't have any Master and Slaves. There is no jumpers to set. All you can do is set the boot priority in the BIOS/UEFI. – user68186 Mar 18 '14 at 15:34
Never one to assume what hardware people have these days. Never certain until they spell it out. Agree not necessary in that case, but also do not know what they have in the system (wish these would be more specific in posts). – freecode Mar 19 '14 at 13:49
I agree on the general principle of not assuming what hardware one has. I didn't know one could get PATA SSDs these days. You may want to edit your answer to include both PATA and SATA drives. Cheers. – user68186 Mar 19 '14 at 14:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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