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I switched in my BIOS (on an old Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H, rev. 1.1, Bios F1) the SATA settings from "Native IDE" to "AHCI" and was surprised that GRUB2 was not able to boot my kernel anymore. It stated:

Cannot read the Linux header

I was running the latest Natty kernel 2.6.38-11 / 32bit PAE.

Guessing a problem with GRUB2 and AHCI I was much more confused as I was able to load older kernel version including 2.6.38-9, but not -10 anymore. So I dumped -10 and -11 and re-installed kernel 2.6.38-11 (generic and pae) with the same result but a different error message (could not load file). Changing the SATA settings back to "Native IDE" mode, everything works OK.

Anyone observed this too and has any suggestions?

The reason I want to run in AHCI is because I want to install a SSD drive in near future, running it in AHCI for better performance and as suggested by the vendor (OCZ).

Edit:

here's a part of my grub.cfg. Config for Kernel 2.6.38-11, not running:

 menuentry 'Ubuntu, mit Linux 2.6.38-11-generic-pae' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
    recordfail
    set gfxpayload=$linux_gfx_mode
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 14611dce-f4ab-498d-b1a1-609ed9f17da2
    linux   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.38-11-generic-pae root=UUID=14611dce-f4ab-498d-b1a1-609ed9f17da2 ro   quiet splash vt.handoff=7
    initrd  /boot/initrd.img-2.6.38-11-generic-pae
 }

Running 2.6.38-9 configuration:

 menuentry 'Ubuntu, mit Linux 2.6.38-9-generic-pae' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
    recordfail
    set gfxpayload=$linux_gfx_mode
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 14611dce-f4ab-498d-b1a1-609ed9f17da2
    linux   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.38-9-generic-pae root=UUID=14611dce-f4ab-498d-b1a1-609ed9f17da2 ro   quiet splash vt.handoff=7
    initrd  /boot/initrd.img-2.6.38-9-generic-pae
 }

Maybe I'm blind but I don't see any difference in the important parts.

Here the blkid output:

 halil@KlingonWarrior:~$ sudo blkid -c /dev/null
 /dev/sda1: UUID="14611dce-f4ab-498d-b1a1-609ed9f17da2" TYPE="ext4" 
 /dev/sda5: UUID="14ebd487-ff28-4678-831b-d94dd9df4f60" TYPE="swap" 
 /dev/sdb1: LABEL="HOMETREK" UUID="B044B71044B6D7F4" TYPE="ntfs" 

And, as written, both configurations run in "Native IDE" mode.

BTW, the Re-Intstall of the -11 kernel was done in AHCI mode.

EDIT2:

Ok, here the fdisk output:

 halil@KlingonWarrior:~$ sudo fdisk -lu

 Platte /dev/sda: 163.9 GByte, 163928604672 Byte
 255 Köpfe, 63 Sektoren/Spur, 19929 Zylinder, zusammen 320173056 Sektoren
 Einheiten = Sektoren von 1 × 512 = 512 Bytes
 Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 Disk identifier: 0x477d477c

    Gerät  boot.     Anfang        Ende     Blöcke   Id  System
 /dev/sda1   *          63   308094569   154047253+  83  Linux
 /dev/sda2       308094570   320159384     6032407+   5  Erweiterte
 /dev/sda5       308094633   320159384     6032376   82  Linux Swap / Solaris

 Platte /dev/sdb: 500.1 GByte, 500107862016 Byte
 255 Köpfe, 63 Sektoren/Spur, 60801 Zylinder, zusammen 976773168 Sektoren
 Einheiten = Sektoren von 1 × 512 = 512 Bytes
 Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 Disk identifier: 0x74720d9c

    Gerät  boot.     Anfang        Ende     Blöcke   Id  System
 /dev/sdb1   *          63   976768064   488384001    7  HPFS/NTFS

Sorry 4 the german output.... More info needed?

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2 Answers 2

Just for the records:

I've flashed the mainboard with the latest and greatest BIOS (F4 beta) and now the boot problem has gone.

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First add the output of sudo fdisk -lu to your question. Then try to boot in AHCI mode and when you get to the grub menu, press c to go to the command line. Enter ls -l for a detailed listing of your drives as grub sees them, and add that information as well. Repeat that with the controller in IDE mode and see if there is any difference.

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Done already, there is no difference. As I've stated, I was able to boot into the older Kernel versions. I don't see any difference in the grub.cfg (see above in the edit) –  che--- Aug 15 '11 at 14:48
    
@che---, please add the exact numbers to your question. There still may be something fishy on close inspection. –  psusi Aug 15 '11 at 14:50
    
@che---, how about the ls -l output from the grub prompt? –  psusi Aug 15 '11 at 15:34
    
I've checked this on my Laptop (Dell D830, running 11.04 64b), switched from IDE to AHCI w/o any problem so I assume it's a incompatibility between my MB Controller and the latest Kernels or it's simply a problem in the file system itself. –  che--- Aug 16 '11 at 12:59
    
@che--- that is exactly the wrong conclusion. The kernel is just fine; it is the bios, and therefore grub, that has the problem. That is why I keep asking for the output of ls -l in the grub prompt; to see how big the bios thinks the disk is when in ACHI mode. –  psusi Aug 16 '11 at 20:35
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