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I add a new hard disk and nothing boots.


Other titles for this same problem.

After adding a new hard disk I get some grub errors that I did not have before.


Usually adding a new hard disk to a single hard disk should not cause any problem. However some bioses might setup this new hard disk as the first hard disk in the boot order. Please check: Grub Hard Disk Order for more details. If the new hard disk does not have any boot code (i.e. no OS was installed in it) the bios might try to boot it and after failing try to boot your second hard disk (your formerly single hard disk) but the BIOS will present your formerly single hard disk as "the second hard disk in the boot order" instead of "the first hard disk in the boot order", which was what happened when it was alone.

This article tries to solve this problem in both the easy way (tweaking the hard disk boot order in the bios) and the difficult way (readapting grub's menu.lst and reinstalling grub to the right hard disk).

Easy solution

The idea is that BIOS should set up your former single hard disk as the first hard disk in the boot order. In order to do so.

  • Turn on your computer (Or reboot it)
  • When asked to press a key to enter the bios press it.
  • Enter your BIOS password if it is asked.
  • Go to Advanced BIOS settings (or another BIOS name)
  • Search Boot Order option.
  • Search Hard Disk Boot Order
  • Move your former single hard disk to the top of the list
  • Press the BIOS key used for doing "Save Settings & Exit Bios"

After doing it system should boot as always but you will have another hard disk for you.

Physical solution

If you cannot tweak your hard disk boot order settings in your BIOS and you do not want to mess with the grub solution you have another choice. You can open your computer and swap your hard disks so that the first one is the second one and viceversa. This solution is not universal.

In some systems SATA and IDE drives are together and cannot be swapped.

In some IDE systems you can swap the IDE drives but you have to make sure that the jumpers for each one of the hard disks are well set up. Depending on the jumpers the system might not boot all!

Grub solution

If you have added a new hard disk that has changed the bios hard disk boot order settings and none of the former solutions do not work for you here there is the Grub solution.

This example will cover the easiest situation. You have only one hard disk and you decide to another one. Nothing boots. If you unplug the new drive everything works fine (but without the new drive).

You need to edit your menu.lst so that all references to hd0 become into hd1 references.

In order to edit menu.lst without a live cd please Fix your Grub so that it is installed into the first hard disk MBR (no problem about installing GRUB's stage1 into your new hard disk).

Once all the hd0 become hd1 you will be able to boot into Linux.


And what about windows? In the current example if you had Windows in the single hard disk (the first one) after adding the new hard disk Windows becomes a Second Hard Disk Windows you just have to edit your menu.lst from your Linux system to boot a second hard disk Windows.

Can anyone confirm this?

I suspect, but I am not very sure that you will have to edit your Windows boot.ini (or vista equivalent) so that new Windows location is taken into account.

So that:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect


[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

External resources


Onederer and their two hard disks nightmare