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GRobLewis
1 Copper

Boot SATA drive on Dimension 4600i

I've installed a 500GB SATA drive in my Dimension 4600i, next to the original 40GB PATA drive. I know the new drive is readable by the system. 

The PATA drive is connected as Master, and I've connected the new drive to motherboard SATA port 1 (not port 0) because I read somewhere that the system can get confused about booting when both PATA and SATA drives are connected (true?). 

I can't seem to make the system boot the SATA drive, though. In fact, I'm not even sure the BIOS is capable of doing this. Have I missed something? 

And is my connection scheme (PATA as Master, SATA to port 1) reasonable? Should I perhaps reverse this configuration (PATA as Slave, SATA to port 0)? 

Any tips appreciated. 

Extra credit: any tips on getting a bootloader to work so I could choose which of the SATA partitions to boot from. I'd like to have both Windows and Linux available. 

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3 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: Boot SATA drive on Dimension 4600i

The BIOS of the Dimension 4600 insists on using the SATA drive in the first SATA port (specified as SATA 0 in the BIOS, I believe) as the system drive.  You need to install your operating system first with your SATA drive being the only hard drive in the system.  The Dell documents on some computers of that vintage specify that the computer supports PATA or SATA but not both at the same time.  From the posts I've seen over the years, however, I think you can install a PATA drive as a secondary once you have the SATA drive up and running as the system drive.

The Dimension 4600 uses a bridge to translate the SATA interface to an IDE equivalent so you will not find SATA drivers for this machine.  A Dell guide to installing Windows is located here (use the third option):  Restoring or Reinstalling Windows on a Dell.

Dell Forum member since 2005

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skstrobel
1 Copper

Re: Boot SATA drive on Dimension 4600i

I just reinstalled Windows XP on a Dimension 4600i that (now) has a SATA hard disk and DVD drive and an IDE CD drive.  I was unable to boot from the CD drive until I disabled the SATA DVD drive in the BIOS.  Selecting the IDE CD drive to boot from would either fail completely or boot from the SATA hard disk (depending on whether the disk was accessible).

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8 Krypton

Re: Boot SATA drive on Dimension 4600i

Any tips appreciated. 

Extra credit: any tips on getting a bootloader to work so I could choose which of the SATA partitions to boot from. I'd like to have both Windows and Linux available. 

Ubuntu will automatically set up a bootloader, and it installs most drivers automatically. Fedora did the same thing.

I'd suggest disabling the PATA drive and then attempting a boot from the SATA drive.

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