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Date:      Sat, 07 Aug 1999 09:58:06 -0700
From:      Kent Stewart <>
To:        Roby Sadeli <>
Cc:        freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   Re: IDE secondary controller ....
Message-ID:  <>
References:  <000201bee0ac$5e9e9340$>

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Roby Sadeli wrote:
> >IF so, is the CDROM the master because
> >that seems to make a lot of difference.
> why does it make a lot of difference? pls explain or if u bother explaining,
> pls point me to URLs about this one. im a newbie in freebsd and hardware
> stuff.

That looks like my reply but you pulled a newbie and didn't copy the
original author. You always copy everyone and you always CC the list.
Your chance of getting a newbie that just fought their way through a
similar problem is quite high and their way may work but there could
be a more desireable way to do things.

Search the archives on FreeBSD-Questions at

What I have seen on FreeBSD-questions over the last six months is the

1. Some systems require CDROM to be active in the computer BIOS and
some don't. You have to have the CDROM live on FreeBSD, which means it
is in the BIOS. Remember that there are BIOSes out there where CDROM
is not an option. A good place for an older system that is too slow
for modern window'ed environments is command line driven systems such
as FreeBSD. They work very well at doing things like gateway's and
etc. It depends on how detection works and this is almost an
individual motherboard thing. You are presented with choices and if
one works great, if it doesn't you try the next thing.

2. Detection of the CDROM is handled differently by the systems. Some
systems permitted the CDROM to be improperly installed as a secondary
slave. If there is no other device on the controller, then, by
definition, it is the master device. When confusion reigns, weird
things can happen and most often do.

3. New systems default out of the box with the secondary IDE
controller turned off. You have to activate it in the BIOS. For
example, if the system posts a message, which you can see with "dmesg
| more", that wdc1 was not found at 0x170, you most likely haven't
turned on the secondary IDE controller. You don't tell someone with an
IDE controller in an ISA or VLB slot on a 486 based system to activate
their secondary IDE controller. They wouldn't know what you were
talking about.

4. When you introduce a strange device into the system, some OS'es
seem to deal with it better as the master on its own controller. I
have some older systems that you can mix sizes of memory. On one of
the systems it doesn't matter if the larger memory is located first in
the memory banks or not. The other system requires that the smaller
memory come first. This is weird thing for that system. You have to
RTFM for that motherboard because it isn't a question for an OS list.
You also have to remember that the OS list may be where you find the
answer because that old box has made it into being a FreeBSD system
and someone has recently encountered the problem.

I can't think of anything else right now.


> thanks for your answers,
> roby
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Kent Stewart
Richland, WA

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