Most Unix systems, and Linux being one of them, use a configuration file called fstab to specify where the various disk drives are to appear on the system. Here’s an excerpt from one of mine:
/dev/hda7 / ext3 defaults 1 1 /dev/hda1 /boot ext3 defaults 1 2
The first column specifies the device name. In this case, /dev/hda is the first hard disk, and it has (amongst others) partitions 1 and 7.
More recently, however, it has been possible to label partitions. So instead
of the above, you might have:
LABEL=/ / ext3 defaults 1 1 LABEL=BOOT /boot ext3 defaults 1 2
This seems like a good idea until you have to add in a hard drive, as I did recently. If both drives use the ‘LABEL=BOOT’ syntax, the system gets confused as to which drive to boot from, and hangs.
I’ve changed all my systems back to use the older, more cryptic ‘/dev/hd??’ method. I don’t intend to swap drives in and out, but at least this way, I’m ready if I have to.