Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Just because it's not supported doesn't mean it won't work.

Having decided to take the plunge and purchase a CD writer for my computer, I realized I didn't know the first thing about CDRW drives and Linux. So I asked around, read the CD-Writing HOWTO, checked out the cdrecord FAQ about which drives are supported in version 1.9 and read Andy McFadden's CD-Recordable FAQ. Additionally, I did a Google search for information about CD writing and Linux. All this was quite elucidating, and I quickly made a list of manufacturers whose products I would be willing to purchase: Phillips, Sony, Yamaha, Plextor and HP. I also gathered from my research several key points that would determine the endeavor's success or failure:

  1. The Linux system must have SCSI support, which could mean you have to recompile the kernel.

  2. The system must have IDE-SCSI emulation support; again, you may have to recompile the kernel.

  3. There will have to be some modification to grub/lilo and modules.conf (see Listings 1 and 2 at end of article).

I made careful notes on these points and did some research on my system (Red Hat 7.3 with a stock 2.4.18-3 kernel). I learned that the default RH 7.3 kernel included all the things I needed, no recompiling necessary. With that, I began to narrow my drive selection.

After going to my local Best Buy and Circuit City and checking out a few on-line retailers, such as, I narrowed my list down to Sony and chose the model CRX195A1. I chose this model because it was relatively new, cheap ($69.99 after a $20 mail-in rebate) and fast (40x12x48). However, this model wasn't listed as supported by anything in Linux. That gave me a moment's pause, but an earlier model (the CRX145) WAS listed in Andy's FAQ, so I felt reasonably sure I'd be okay. Still, I'm a worry wart and I wanted some assurance. So I surfed on over to Sony's support site and tried their Live Help feature (it allows you to chat on-line with a support technician). I told the tech that I knew the drive wasn't supported in Linux, but would it work? Immediately, I was told no. I thanked him and tried again with a different technician, three times to be exact, and each time I was told by a different person that the drive wouldn't work. I figured I was being told it wouldn't work because they didn't know the real answer and couldn't be bothered to check. Armed with an educated guess and a sense of adventure, I purchased the drive.

Before I physically installed the drive, I prepped my system for its imminent arrival. Per the HOWTOs and FAQs, I had to figure out where the CD writer was in the /dev/hdX chain. I have an on-board IDE controller to which my optical drives are attached and a Promise UltraATA 100 controller card to which my hard drives are attached. I mapped out the drive layout as follows:

onboard controller:
/dev/hda                        primary master
/dev/hdb        CDROM           primary slave
/dev/hdc        SONY CRX195A1   secondary master  (the drive was defaulted to master)
/dev/hdd                        secondary slave
promise controller:
/dev/hde        primary hard drive      primary master
/dev/hdf                                primary slave
/dev/hdg        secondary hard drive    secondary master 
/dev/hdh                                secondary slave

With this knowledge, I knew that my new CD writer would be /dev/hdc, so I added the line append="hdc=ide-scsi" to my grub.conf. This line enables IDE-SCSI emulation for /dev/hdc. I shutdown the system and opened the case. After physically installing the drive and connecting all the cables, I powered up again, making sure the system recognized the new IDE device. All proceeded well, so I logged in and began the testing phase.

The first test was to issue the command cdrecord -scanbus. No drives were listed, and my heart began to beat a little faster. Then I realized I had forgotten to add the line options ide-cd ignore="hdc" to /etc/modules.conf. This line keeps the system from loading the IDE-CD driver for the drive at /dev/hdc and allows the IDE-SCSI emulation driver to be used for that drive. A quick reboot and cdrecord reported my new drive as expected! Using the man pages for cdrecord, I was able to record an audio CD flawlessly. Other tests, such as backing up files to CD and burning ISO images, also worked using both cdrecord and xcdroast. Unfortunately, I was unable to do a CD-to-CD copy. I theorized that enabling IDE-SCSI emulation for /dev/hdb and modifying modules.conf to ignore hdb might have the desired effect, so I made the changes and rebooted. Sure enough, xcdroast and cdrecord both reported my CD-ROM and CDRW drives. After reconfiguring xcdroast a little bit, I was able to successfully do a CD-to-CD copy. After having completed all the aforementioned tests, I would have to say that the drive works. Note that I haven't tested the rewrite capabilities of the drive as I never use rewritable media.



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how to make bootable floppy for RedHat Linux7.3 installation.

dipak's picture

hello sir, i have DVD OF RddHat Linux7.3 while installing it require seperate floppy of image/boot.img for installation.
how can i make this floppy
pls help


Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Did somebody manage to overburn (for e.g. 735 MB) with Sony CRX195A1 CDRW? I use it on RH 8.0 with XCDROAST but when trying to overburn I get message (from the drive) :

"....cdrecord: Input/output error. write_g1: scsi sendcmd: no error

CDB: 2A 00 00 05 7D 89 00 00 1F 00

status: 0x2 (CHECK CONDITION)

Sense Bytes: 70 00 05 00 00 00 00 0A 00 00 00 00 63 00 00 00 00 00

Sense Key: 0x5 Illegal Request, Segment 0

Sense Code: 0x63 Qual 0x00 (end of user area encountered on this track) Fru 0x0 ..........."

Mihail Tomoff

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Make sure you have your CDR drive as a master. I had this problem when I had my CDR drive as the only drive on the second IDE bus and jumpered to slave. (not a good idea in general, but linux lets you get away with it because it doesnt rely on the bios to detect)

When I switched it to master, the problem immediately went away.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

I can't have the burnproof feature work properly...

cdrecord -checkdrive driveropts=help says there are no option available for that particular cd recorder...

any hint ?

Thanks Mr. Powell!

Anonymous's picture

As a counterpoint some of the other posts here...

I just bought a Sony CRX195A1 at Best Buys and installed it in my home server. Booted it up.... no joy. I've got a stock Red Hat system with all the current patches, and the "enterprise" kernel because I have an Imperial Arseload (slightly more than the standard American f**kton) of SCSI RAID installed. I only use IDE for the optical drives.

I thought I'd have to slog through the module sources to get the syntactica for the lilo "append" line - the docs never get real specific about (for example) is it "hdb hdc" or "hdb,hdc" and you have to read the C code to get the parse - but on a whim I hit Google first. Apparently there are lots of links to this article, it came up first in the list.

I don't consider myself a "linux newbie" - I am not afraid to grep the kernel sources - but I'm not expert on every aspect of every module, either.

My system works great using your recipe. Thank you for saving me a bunch of time!


Re: Thanks Mr. Powell!

Anonymous's picture

Device names can be determined by the BIOS settings, eg:

IDE Primary Master WDC WD600BB

IDE Primary Slave WDC WD600BB

IDE Secondary Master TDK CDRW241040X

IDE Secondary Slave OEM CD-ROM F563E

So the TDK drive is hdc. To get X-CD-Roast to recognise all optical drives (RHL), add the following to grub.conf:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.7-10 ro root=/dev/hdb2 hdc=ide-scsi hdd=ide-scsi

That should do it!

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

It should be pointed out that Linux, been all else, is also a hobbyist OS, for the type who like to take the screws off if you wish. For those type, these types of articles are most welcome, for others, there is always Red Hat Support.

Sure, there are also others who are beyond been hobbyists, but then again that's besides the point...

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Excellent article, the clearest I've read on the subject. It answered a number of questions I still had even after reading the Howto's.

Whiners: piss off. If you've "done it successfully lots of times and it's no big deal" well, duh!!, the article's not for you - skip it!! ("It's sooo long, wah-wah-wah...")

useless article

Anonymous's picture

i mean is ok to write about cdrw on linux but anyway

they work, isn't a problem, but i would like to hear about dvd-rw on linux, that is useful for us.

Newbies: read this comment in Linux Today

Anonymous's picture

Newbies, don't read this article. Instead read this comment in Linux Today:

Note that I'm not the poster of the message.

CDRoms and scsi emulation

Anonymous's picture

It's not a bad idea to leave ide-cdrom support out of your kernel, and access all cdrom drives through the ide-scsi emulation layer. some apps actually prefer to talk to the device this way (I think cdparanoia is one such). If you do this, then you don't need to pass options to the kernel.

Though some small /etc/modules.conf entries might still be needed (the "ignore" certainly won't be though).

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

You may want to verify that the 32x speed is limitation of Xcdroast. I recently installed an Asus 48x speed CDRW and I found that cdrecord (I haven't used Xcdroast) adjusts its max writing speed based on the media used. If I specify speed=48, the same drive will burn the same iso image on older Memorex media at 32x speed and 40x speed on newer TDK media.

Also, when burning Red Hat iso images, cdrecord appeared to work but the Red Hat mediacheck option would fail more often than not. I disabled DMA for the burner and have not had a problem since.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

You don't need to reboot after messing with /etc/modules.conf. Just remove the affected modules (ie ide-cd) and reinsert them.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

This article has a lot of misinformation.

I use scsi-emulation for my ide-cdrw and it works just fine. But all I need is the line:

append="hdc=ide-scsi hdd=ide-scsi"

in /etc/lilo.conf .

My /etc/modules.conf has no line like:

options ide-cd ignore="hdc hdd"

In fact, this line is required if and only if the ide-cd support is modular (not in-built) in the kernel. I guess thats the case with the 2.4.18-3 redhat kernel. That also explains why in the author's case, the bootloader append entry did not enable scsi emulation.

So, if the ide-cd support is built-in to the kernel, add a line to the boot-loader config file, otherwise if it is modular then add a line to the module loader config file (modules.conf).

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Some people have posted that this article was not useful because cdrw's are so easy to install. I disagree, I found it useful because I had never heard of ide-scsi. Now that I know about it, I can set it up for my ide cdrom and be able to do cd-to-cd recording from it to my scsi cd-r. Perhaps I could have found that information other places, but the fact is that I hadn't. I did find it in this article, and that makes it useful.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Personally, I found the article very useful. The CD Writing HOWTO has a lot of information that is difficult to sift through, and the cdrecord man page as well.

Distilling that down to two steps (one of which another poster points out may not be necessary depending on your kernel) is quite useful.

I just inherited a writer that was described as "flaky" under Windows, but stable under linux. Following these instructions should make it very painless to get going for me.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Installing CD-RW drives is so easy these days that reading through the CD-Writing HOWTO, as the author has done is an overkill - especially the advice on kernel recompilation. I can't actually believe that anyone can write a feature length article on such topics! What next? A feature length article on installing a network card?

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

us, trying to be ex-windoze newbies, need to learn. we are frequently and rightly told to read the manpage, read the faq or by less tolerant folks, RTFM.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Yes RTFM (F for Fine ;)) if you have to, but regurgitating the contents of the FM is worthless. The HOWTOs were written with the least common denominator in mind - an unpackaged linux system if you like. Any modern Linux distribution from about 5 years ago will have at least ide-scsi in module form.

This article does a disservice to the many non-GNU/Linux-ers. Many Windows newbies will conclude that using GNU/Linux is difficult and requires a deep understanding of the underlying operating system (many of my colleagues squirm at the mention of the word "kernel").

I have installed lots of CD-RW drives in my time and all it takes is a single modification to lilo.conf (or grub.conf if you're using GRUB) and modules.conf. The length of this article is deceiving.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

It sounds to me like you are saying "leave out some detail so it will look like it's less complex than it really is". How is that doing a newbie any favors?

This article was a perfect balance of brevity and detail for my situation. I wanted to know how to do this exact job, and how to do it properly - not how to do it on Slackware, or from raw sources, but how to do it with my Sony CD on my Red Hat system. The config listings made me feel all warm and fuzzy and comfortable with the task, because I knew exactly what the syntax looked like, and I had a known working config to compare to.

My system didn't work until I added the modules.conf options line. So, your instructions would have been frustratingly useless to me!

If you're not afraid of a recompile...

Anonymous's picture

For people who compile their own kernels, a simpler alternative is to disable ide-cd altogether, and compile only ide-scsi for their kernel, as I did. In this case, you don't have to worry about disabling ide-cd for specific drives.

Of course, you still have to enable all other IDE modules as necessary. The SCSI emulation only effects CDs.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Every RW drive I have ever had simply works with linux. It will auto detect the drive and write to the necessary files when the machine boots up. My drives always simply worked after I installing them. I was never aware that one had to go to all of this trouble to get an RW CD drive to work.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

No trouble for hackers man, just fun...

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

I've yet to see an atapi cd writable drive that wouldn't work with scsi emulation, so don't be so proud if yours does work, I've tried 5 so far of different brands with nary a trouble.

CD-RW SONY CRX195E1 also works

Anonymous's picture

This drive also works perfectly:

kernel: hdc: SONY CD-RW CRX195E1, ATAPI CD/DVD-ROM drive

kernel: Vendor: SONY Model: CD-RW CRX195E1 Rev: ZYS5

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture


Phillips (two ells) makes tools, Philips (one ell) makes CD-writers.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Now I see why my Phillips wants to t-u-r-n not b-u-r-n...

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

From the X-CD-Roast FAQ (

2. Why doesn't X-CD-Roast find my harddrives/CD-Burner/CD-ROMs?

X-CD-Roast 0.96e had limited ATAPI-device support. But this was

just a quick hack and I had a lot of complaints that the code

detected devices wrong. So I decided to remove ANY ATAPI/IDE-code

from X-CD-Roast. And there is really absolutely no reason why you

need it anyway. Direct support of partitions and harddisks is gone,

so you never need to see devices of this kind in X-CD-Roast.

But in order to write a CD, X-CD-Roast must of course detect your

CD-Writer. If you have a SCSI-Writer there should never be a problem.

All you need is generic-scsi support in the kernel.

ATAPI/IDE-Writers need scsi-emulation to be detected and accessable.

You have to install scsi-emulation for ALL your ATAPI-CDROM drives too, if

you want to use them within X-CD-Roast.

Parallel-Writers need the parallelport-driver in the kernel.

Please see section 2 of the CD-Writing-HOWTO how to configure your kernel on Linux.

If you use not Linux but any other OS, you have to check the cdrecord

documentation how to access your writer.

Additional note about configuring SCSI-emulation in Linux:

The HOWTO does not explain how to add more than one ATAPI device to

SCSI-emulation like may be needed for X-CD-Roast.

The trick are these two lines (Examples only!!):

Line for /etc/modules.conf

options ide-cd ignore='hdc hdd'

Line for /etc/lilo.conf

append="hdc=ide-scsi hdd=ide-scsi"

If you use grub instead of lilo you might try something like that:

Example line for /boot/grub/grub.conf or /etc/grub.conf

kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.7-10 ro root=/dev/hda6 ide-scsi=/dev/hdc ide-scsi=/dev/hdd


I got a report that if the line above does not work with your grub.conf you can

try this:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.7-10 ro root=/dev/hda6 hdc=ide-scsi hdd=ide-scsi

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

I've come to learn that not supported usually means no tech support. 99.99% of modern ide/scsi CDR/W drives work with linux.

Re: Installing a Sony CRX195A1 CDRW Drive in Red Hat 7.3

Anonymous's picture

Nice explanation but there is an automated way available. Redhat 7.3 will detect CDRW during installation and make the proper modifications to grub.conf/lilo.conf and modules.conf. Alternatively if you don't want to reinstall simply, remove the entry for the CD ROM out of the /etc/sysconfig/hwconfig and run kudzu.

- Dave