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  Author  Subject: Re: MBR vs. 1st partition boot record

Posted on 02-17-2002 10:41 p.m. ET  reply

Original Poster: "Mark W. Krentel" <>

> What's the difference between putting LILO in the MBR vs. the 1st
> partition's boot record?

It's the difference between your machine booting and not booting. :-)

When a PC boots, the BIOS passes control to the Master Boot Record
which is then supposed to pass control to some OS on some partition.
If the machine runs only Linux, then you put LILO in the MBR, end of

If the machine dual boots, then you need a boot manager in the MBR to
choose what OS to boot and give you a menu. LILO can do this and it
would be my choice (it's simple, it works, it's free), but there are
other options (eg, Partition Magic). So, if you want to dual boot and
you already have a boot manager that you like, then use it and put
LILO in the root partition. Otherwise, put LILO in the MBR and use it
as your boot manager.

Just one word of warning. If you're adding Linux to a system that is
used to being the only OS (eg Windows), then when you put LILO in the
MBR, you'll temporarily lose the ability to boot Windows. That's
easily fixed, you just edit /etc/lilo.conf and rerun "lilo". And
actually, during the Linux install, it will probably offer you the
option of booting other OS's, and thus edit lilo.conf for you.

There are a few mini Howtos on this, although they're not the best
written. Try the ones on LILO, Linux+Win95, etc.


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