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  Author  Subject: Re: new installation problems
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Posted on 03-17-2002 10:47 p.m. ET  reply

Original Poster: "Mark W. Krentel" <krentel@dreamscape.com>

The basic problem is that you need a boot manager in the MBR to let
you boot more than one OS. Perhaps your Norton utilities can do this.
Partition Magic can, and Linux can with LILO.

But let's assume you use LILO as the boot manager. Somehow, you get
into Linux, edit /etc/lilo.conf to insert the "other" entry as I told
you, and rerun "lilo" and you should be all set. One other point, in
lilo.conf, make sure the "boot" line reads "boot=/dev/hda", with no
number, and not "hda1" (for IDE disks). That puts LILO in the MBR.

The hard part is how to get into Linux. Unfortunately, most Linux
distributions don't provide a decent set of rescue tools for these
occasions. Slackware does, but they're about the only one I've seen.
Here are some possibilities, roughly in order from easiest to hardest.

(1) If the Mandrake install made an emergency boot disk, use it,
you're in, and problem solved. And in future installs, always make
an emergency boot disk.

(2) Use LOADLIN.EXE. This is a DOS program that boots Linux. I don't
do windows, so I've never tried it, but take a look at:

http://www.syrlug.org/docs/faq/x1211.html#AEN1377

(3) Try different options in the Mandrake install. Select the most
Custom options you can find. See if it will let you reinstall LILO
without doing a full install. Just don't format the partitions, or
else you'll have to reinstall from scratch.

(4) Try Slackware from ftp.slackware.com. You don't need the full
distribution, just the boot (bare.i) and root (color.gz) disks. That
will get you in and give you a root shell from which you can rerun
lilo.

(5) Bring your machine to the next Syrlug meeting (April 3) and I'll
take a look.

Now, if these options seem difficult and intimidating, don't feel bad,
they are. Just give up and redo the install. And look carefully for
two things: (1) make an emergency boot disk, and (2) in the LILO
options, put LILO in the MBR and have it add an option for booting
windows.

And keep your Norton rescue tools handy. And if you're tinkering with
the Mandrake or Slackware install, be careful Linux doesn't write on
top of your windows partition.

> Is the problem that Linux was put on the secondary drive?

No, Linux can live happily on the second disk and LILO can boot it
from there. The problem is to get LILO (or some other boot manager)
into the MBR.

--Mark

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