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Old 06-01-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
mailbox
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Question Get to LI, then nothing


OK, A little background. I was given several "older" computers to do what I wanted to with. I thought I would try some type of Linux OS. Found a couple that boot with VERY little ram. TINY LINUX and Basiclinux. I download the bootdisk follow the instructions, boot up old computers and get "LI". Researching the problem says I have something past the 1024 cylinder on the hard drive. Format harddrive, same thing. It also said the MBR was set wrong and I should go into BIOS and reset. ?????? Can't find anything about master boot. I'm stuck. I'm generally pretty good at figuring this stuff out, but I have never messed with Linux and I'm lost. I know juuuuuuuuuuuuuust enough to be dangerous. ANY help would be GREATLY appreciated.
 
Old 06-01-2008, 09:23 PM   #2
pinniped
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'lilo' is not set up properly; you need to boot from an appropriate rescue disk or Live CD and configure the bootloader correctly (or replace the bootloader).

Hmm... come to think of it, if your computer is ancient enough then the 'cylinders' could be a problem too, in which case the usual thing is to partition so that you have a small first partition (~500MB) which you put your '/boot' stuff into, plus you need to instruct the installer to install the bootloader to MBR.
 
Old 06-01-2008, 10:18 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the answer. I understood what you said. Now explain it to me. I realize this is old hat to most of you but it's Greek to me. I would like to know what I am doing. Rescue disk or live CD.????? Small partition I get but tell it to boot to MBR? I don't want to sound stupid, but stupid as a stupid does.
 
Old 06-01-2008, 10:35 PM   #4
eggixyz
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True,

If you're still screwed up and can't use lilo to fix. Try doing:

fdisk /mbr

from floppy or cd and reinstall. That should take care of any lingering problems there. Then re-install.

Best wishes,

Mike
 
Old 06-01-2008, 10:59 PM   #5
yancek
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Are you installing your version of Linux as the only operating system?
If it is an old machine it may not be able to boot if the boot sector is past the 1024 limit. Enable LBA in the BIOS if you can. The default install on most Linux distributions is to install the bootloader to the master boot record. Is this what you did? Which bootloader are you using? Grub? Lilo? Other?

A live CD is an operating system on CD which loads and runs from the CD drive without installing on your hard drive. You can find hundreds of different distributions, just google 'Linux Live CD'.
 
Old 06-02-2008, 03:13 AM   #6
bentb
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Here is a more in-depth explanation of the LILO error messages and how to remedy them:

http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:LILO_fail...interpretation

73, Bent
 
Old 06-02-2008, 03:37 AM   #7
pinniped
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MBR is Master Boot Record - an area of 512 bytes on the hard disk:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record

(wow - someone actually entered good info on the wikipedia)

All 'DOS' partitions have a similar set of 512 bytes set aside containing the partition record (which also has a small area for boot code, just like the MBR).

A 'rescue disk' is some disk you can boot to and which can help you fix problems with the installed system; many installation disks have a 'rescue' mode although they're often a hassle to use. A 'Live CD' is a CD you can boot and run from - it is often more convenient to boot from one of these when fixing a system because you have far more tools available than the typical 'rescue' disk.

You don't tell the installer to boot to MBR, you tell it to install the Bootloader in the MBR (as opposed to the boot section of the partition record). If you look at the wikipedia article, you'll see that there's very little space for the bootloader in the MBR or partition record, so what actually happens is that the "first stage bootloader" is stored there - a very tiny program whose only purpose is to load and start the "second stage bootloader".

Since ancient BIOS has a very low limit on how much it can access on a disk, and the first stage bootloader needs BIOS to read in the second stage (and the second stage needs BIOS to read the kernel and the 'initrd' image), for machines with an ancient BIOS you need a small partition at the start of the disk which will hold the second stage bootloader, kernel, and initrd file. The kernel itself does not have such a low limit, so once the kernel starts and is fully initialized, the system has access to the rest of the disk. Also, when the kernel is initialized, no one uses BIOS calls anymore - the kernel takes care of all read/write requests. In fact, you can't run any BIOS instructions anymore (well, not without the kernel's help and at great inconvenience).
 
  


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