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Old 09-25-2007, 05:25 PM   #1
efrancesco
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Post The Lilo Saga


HARDWARE:
COMPAQ Evo N800c [LAPTOP]

DUAL BOOTING:
BackTrack
WindowsXP Pro

TROUBLE CREATORS:
LILO
WindowsXP

SITUATION:
Now that you have an overview, I'll try explain some specifics.
- I had a recent Windoze crash and usually I would be able to just go in the advance menu [F8], then just use the "Last Know Good Configuration", and everything would be fine.
- Unfortunately, this time I just went ahead with a "Normal Boot".
- I waited for awhile but Windoze didn't start, it just went on and on trying to load but even after 2 hours, it was still loading.
- I realized my mistake and tried booting with the "Last Know Good Configuration" but it was too late since my current boot session was saved as the "Last Know Good Configuration".

WAY OUT:
Pretty straight forward. Simple boot with Windoze CD and repair your current installation. But to do that I'll have to able to boot with a Windoze Bootable CD.

TRICK PART:
I tried to boot normally with a CD/DVD but the computer halts, I mean it would get past BIOS. I have checked to make sure that the CD/DVD are bootable. When I take out the CD/DVD, LILO shows up with the option to boot into Windoze or BackTrack.

CONCLUSION:
So I guess my hardware or BIOS is incompatible with LILO and thats why it's not allowing me to boot from CD/DVD.

QUESTIONS:
1. Is there a way that I can boot with a CD/DVD?
2. As far as I know, LILO doesn't support a CD boot option on its menu or is there a way to do that?
3. I was thinking of booting into BackTrack, placing a Bootable Windoze Image File and then trying to boot from the Image file but not sure if that works with LILO or how to go about doing it or even if it is possible since its not LINUX system?
4. Last hope, Network Boot with PXE and I really hope I don't have to go there.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
I don't have a floppy drive


Any help/suggestion would be great.

Last edited by efrancesco; 09-25-2007 at 05:30 PM. Reason: Tagging
 
Old 09-25-2007, 06:36 PM   #2
Hern_28
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Boot order

On my compaq, I have to not only set the cd drive as bootable, but set the computer to boot to it first, my default boot option was the floppy then the hard drive. Check for settings on boot order in the bios.
 
Old 09-25-2007, 06:41 PM   #3
PatrickNew
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Lilo has nothing to do with CD. Lilo is on a hard disk. At boot time, your BIOS goes through your drives, in the order you gave it. On each drive, it checks to see if it is bootable, if so it boots from there. So, if your computer gives you the Lilo screen with no CD disk option, then you need to move your CD drive ahead of your hard disk in the boot order. If you don't get a lilo screen, then your windows repair disk is damaged/corrupt/just plain crappy. I'd suggest you get another but that's probably expensive, so I might recommend the grey areas of the net where you can download it gratis if you're willing to live in fear of Microsoft.

P.S.
Why Lilo? I thought the only reason to use lilo over grub was if you had particularly stubborn hardware and couldn't use grub. I find the admin and maintenance of grub to be a breeze. Installation isn't bad either.

Last edited by PatrickNew; 09-25-2007 at 06:43 PM.
 
Old 09-25-2007, 08:26 PM   #4
GrapefruiTgirl
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LILO vs GRUB ?

I believe the above replies are right on, and it isn't my intention to hijack this thread, so please don't reply to MY post; I may start a new thread on this, but there's probably already one somewhere, and I haven't done a search yet either, so... Anyways:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickNew View Post
Why Lilo? I thought the only reason to use lilo over grub was if you had particularly stubborn hardware and couldn't use grub. I find the admin and maintenance of grub to be a breeze. Installation isn't bad either.
I just wanted to say, "..my hardware isn't stubborn, but/and I prefer LILO over GRUB, for LILO's simplicity and easyness to configure and understand the .conf file. To be fair, I haven't put more than 5 minutes into trying to understand GRUB, because to look at GRUB and LILO side by side, LILO makes sense to me. GRUB looks confusing.
To my benefit, I initially installed Slackware with LILO, learned LILO, and now depend on LILO.
That said, I WOULD like to understand GRUB, because maybe it has some features I would like, or maybe it is 'better' in a non-subjective way, I dunno.
Anyhow, should I start a thread sometime about GRUB and how the heck to figure it out I'd be happy if PatrickNew would kindly pop in and explain it to me, as you seem to understand it the way that I understand LILO."

Again, please don't contribute to my hijacking this thread, people. Back on track...
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:16 AM   #5
Wim Sturkenboom
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Sorry, bit offtopic
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickNew View Post
Why Lilo? I thought the only reason to use lilo over grub was if you had particularly stubborn hardware and couldn't use grub. I find the admin and maintenance of grub to be a breeze. Installation isn't bad either.
For me, because Lilo fits completely in the MBR and therefore does not rely on data (files) outside the MBR.
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:36 AM   #6
efrancesco
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hern_28
On my compaq, I have to not only set the cd drive as bootable, but set the computer to boot to it first, my default boot option was the floppy then the hard drive. Check for settings on boot order in the bios.
Actually I went through them again and they are in correct order. I even tried resetting the BIOS to defaults and then re-setting the order, but no luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickNew
Lilo has nothing to do with CD. Lilo is on a hard disk. At boot time, your BIOS goes through your drives, in the order you gave it. On each drive, it checks to see if it is bootable, if so it boots from there. So, if your computer gives you the Lilo screen with no CD disk option, then you need to move your CD drive ahead of your hard disk in the boot order. If you don't get a lilo screen, then your windows repair disk is damaged/corrupt/just plain crappy.
Well I know LILO has nothing to do with CD-ROM but it has conflicts on certain hardwares with CONTROL TRANSFER.

In my case,
- I insert a bootable Windoze/Linux/Unix CD or DVD, the computer doesn't get past the BIOS. I assume the conflict happens during the transfer of control from BIOS to LILO, since the BIOS sends a CONTROL TRANSFER signal to let the CD/DVD boot and LILO doesn't respond back properly or insists on booting itself, so the process just halts there and doesn't do anything.


I have checked the bootable disk by running them first in Virtual Machines and all of them works just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickNew
Why Lilo? I thought the only reason to use lilo over grub was if you had particularly stubborn hardware and couldn't use grub. I find the admin and maintenance of grub to be a breeze. Installation isn't bad either.
I don't have to use LILO if I know there is a way out with GRUB but is there?

Last edited by efrancesco; 09-26-2007 at 01:03 AM. Reason: Tagging
 
Old 09-26-2007, 02:10 PM   #7
PatrickNew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efrancesco View Post
I insert a bootable Windoze/Linux/Unix CD or DVD, the computer doesn't get past the BIOS. I assume the conflict happens during the transfer of control from BIOS to LILO, since the BIOS sends a CONTROL TRANSFER signal to let the CD/DVD boot and LILO doesn't respond back properly or insists on booting itself, so the process just halts there and doesn't do anything.
That's not really how the boot process goes. When a PC boots up, the BIOS knows nothing about what drives are hooked up. The first thing it does is quickly probe the drives. Then, it knows it has an IDE hard disk and an IDE CD-ROM drive attached (for example). Then it goes through those devices according to the boot order. So, if CD-ROM is first, it goes to the CD drive and queries the CD there to see if it is bootable. If indeed it is bootable, then the BIOS boots off the CD without loading anything from the hard disk.

This is significant because Lilo (or grub, or any other similar bootloader) resides on the master boot record of the hard disk. So, if the CD was not bootable, then it would proceed to check the hard drive, and there it would find and load Lilo. Bootable CD's have a bootloader of sorts on them as well that just automatically boots from the CD. Lilo's ability to boot off a different device than the hard disk it is installed on is a feature of Lilo not the underlying hardware.

So, the BIOS never transfers control away from Lilo - Lilo never had it in the first place. So ultimately, no Grub won't help. I didn't mean to suggest that you switch really, I was just surprised you were using it, as I didn't think many/any major distros still shipped with lilo.

My guess at a diagnosis of the problem is trouble in the El-torito stack. There are two ways to create a bootable CD. The first involves packing a initrd and kernel in the first 1.44 or 2.88 MB of the CD and "fooling" the BIOS into thinking it is a floppy drive. This was the early solution to the problem, but the 1.44/2.88 MB became a bit restrictive, and eventually motherboard manufacturers added the ability to boot directly off the CD as long as it was formatted El-torito style.

Very few bootable CD's made these days use the old floppy-emulation, but it is more portable. Perhaps Compaq cut corners on the Mobo and you would need to boot from a CD using floppy emulation. Unfortunately, this doesn't help you because I don't think you'd be able to edit the Microsoft CD to do that.

Sorry to be such a fatalist, but if that's the problem I'm not really sure what can be done about it. It's somewhat of a long shot, but you could get a raw ISO image of the Windows CD onto your hard drive, then boot into linux. Use qemu to boot the Windows disk. Make sure that you give the Windows virtual machine free reign over /dev/hda (or whatever your hard drive is). The qemu virtual BIOS will know what to do with the El-torito CD and it should be able to do actual work on the hard drive as long as you give it access to the device /dev/hda and not one of its partitions.

Last edited by PatrickNew; 09-26-2007 at 02:15 PM.
 
Old 09-26-2007, 07:12 PM   #8
Hern_28
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Another Idea

Try removing the hard drive from the boot sequence and only have the boot to cdrom set. (Crossing fingers) maybe that will let you boot with the windows cd and fix the mbr and then re-install lilo.
 
  


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