Slackware 14.0 64-bit will not boot without error if Slack DVD not in drive.
I have a load of Slackware 14.0 64-bit sharing a Windows drive, dual boot. But I kept running out of space on my Linux partition. So I installed another hard drive, 100GB, and installed Linux on that drive with the Windows/Linux dual boot and files drive (an additional hard drive with files) disconnected. I had problems with a Kernel panic VFS errors, "VFS: Cannot open root device "803" or unknown-block(8,3)". I believe I got it to work with the drive by itself, without the other drives connected. So I then reconnected all of the drives and basically fought with it and fought with it, trying to get it to work, because I was getting the kernel panic errors after doing that. But gradually I made progress until I'm where I am now. This is basically it and the steps I take:
1. I boot to the hard drive, I get kernel panic errors, "VFS: Cannot open root device "803" or unknown-block(8,3)"
2. So I boot to the Slackware DVD, mount my Linux drive (all the other drives are connected as well, but not mounted).
3. Go to Setup and run the Slackware installation script for Lilo.
4. Do Expert, Begin - Start with new LILO header and choose /dev/sda1.
5. On the Linux setting, I choose the Linux partition.
6. On the Windows option, I select where my Windows is.
7. Then select the 4 option to Install. It installs with no errors.
Here is the problem, I reboot my PC and press F11 for my BIOS boot selection and choose the drive with Linux on it, the slackware boot screen comes up, and I choose Linux. Here is the weird part, unless I keep the CD in the DVD drive, I get a kernel panic error. But if I leave the Slackware DVD in, most of the time it boots fine. But take out the DVD and it will fail with the kernel panic and VFS: Cannot open root device "803" or unknown-block(8,3)"
I am currently logged in because at boot: I entered "huge.s /dev/sda1 init= ro" Something like that, I can't remember exactly, I'm new to this, but I'm pretty sure that is it because here I am, booted fine. Here is my lilo.conf file:
Make sure that partition /dev/sda1 be bootable - and only that one. 'cfdisk' alllows you to toggle the 'Boot' flag.
PS I'm assuming that your hard drives are permanently connected to the computer - no USB HDD that you'd plug in or out.
PS2 I almost forgot... Welcome on LQ!
You may also want to install LILO to the Master Boot Record also. Installing it to the /(root) of the /sda1 partition often will not work leaving the drive unbootable even if cfdisk flags it as "Bootable". You have to install it to /sda (Master Boot Record) for your hard disk to have an MBR capable boot loader.
I'd avoid installing lilo on rhe MBR if possible, as this will wipe the boot sector and in some situations (installing a Service Pack e.g.) Windows will need to be booted from the MBR. Granted, you can save the boot sector and restore it, but that's one more thing to take care of.
So my advise to the OP remains to just insure that /dev/sda1 be bootable and only if after that he can't boot from the HDD find another way.
I have never had problems installing to the MBR, until now. And I think that because I installed Slackware with the other drives disconnected, that when I reconnected the drives, it made LILO irreparably confused. So, I just did a reinstall, with all the drives connected, but installed on a drive where Linux is the only one there, and it seems to be working. The only issue now, is that it blew up my Windows and the Windows link isn't working on the boot screen. So I had to reinstall Windows where it has always been and both work now, I just can't use the LILO boot screen to choose the OS but have to select at POST what drive I want to boot to. But as long as Linux is working and not getting the error, I'm OK and I'll work on getting the boot screen to work later. Thanks for your help.
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