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Old 09-15-2004, 06:01 PM   #1
spaaarky21
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"Fixing" My Drive


So, my computer had only Windows XP installed and I resized the NTFS partition with QtParted so I could install FC2. I did this earlier (during the summer) with Mandrake and it worked just fine. I got FC2 installed and whatnot but it would not fully boot. After the bios screen, all that appeared was the letter "L" (I presume it was the first "L" in "LILO" since that was the bootloader I was using.) I use Windows for most things and couldn't be without it for too long so I just ditched Linux for the time being. I deleted the Linux partitions, resized the NTFS partition to take up the entire drive again, and cleared the MBR so Windows XP could boot again.

Then, after hearing about an FC2 bug with dual boot FC2 systems using Windows NT/2000/XP, I figured I would give Linux another trying using a different distro. I tried Debian but got the same "L" at boot time that I got using FC2. So, I tried again with Mandrake since I know it works from first hand experience. Once again, I got the same letter "L" instead of a bootloader. That is particularly odd since Mandrake's version of LILO is "prettier" and doesn't just use text like "regular" LILO and GRUB. So, I'm thinking that something from the messed up FC2 install is still hiding on the drive somewhere but I could be completely wrong. Does anyone have any idea what is truly going on and how to fix it?

-Brandon
 
Old 09-15-2004, 06:14 PM   #2
jschiwal
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Your best bet may be to install lilo to the root partition and use the NTLDR to boot linux. Google for "Linux lilo NTLDR howto", or search this site for "Lilo NTLDR" This is a common question on this site.
 
Old 09-15-2004, 11:54 PM   #3
spaaarky21
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Quote:
Originally posted by jschiwal
...This is a common question on this site.
I know that setting up a dual boot system and troubleshooting it is a common topic but what about the boot problem where only "L" appears? I had my computer setup as a Linux/Windows dual boot system with Mandrake and WinXP before and had no problem. It's not like LILO is running but Windows won't start. It's more like an old version of LILO from a previous Linux install is being run and crashes almost as soon as it starts running. What strikes me as odd about this situation is the fact that not even Mandrake will boot properly. And the fact that a white letter on a black screen appears instead of Mandrake's nice customized version of LILO makes me think that something FC2 did (before I re-installed with Debian and then Mandrake) is still on the drive somehow and messing things up. I think this a result of a bug that is specific to Fedora Core 2 but can't seem to find info on it. To get Windows XP running again after one of these doomed Linux installs, I have been use "fdisk /mbr" from a Win95 boot disk to clear the master boot record. Is there a chance that maybe this is not erasing as much as it should be and a 3rd party util is needed?
 
Old 09-16-2004, 05:30 PM   #4
jschiwal
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I believe that the first 'boot strap' phase of the linux loader is unable to find the rest of lilo, or unable to find the indicated boot drive. This may be due to an error when executing the lilo command. When that happens, this location information is not updated and when the lilo boot-strap loader executes it can't continue.

This seems to happen often when dual-booting with XP due to the NTFS file system. On laptops with XP, which tend to have a small hidden partition at the beginning of the disk ( a fat16 or fat32 ) lilo is installed ok during the installation. On desktops is where I've run into this problem. One solution is to follow one of the howtos for using the NTLDR menu to start the linux loader.
 
  


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