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Old 04-23-2005, 03:47 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 287

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Beginner - Need Help With VI Editor

Hello forum,

I am very inexperienced with the technical aspects of Linux.

I want to edit the lilo.conf file using the recovery console and the VI editor because Mandrakelinux 10.1 will not boot without a kernel panic (no init found).

I have already viewed the lilo.conf file with the VI editor and it makes reference to /dev/hda5 when I THINK it should say /dev/hda1 since my root partition is on hda1. It presently reads root=/dev/hda5.

Would anybody be so kind as to tell me step by step how to make these changes to the lilo.conf file using the VI editor while in the recovery console? I printed out the manual for the VI editor but it is Greek to me.

Any help would really be appreciated.


Last edited by rrrssssss; 04-23-2005 at 03:58 AM.
Old 04-23-2005, 03:59 AM   #2
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Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian
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First you need to know that vi operates in two modes. In the first mode you do stuff like "go to end of line" or "remove line above cursor" and so on. In the other mode you just type in text.

So you start vi and reads lilo.conf, you have come that far. Now you press Enter until the line you want to edit comes up. You can move forward and backwards by using h and l. Now, when you are at your line then you press a to append text after the cursor or i to insert it before it. (I and A do the same but at the beginning and end of the line). Now you are in text mode and you may edit the line you're at. Then when you are done editing you press "ESC" to go back to command mode. To save the file you type :w and to quit you type :q. If you want to quit without saving you just type :q!
Old 04-23-2005, 04:03 AM   #3
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: France, Provence
Distribution: Debian
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Using the VI editor is not the simplest way of handling things here.
Did you try a new install of Mandrake 10.1 ? Could save you the
hassle of using VI, which you could learn later with a running system, couldn't it ?

If you have a kernel panic, it means that your system can't be booted because
LILO didn't find it. It is a matter of installing it right from the install.

Mandrake asks where to install LILO, it must be on the MBR (master boot record)
otherwise, no go (or difficulties ahead).

Hope that helps
Old 04-23-2005, 11:12 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10.2
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Try nano or pico or joe which are easier text editors
Old 04-23-2005, 11:24 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Sunny south wales (cwmbranistan)
Distribution: Colbalt/fedora 6
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If you still want to use VI after that

there heres a tutorial
Old 04-23-2005, 02:41 PM   #6
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 287

Original Poster
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I want to thank you all for the input. Without forums like this, it would be more difficult for me to troubleshoot problems. I actually depend on you.

Samual26 is probably correct when he said the VI editor is not the simpliest way of handling things here. Yes, I could indeed do a clean install of Mandrakelinux and then install what few probrams I run on it in a few hours. I may have to end up doing just that. But what gets me is I can't do an upgrade install without it saying "oops, no root partition". An upgrade install would preserve all my installed programs and settings with nothing really lost, which is what I would rather do of possible.

In case anyone would want to chance helping me fix what I already have installed vs a clean install, I would be more than glad to supply you with whatever info you may want. For instance, when I mount my partitions in rescue, it says "found Mandrake root partition on /dev/hda1" plus it mounts all of my other partition too. But it still will not let me do an upgrade install without it saying "oops, no root partition. And I have tried reinstalling Lilo several times, it saying "found Mandrake root partition on /dev/hda1". Plus I have rewrote the MBR twice, repeating the above steps but it still says "oops, no root partition" during an upgrade install.

I am really interested in learning how to troubleshoot problems I have with Linux because it gives me a good feeling inside knowing I was smart enough to do that. But it looks like this little eposide might let me down. My expertise stops with the message "oops, no root partition".

Feel free to offer suggestions because I know there are many Linux gurus on this forum who "know their stuff" well.


Oh, and one more detail, I am able to perform a clean install with no problem. I did it just to see if it would work. But then I ran my restore again to get it back the way it was with Acronis True Image mirroring software. The people from Acronis say that the MBR will not be restored if only one partition is backed up and restored, you must do the entire hard drive. I have Windows XP and Linux both on one hard drive.

Last edited by rrrssssss; 04-23-2005 at 03:03 PM.
Old 04-23-2005, 02:42 PM   #7
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 287

Original Poster
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Just For The Record

I fixed that particular problem by doing a clean install without letting Mandrakelinux format the partition so I could keep all of my programs. But lo and behold, the Xserver KDE would not start - a new problem. So I finally broke down and did a clean install /w format and installed all of my programs one by one and now it works great plus I have dual boot with XP and Mandrakelinux.

Last edited by rrrssssss; 04-24-2005 at 04:59 PM.


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