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Old 03-10-2003, 09:42 PM   #1
KeithKessler
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Distribution: Slackware 10
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Lilo & other boot issues


Hello All,

I'm having difficulty booting my slackware 8.1 box (It's been like that since I installed). I can only boot the machine using a boot disk and I worried the boot floppy will eventually become damaged as so may floppies do.

When I try and boot from the HD it nothing happens - it doesn't even attempt to load Lilo. Below is my lilo.conf

-----------------------------

# Start LILO global section
lba32 # Allow booting past 1024th cylinder with a recent BIOS
boot = /dev/hda2
message = /boot/boot_message.txt
prompt
timeout = 1200
# Override dangerous defaults that rewrite the partition table:
change-rules
reset
# VESA framebuffer console @ 1024x768x256
vga = 773

other = /dev/hdb1
label = DOS
table = /dev/hdb
# DOS bootable partition config ends
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = /dev/hda2
label = Slackware 8.1 - 2.4.18
read-only
--------------------------------------------

I tried running lilo from the console and this is what I got:

Fatal: First sector of /dev/hdb1 doesn't have a valid boot signature

Does this mean the MBR is damaged?

Thanks for you help!

--Keith
 
Old 03-10-2003, 10:01 PM   #2
2damncommon
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Quote:
I worried the boot floppy will eventually become damaged as so may floppies do.
You can make exact replacas of any floppy with the 'dd' utility.
The simple formula is:
dd if=/dev/fd0 of=myfloppy.img (to create image file)
dd if=myfloppy.img of=/dev/fd0 (to a blank floppy to create copy)

I can't make much out of your lilo config without partition info. What is installed where and what boots? Was lilo installed at boot or did you configure it later? If you configured it later did you run '/sbin/lilo'? Where is lilo installed? MBR? Other partition?
 
Old 03-10-2003, 10:14 PM   #3
KeithKessler
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Thanks for the info on dd - I"ll make an image of the boot floppy

I want to boot /dev/hda2

Lilo was installed in initally configued by Slack setup and has never worked. I honestly don't know where lilo is installed in the MBR or somewhere else. Admittedly I've had several distros on this machine (all one at a time) The progression has gone Win2k, RH 8, Debian, Slack 8.1

Thanks for your help!
 
Old 03-10-2003, 10:25 PM   #4
2damncommon
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You probably want to check 'man lilo.conf' to confirm your lilo.conf seems to make sense.
Off hand, the "boot = /dev/hda2" would seem to be incorrect.
I am not on my PC at home but "boot = /dev/hda" would put lilo in the MBR, I think.
What does boot up now?
 
Old 03-10-2003, 10:31 PM   #5
KeithKessler
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Right now the boot disk by default boots /dev/hda2

It seems a bit strange to me too but hda2 is where everything is located.

Thanks,

Keith
 
Old 03-10-2003, 10:49 PM   #6
2damncommon
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If lilo is in your MBR, it will boot to the lilo menu when your PC starts. If it is installed to another partition it needs some other boot manager to boot it first. That is probably why lilo does not show up when you start your PC.
The reason I asked what boots now is because it could be a short time to get lilo configured to boot everything you want.
Once again, I could give better advice at home with more access to my usual system and documents.
If you are feeling brave you could change the "hda2" to "hda" run '/sbin/lilo' and see what happens.
 
Old 03-11-2003, 01:11 AM   #7
moses
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The error message you are getting may be because you don't
have /dev/hdb1 marked as bootable. This needs to be the case
for a bootable non-linux partition.
You can check/fix this from fdisk on the linux box.
(man fdisk)

Your next problem is that you have spaces in the
label=Slackware 8.1 - 2.4.18 field. My version of LILO 22.3.3
doesn't allow that. Get rid of the spaces.

2damncommon is correct, you need to have something on the MBR.
I would suggest changing the boot=/dev/hda2 to boot=/dev/hda.

Is there a reason you have the change-rules section? You don't
have anything else in the lilo.conf that changes those rules to
other than default, so why reset them? I would comment out that.
(the change-rules and the reset lines).
(man lilo.conf)

Last edited by moses; 03-11-2003 at 01:12 AM.
 
Old 03-11-2003, 03:12 PM   #8
KeithKessler
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Thanks for the help! I'll give it a try when I get home tonight and let you know how it turns out.

Thanks,

--Keith
 
Old 03-11-2003, 03:49 PM   #9
Hangdog42
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When you installed Slack, was there an error message when the installation program tried to write LILO? When I moved to Slack 8.1 from RH7.2, LILO wouldn't write to the MBR because GRUB was still there from my RH install. In fact, LILO wouldn't install to the bootable partition either. It wasn't until I nuked the MBR with the DOS version of fdisk (fdisk /mbr) that LILO would install properly. Now it lives quite happily in my MBR.

I've also seen a thread here at LQ that demonstrated how to use dd to wipe out anything on your MBR that might be keeping LILO from writing.
 
Old 03-11-2003, 05:33 PM   #10
KeithKessler
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Yes, I did get an error when Slack tried to wirite LILO!

Is using the dos fdisk to whipe the mbr safe, will I loose my partition information?
 
Old 03-11-2003, 06:04 PM   #11
KeithKessler
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FIXED!!

I used fdisk /mbr from a dos bootdisk then commented out

other = /dev/hdb1
label = DOS
table = /dev/hdb

these lines in lilo.conf then ran lilo and it WORKS!

Thanks for your help everyone!!!

--Keith
 
Old 03-11-2003, 06:18 PM   #12
moses
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Good.
 
Old 03-11-2003, 07:46 PM   #13
2damncommon
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Quote:
ran lilo and it WORKS!
I like it when boot manager issues don't end with "I just reinstalled..."
 
Old 03-11-2003, 08:57 PM   #14
KeithKessler
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hehe - I learned a lot from the process. Much more than I would have had I simply reinstalled.

Thanks for your help!
 
Old 03-12-2003, 08:25 AM   #15
Hangdog42
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By the way, thank you for posting HOW you solved the problem. Way too many times I read threads where the ending is "I fixed it!" with absolutely no explanation of how they actually solved the problem. Or even worse, the thread just sort of dies a slow, ugly death from neglect because the person asking the question never bothers to follow up at all.


For a newb like me, its those solution steps that are critical!
 
  


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