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Old 12-15-2004, 09:24 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 175

Rep: Reputation: 30
Unbootable Dell - need to reinstall Lilo


I'm an idiot. I can't boot my Dell. Here are the particulars: Dell Latitude D600 notebook. 40 gig hard drive with the following on it:

[Lilo bootloader] WinXP_copy1, WinXP_copy2, Knoppix_on_HD, FAT_Data_Partition

Here is what I did: I tried to use Ghost to back up WinXP_copy1 while booted into WinXP_copy1. When you tell Ghost to backup, it seems to leave something on the MBR to tell itself to boot into some kind of virtual partition it creates. In the past I have imaged both copies of WinXP but always while booted into WinXP_copy2 - so it didn't damage Lilo. This time, for no reason in particular, I tried to ask the 'copy1' Ghost to do it, and when I boot all I get is

"Missing Operating System"

I also tried to load Partition Magic and as has happened in the past, it says it can't even read the partition table (this usually means that I have trashed the MBR somehow).

The good news is a still have my Knoppix live CD available. Question: given that I need to reinstall Lilo, is there any way to do it from the Knoppix live CD?
Old 12-15-2004, 10:05 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Slackware 10.0
Posts: 124

Rep: Reputation: 16
I've never used Knoppix, or any live CD for that matter, but what you might try is:

Boot Knoppix
Mount the / of Knoppix_HD
cd /etc/ or to wherever Knoppix installs lilo.conf
type: lilo lilo.conf to rewrite the lilo conf to the MBR.
Old 12-15-2004, 12:23 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 175

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 30
No luck - data lost

I tried a whole bunch of stuff from the Knoppix live CD and couldn't reinstall Lilo. I then even tried the Windows rescue CD and one copy of Windows couldn't recognize my admin password while another did. It didn't understand fdisk /MBR but it did understand FIXBOOT. Nothin' doing though: when I tried to reboot all I got was a message "NTLDR Missing."

Thanks very much for your help. And guess what: I backed up all my user data last night to my Mac (on which I am working now) so no user data was lost in the accident, just 3 operating systems. I really had Knopp 3.6 running well too - even had updated the wireless drivers.

For the benefit of others: stay away from Norton Ghost when using a Knoppix / WinXP dual boot! It does work okay if the 2nd of two Windows copies takes the image, but not if the first does (for whatever mysterious reason).

I'm reimage the drive with Windows now.


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