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Old 06-10-2013, 06:58 PM   #1
EldonCool
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Booting problems, MBR, lilo, and getting it put together.


mbr booting problems:

I deleted my partitions from my laptop computer
using fdisk. So now my disk was bare.

I then installed slackware 14 on the computer.
In fdisk I made a few partitions. a large
linux one, number 83 type, another partition,
of FAT type 6, and a swap one, 82 type.

I installed the software, and at the end of the
process I did an attempt to do the lilo configuration,
using the suggested things. Everything appeared to
work alright, but it will not boot.

I suspect it is an MBR problem. The MBR became
corrupted previously and I was unable to rewrite it
because my sofware just does not allow me that option.
I have recovery disks, from in the day that it was
a Windows 7 installation, but they don't let me
fix the MBR if it is screwed up. Other than those
recovery disks, everything else was on the computer
itself, either in original hard disk or some sort of
ram. So I have no option available to do some sort of
microsoft approved rewriting of the MBR.


I can do a recovery attempt with the linux installation
disk, I can go through the stuff manually to make things
recognize the installed linux system, I think. But
once I do that, what should I do with lilo to get
system going so that it can be booted? On the installation
I opted to write the system to the MBR, but this just
did not work, as I cannot boot up now. That is my total
problem, how do I boot the system and get it started?
 
Old 06-10-2013, 08:29 PM   #2
ReaperX7
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People still use fdisk?

Just kidding. Since you're trying to install with an existing Windows 7, chances are something screwed up in fdisk maybe or it could be a bad disk.

Have you tried using cfdisk yet? Cfdisk is a bit more dual-boot friendly.

Try this if and if it fails you might have a bad disk. Never rule that out if the MBR suffers repeated corruption.

Use cfdisk to partition (2x) the size of your RAM for /swap with type 82, and the remaining available disk space for /(root) as it's own partition type 83. Place the swap at the end if you want the quickie solution, and install the system with /(root) formatted to EXT4. Install LILO to the MBR when asked. Test the system thoroughly. LILO should be able to reset the Windows partition boot information.

If the MBR still suffers corruption then you probably do have a bad disk and it needs replacing.

This isn't the best solution to test your system, but it does work. An alternative is to grab a copy of Hiren's Boot Disk and use it's disk utilities to check the drive for errors and bad blocks, and recover the boot parameters.

Other than using the Windows System Repair Disk for your specific Service Pack, you can't just repair the MBR. If you use Windows 7 SP1 you have to use the SP1 Windows 7 disk.

If you can get Windows working again... look into the EasyBCD application.

Last edited by ReaperX7; 06-10-2013 at 08:34 PM.
 
Old 06-10-2013, 09:59 PM   #3
EldonCool
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I have no way to get windows working again with the
software I have.

One question that I have is on writing the boot records.
I have no idea what is the difference between writing it
to the "super block" or the MBR.

I have it in my head that the MBR is just the first part
of the disk, and this could be wrong, but I have no
idea what the "super block" is.

Yet when I do a lilo configuration it asks me where I
want to write the boot file. In the past I have always
written it to the MBR.


One thing I noticed when using cfdisk is that it talked
about making a partition bootable. Somehow I think this
may be central to my problem. This was not really addressed
in using fdisk, and that information might have been
missing, meaning I had no partition that was "bootable".

Another problem is that writing the boot files is kept
pretty much secret from the user, and only mentioned
at the end of installing the system. What would be
nice would be if you could work on this anytime, without
having to go through a complete install before it turns
up and announces itself, "here I am, now where do you
want to install the boot files". What would be nice
would be to know what program to run to do it. I know
you can run /sbin/lilo to do lilo, but is there anything
else?
 
Old 06-10-2013, 10:27 PM   #4
EldonCool
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One more thing of interest here: I can install SUSE
linux on this computer and it will boot. This is SUSE
11, which is pretty old. However this SUSE version
uses GRUB for a loader, not lilo. When I update this
SUSE system with a slackware 14, it no longer
will boot. The lilo setup just does not know where to
and how to write the boot files. Too bad this is all
secret information not given to the user.

Also, there is no windows on this system. The only
partitions there are linux 83 and 82, with 83 set
as the boot one.

Last edited by EldonCool; 06-10-2013 at 10:34 PM.
 
Old 06-10-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
ReaperX7
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The SuperBlock is basically the /(root) partition of the hard drive. The MBR (Master Boot Record) is the section of the drive that stores all the information about what is where on the drive.

Yes, you have to have a "Bootable" partition.

Usually I run cfdisk in this order:

1. Create a 50 MB primary partition for /boot.
2. Create a 8 GB logical partition for /swap and place it at the END of the drive.
3. Create a 250 GB primary partition for /(root).
4. Disable "Bootable" status on Windows NTFS partition.
5. Make 250 GB /(root) partition "Bootable".
6. Write the partition information to the drive.
7. Exit.

Usually, yes the disk will ask where to install LILO after the installation is done. This is a very common practice. If needed, you also can run "liloconfig" from any Slackware command prompt and it will re-open the ncurses based LILO Configuration Tool.

FDisk doesn't really address everything. I've used it in the past, but it's always been a pain.
 
Old 06-10-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
EldonCool
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I will give this some more effort tomorrow, and see
how it goes, and let you know. Thanks for the help.
 
Old 06-10-2013, 11:50 PM   #7
ReaperX7
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Best of luck.
 
Old 06-11-2013, 02:41 AM   #8
saulgoode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EldonCool View Post
I suspect it is an MBR problem. The MBR became
corrupted previously and I was unable to rewrite it
because my sofware just does not allow me that option.
I have recovery disks, from in the day that it was
a Windows 7 installation, but they don't let me
fix the MBR if it is screwed up. Other than those
recovery disks, everything else was on the computer
itself, either in original hard disk or some sort of
ram. So I have no option available to do some sort of
microsoft approved rewriting of the MBR.
You can install a default MBR using 'lilo -M /dev/sda' (after booting from a rescue thumbdrive or CD). This will create a boot record that will boot the first partition on your drive that has been marked as "bootable". This is typically only useful if you want to restore your system to a Windows-only configuration. Windows does not typically modify the MBR, but instead relies on the factory-default behavior and presumes that it is installed on the first bootable partition of the drive.
 
Old 06-11-2013, 08:04 AM   #9
EldonCool
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I did come across the feature to rewrite the MBR with lilo.
I actually did it, with this:

lilo -M /dev/sda mbr

program responded with: Master boot record has been updated.

Maybe I could now get windows loaded back on the system, but
for now don't want to fool with that.
--------------------------------------------
Next I did get a bootable system with my slackware 14
distribution DVD during an installation attempt.

When I first tried to write the boot files I got the
usual error message I have been getting for several
attempts, message was something like:


Fatal FIX-TABLE or IGNORE-TABLE must be specified
try IGNORE-TABLE first.

So I fooled with lilo.conf that was present
during the setup phase while my slackware 14
environment was there and I added IGNORE-TABLE
to the file /etc/lilo.conf then ran the
program lilo, and it worked, no longer gave me
the fatal error, and it made a bootable system.

Now I can boot up and run.

Now once booted into linux on the computer looking
at the lilo.conf there is no entry for IGNORE-TABLE.

Apparently this is not the same lilo.conf that was
generated during installation.

I have reran lilo on the present system, with that
lilo.conf presently on my disk and it also gave a
bootable system. No more fatal errors running lilo.

I can now boot up.

--

Last edited by EldonCool; 06-11-2013 at 08:30 AM.
 
  


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