[lug] LILO is not booting

D. Stimits stimits at idcomm.com
Mon May 21 12:14:16 MDT 2001

Rijesh P P wrote:
> Dear Sir,
> I had tried to Installing  Redhat Linux 7.1 on a Intel PIII Machine with 128
> MB RAM.My Hard disk is 13 GB Seagate IDE hard disk and i tried only
> Linux(Means Single OS).
> The problem I am facing after the package installaion whie on the post script
> process it giving a "SERIOS HARD DISK PROBLEM " and asking to create a
> bootable flopy disk and boot from that.Then afetr The Lilo is starting from
> Harddisk, It became hanging after L on starting.It is perfectly starting from
> Flopy.
> Is it the problem relating to bios geometry of hard disk exceeding 1024.
> Please help me to solve this problem.
> Thanks,
> Rijesh P P.

During your install try to create the first partition, such as
"/dev/hda1", at the very start of the drive. Make it approximately 25
MB, a small partition that can hold several kernels, and has as its only
purpose holding kernels. Label its mount point as /boot. Then do however
you like with the rest. Probably the problem is accessing past cylinder
1023 (the 1024th cylinder). There are times where if you are lucky, a
single large partition will happen to place the kernel before cylinder
1023, but future changes might still fail even if that one succeeds. But
it is also a good idea to make that boot floppy right from the start,
even if you don't intend to boot that way.

On the other hand, there might be something else also wrong. The letters
"LILO", as they print out, tell you how far the boot loaders has
succeeded. In the past I remember seeing "LI" as the point where it
stops if it tries to load a kernel that is beyond the cylinder edge,
rather than just "L". The "L" might indicate that the first stage boot
loader did not succeed, whereas the "LI" would indicate the first stage
succeeded but was unable to load the second stage, and I think it is the
second stage where the 1024 limit matters. If this is the case, during
the install, and assuming you can access fdisk at some point (probably
possible during partitioning, but I don't know Mandrake enough to
answer), you might verify that the master boot record is terminated
correctly. This can be done in fdisk by going to advanced functionality
("m" to get a menu, "x" for extra functionality, then "d" to print raw
data). The raw data of the master boot record should always end with
"... 55 AA". If this is not the case, most boot loaders will fail, it is
something of a termination indicator for the MBR. Also, if it stops with
just "L", does it also print any numbers or anything else after (I don't
know all those digits, but they would be very helpful in a search)?

D. Stimits, stimits at idcomm.com

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