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linux and windows 98 (fat 32)

Posted on 1998-11-20
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i'm not very good with my english... there is the question:

i tried to install red hat linux on my computer, but i have a problem with lilo and the master boot record (or something).
i have 2 disks:
disk 1= boot master= windows 98 (fat 32)
disk 2= red hat linux

(i can install the swap and the root partitions, but i have the trouble with lilo)

can lilo boot win98 or there is other multi-boot program that can?



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Question by:xeonmaster
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laeuchli earned 300 total points
ID: 1631686
try puting this into your lilo.config file.
# DOS bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/hda1
  label = DOS
  table = /dev/hda
# DOS bootable partition config ends

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by:olvo
ID: 1631687
First you need some sort of linux kernel to install it. A floppy that can boot linux, a CDrom that autoboots or CDROM with dosutils that boot a kernell and starts the installation process. LILO only works once you install linux. The swap and root partition are very easy  to define once you start the installation process.


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Expert Comment

by:singlep2
ID: 1631688
I think the previous answers are missing something here. I have put in a question myself which describes the same difficulties that xeonmaster had. I have elaborated a little further in my question though. I did what laeuchli suggested and it doesn't work. Like xeonmaster my hunch was that lilo does not like booting to a FAT32 partition or something
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Expert Comment

by:olvo
ID: 1631689
Looks like there is a misunderstaing about partition going on.
1. Linux can mount (make the files "visible") msdos, umsdos, FAT-16, FAT-32.
2. LILO can reside in any form of boot sector. The boot sector is the fisrt sector of the HD.
3. Normally, the Linux file system will reside in a linux partition. This days the fashion is ext2.
4. LILO is not the only way to boot linux. LILO will boot "any other OS", but it will write to the first sector of the disk. In the past, some people were concern that lilo was overwriting the dos info. Thi means that DOS could not boot any more, but needed lilo to come first, and then boot DOS. The MS family need to read some info in the first sector.
5. Until the kernel release .34 (now .35) linux needs a patch to be able to mount FAT-32, but it could always boot from.
6. Note how linux doesn't require defrag as DOS does. The FAT-32 is an attempt to come closer to UNIX file systems; more efficient in keeping the HD space.
7. lilo is not the only way to boot linux, although is the preferred for it's versatility. It can reside in any part of the HD, accept command to the kernell at boot time, can boot other OS..., but there is also loadlin (boot linux from dos) that does not use the HD first sector, and also any software that sets a HD partition active, like BOOTACT, which is an interactive boot partition selector.
8. The problems with lilo seems to come from big HD, or some mismatch in the HD properies, although some complain that could not boot Win95 after lilo.
9. A very good procedure was suggested by Werner Almesberger in his exellent Mini Howto:
  a. before installing lilo, make a copy of you HD 1st sector
  a.1    boot linux from a floopy
  a.2    make a backup copy of your MBR ( Master Boot Sector - 1st sector)
           dd if=/dev/hdX of=/dev/fdX/MBR bs=512 count=1
Now you can install lilo, and if later you decide to remove it you can restore your old MBR.
  b. boot linux
  b.1 restore the old MBR
        dd if=/dev/fdX/MBR of=/dev/hdX bs=446 count=1
  Some could never understand the need to remove lilo, but ...
Again linux can boot a lot of different ways, my fevorities are:
from the MBR -> lilo, bootact, fdisk
from DOS      -> loadlin
FAT-32 can be mounted and lilo can boot from it.
                                                               from DOS       -> loadlin


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