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Kernel panic

Can I go into setup & fix a boot-up problem that tells me I have 'kernel panic'?  Thanks for all help in advance!
1 Solution
you need to be more specific. WHY does this kernel panic happen?

i would guess you have a problem mounting your root filesystem. if this is so, you should be able to read the appropriate message.
floridagrrrlllAuthor Commented:
I inherited this machine that has Linux on it-I am pretty good with DOS/Windows but Linux is new to me.  After LILO loads the error message, "VFS: Cannot open root device 16:05.
Kernel panic: VFS:Unable to mount root fs on 16:05" comes up-Help???
Perhaps you (your friend) rearranged/removed/installed hard drives.

You need to know which was the original drive containing the linux root partition and then you may be able to specify an alternative root.
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floridagrrrlllAuthor Commented:
How will I be able to determine that?
maybe you installed linux on other computer or maybe you switched hard drives master<->slave? Or maybe you changed BIOS setting on HDD like LBA<->NORMAL?
Does it have another O/S on it?  I couldn't find what device had a major node of 16 and a minor node of 5 off hand, but it sounds like maybe he had windows/dos on the first HD along with his /boot partition, and Linux on a second drive (that he kept), and LILO is still the Master Boot Record on the first, and by default is looking to mount a partition off the second as root.

On some older machines, the BIOS won't boot off a second drive, so he would have installed the boot image (/boot) and MBR (LILO) on the first.  Or maybe the second drive was connected to an "odd" controller (that he kept) and that's why I couldn't find the device numbers.

Press <TAB> at LILO:  it will show you the boot options.

Your chioces: 1) Format and reinstall whatever O/S you like, 2) keep the O/S he gave you by recreating it's Master Boot Record (For Windows/Dos, boot off a floppy with FDISK on it, and give the command "FDISK /MBR").
To check if you still have the disk or partion for Linux, boot up Dos and type fdisk at the command line. Have a look if there is a partion that states unknown system, you may have to select display extended/logical partion and see if it gives you the option to swop/change drives. If you have one that says unknown system then you probably still have Linux on your machine. The next step will depend if you have linux on floppies or Cdrom disk. These will be needed to reconfigure LILO

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