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Linux won't boot Init Failed: Error 117 partition's drive letter cannot be Identified

Posted on 2003-02-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Hi EE Group,

Thanks to a Google search> results in finding your group,
I have a 20.0GB HD with Win98ME OS installed> it boots. sucessfull!


PartitionMagic 6.0 & Bootmagic> installed, 2 rescue disks; boot disk created> drive partitioned.

Mandrake Linux 9.0 installed.

Start> Lilo> Windows = boot. sucesss! same as before but with less HD space.

now showing:

The problem is Linux won't boot from lilo.
Restart> Lilo> Linux = no go. failure! (Error Init Failed: Error 117 partition's drive letter cannot be identified)

and also this

Restart> Lilo> Linux from FD = no go. failure! (Error Init Failed: Error 117 partition's drive letter cannot be identified)

Q: How is partition's drive letter identified?
Question by:lisatcrouse
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 8009291
It isn't. LILO doesn't use drivetters at all.

This error must be from Bootmagic, as far as I can see.
Where did you install LILO? To the MBR? To a "partition boot record"?

-- Glenn

Author Comment

ID: 8009726
Re: This error must be from Bootmagic, as far as I can see.

Where did you install LILO?

 To the MBR?
<LNX-MDK 9.0 CD install>

To a "partition boot record"?

Hi Glenn,
         Thankyou for replying. All I know is that I do have WinME and less HD space now than before. No dual boot OS PC yet. If you can help me get back to Kansas...

Author Comment

ID: 8010410
BootMagic Add OD
Used/ OS Name/ Volume Name/ Partition Type/ Disk/ Partition

Yes / Win9x or MSDOS / NO NAME / FAT32X / 1 / Pri-1

No / Unknown  / (blank) / ExtendedX  / 1 / Ext

No / Unknown  / (blank / Linux Ext2 / 1 / Log-1

No / Unknown  / (blank) / Linux Swap / 1 / Log-2

No / Unknown / (blank) / Linux Ext2 / 1 / Log-3

No / Unknown / SYSTEM_SAVE / FAT32 / 1 / Log-4


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Author Comment

ID: 8010488
Re: If you can help me get back to Kansas...

left click mouse 2X


there's no place like gnome
there's no place like gnome
there's no place like gnome...
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 8010598
Um, lets get something straight here, lilo _cannot_ be installed to C:/, since it (LILO) has no such concept!
It needs to "install" a very small part of itself called "the first stage loader" into a partition record (512 byte in size). There is a boot record in the beginning of every drive, and the on your "first" drive (as seen by the BIOS) is called the Master Boot Record (MBR). This is what will be booted by the BIOS when you boot off the hard drive, and this is most likely where Bootmagic resides ATM.
There is also space reserved at the beginning of each partition, and these are called "partition boot records".
When you installed Mdk9, it either wrote LILO to the MBR (overwriting bootmagic, which would be fine BTW, since you don't really need it), or you installed it to a partition boot record. If the latter, probably to /dev/hda5 (linuxy way of saying the first extended partition on your primary IDE master). If the former (lilo in MBR), you must subsequently have overwritten LILO with bootmagic.

Now, the easiest way out of this is to redo the linux installation, and either write lilo to the MBR (IIRC this is the default behaviour if you aren't doing an expert install) and leaving it there (if Mdk fails to pick up WME during install, it can easily be added afterwards), or writing LILO to a partition record and then try to convince bootmagic that it can boot that partition.
I'd recommend the first of these in a case like this (WME... had it been NT/2k/XP the situation would have been a bit different).

If you dont want to "cop out" with a reinstall, you can perform a rescue mode boot from the installation CD, and from that reinstall LILOs first stage loader... and take it from there:-).

I'm prepared to give more specific advice depending on how you choose.

-- Glenn
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 8011685
... into a partition record ...
should have read
... into a boot record ...
... and the on your "first" ...
should have read
... and the one on your "first" ...

BTW, making lilo boot windows me is a case of adding these lines to the configuration file /etc/lilo.conf and (on a command line prompt, logged in as root) type
to "reinstall" the first stage loader with the new information:


-- Glenn (a.k.a. Le Grand Typo)      

Author Comment

ID: 8012015
Similar computer's configuration with dual OS that boots successfully:

Disk 1 - 18361 MB
Disk/ Partition/ Type/ Size MB/ Used MB/ Unused MB/ Status/ Pri/Log

1/ C:WIN98SE/ FAT32/ 7,301.6/ 5,701.0/ 1,600.5/ Active/ Primary

1/ *:/ Extended/ 11,059.5/ 11,059.5/ 0.0/ None/ Primary

1/ *:/ Linux Ext2/ 7,390.2/ 1,372.4/ 6,017.8/ None/ Logical

1/ D:/ FAT32/ 3,669.2/ 71.9/ 3,597.3/ None/ Logical

Author Comment

ID: 8014954
Q: If I can do these, it should be right. Then will it work?

fix #1: change ExtendedX (partition type) from Ext (partition) to Pri-1 (partition)

fix #2: change, eliminate or merge Linux Swap (partition type) Log-2 (partition)

fix #3: change, eliminate or merge Linux Ext2 (partition type) Log-3 (partition)
LVL 20

Accepted Solution

Gns earned 200 total points
ID: 8015053
Why would you mess with the partition types? This problem has nothing to do with partition types.

Let's spell it out:
Ditch bootmagic.
It doesn't fill any discernible function in your very basic setup.
LILO or GRUB will perform the chainload of windows perfectly, and you _will need_ either of these (or loadlin from within windows) to bootstrap *linux* in any case.
Your pgmagic/bootmagic is a bit dated too, so I'd imagine the bootmagic of that version to will only add problems with modern HW.

I've never seen a reason to add bootmagic to the mix of bootloaders I usually use, since I've always ended up solving the same type of problems in them all... so why add an extra?

-- Glenn

Expert Comment

ID: 9089987
This old question needs to be finalized -- accept an answer, split points, or get a refund.  For information on your options, please click here-> http:/help/closing.jsp#1 
Post your closing recommendations!  No comment means you don't care.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 9099858
This question has been answered in detail.

-- Glenn

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