New computer, old problem: LILO hangs and prints only LI

New computer, old problem: LILO hangs and prints only LI

Post by Miks » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 02:58:05



Hello to all,

I've been trying to install RH7.1 on my freshly bought computer with
two 40g hardisks (Samsung SV4002H and Seagate ST340823A) with very bad
success... I have w2k and w98 both installed on my first disk (on the
first partition, i.e. /dev/hda1) and I've been trying to install Linux
on the second. The installation process itself goes alright but after
I restart my computer LILO always hangs at LI.

I've done lot of studying about the meaning of this error and tried
all the regular solutions to fix it, but nothing seems to work. I've
tried with and without the "linear" option on my lilo.conf, no change,
I've tried with the lba32 option, I've tried to explicitely tell lilo
the locations and geometries of my hard drives, etc. Always with the
same result: LILO prints only LI and then nothing.

I've also tried all the above mentioned options with different BIOS
settings; enabling/disabling LBA, with and without 32k support, etc.
etc. etc. Still doesn't help. Also my BIOS shouldn't be too buggy
since the version is from last Dec (AMIBIOS 1.21.06, Dec 13th, 2001).

I also tried this wicked method of making the w2k boot manager to load
lilo (from /dev/hdb1) to boot my linux (see
http://www.enterprisedt.com/publications/dual_boot.html for further
info). As I try this method to load linux nothing happens, all I get
is a black screen. So no use...

I'm aware of the fact that every time I change lilo.conf I have to
execute the lilo command to activate the new settings, so that doesn't
explain why the changes won't work. Also lilo -v 3 doesn't give me any
extra hints about why the lilo hangs.

I also tried to install lilo on the MBR of my second hd (/dev/hdb) and
then boot from there: the result is the same, lilo hangs at LI.

After getting totally pissed off with lilo I installed GRUB and tried
to use it to load Linux. It didn't work either, all I got was an error
code 17.

In all of these scenarios my /boot partition has been located in
/dev/hdb1 and it definitely is below 1024 sylider limit (as I guess it
should be?)

So does anybody have any idea of what other tricks there still might
be left to make my system work? At the moment I start to be pretty fed
up with the whole linux.... however, I would need it to do some
"serious" work on my pc, too. The only way to get in to linux for me,
seems to be by using a boot floppy but I hate to use it every time I
want to use linux. I know I could still try to install linux
completely on hda but I wouldn't want that, since this would lead to a
need to rearrange the files in my hd:s in a big way and possibly to
reinstall w2k and w98.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give to me with this subject,
Miksu

 
 
 

New computer, old problem: LILO hangs and prints only LI

Post by Nico Kadel-Garci » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 07:59:52



Quote:> Hello to all,

> I've been trying to install RH7.1 on my freshly bought computer with
> two 40g hardisks (Samsung SV4002H and Seagate ST340823A) with very bad
> success... I have w2k and w98 both installed on my first disk (on the
> first partition, i.e. /dev/hda1) and I've been trying to install Linux
> on the second. The installation process itself goes alright but after
> I restart my computer LILO always hangs at LI.

First: use RH 7.2. RH 7.1 had all sorts of interesting bugs, and the big
mass of them for installation problems was corrected in RH 7.2.

Second: use grub instead of LILO.

Third: Post your complete lilo.conf and grub.conf by booting wuth the rescue
CD option, and duplicate your /etc/lilo.conf, /etc/grub.conf, /etc/fstab,
and the output of "fdisk -l" for both disks.

Quote:> I've done lot of studying about the meaning of this error and tried
> all the regular solutions to fix it, but nothing seems to work. I've
> tried with and without the "linear" option on my lilo.conf, no change,
> I've tried with the lba32 option, I've tried to explicitely tell lilo
> the locations and geometries of my hard drives, etc. Always with the
> same result: LILO prints only LI and then nothing.

> I've also tried all the above mentioned options with different BIOS
> settings; enabling/disabling LBA, with and without 32k support, etc.
> etc. etc. Still doesn't help. Also my BIOS shouldn't be too buggy
> since the version is from last Dec (AMIBIOS 1.21.06, Dec 13th, 2001).

> I also tried this wicked method of making the w2k boot manager to load
> lilo (from /dev/hdb1) to boot my linux (see
> http://www.enterprisedt.com/publications/dual_boot.html for further
> info). As I try this method to load linux nothing happens, all I get
> is a black screen. So no use...

> I'm aware of the fact that every time I change lilo.conf I have to
> execute the lilo command to activate the new settings, so that doesn't
> explain why the changes won't work. Also lilo -v 3 doesn't give me any
> extra hints about why the lilo hangs.

> I also tried to install lilo on the MBR of my second hd (/dev/hdb) and
> then boot from there: the result is the same, lilo hangs at LI.

> After getting totally pissed off with lilo I installed GRUB and tried
> to use it to load Linux. It didn't work either, all I got was an error
> code 17.

> In all of these scenarios my /boot partition has been located in
> /dev/hdb1 and it definitely is below 1024 sylider limit (as I guess it
> should be?)

> So does anybody have any idea of what other tricks there still might
> be left to make my system work? At the moment I start to be pretty fed
> up with the whole linux.... however, I would need it to do some
> "serious" work on my pc, too. The only way to get in to linux for me,
> seems to be by using a boot floppy but I hate to use it every time I
> want to use linux. I know I could still try to install linux
> completely on hda but I wouldn't want that, since this would lead to a
> need to rearrange the files in my hd:s in a big way and possibly to
> reinstall w2k and w98.

> Thanks in advance for any help you can give to me with this subject,
> Miksu


 
 
 

1. Thanks Re: LILO hangs after printing "LI"

I would like to thank all those wonderful people who responded to my
post. I received many suggestions, many of which I followed up on. I've
learned a great deal about operating system loaders, boot record
formats, disk geometry, and much, much more...

The good news is my computer is now successfully booting off the hard
drive! The thing that did it was to add the line "linear" to the
beginning of my /etc/lilo.conf and re-running /sbin/lilo. After doing
this, I rebooted without inserting the boot floppy, and fully expected
to see "LI" and nothing else, just like the last thousand times. Imagine
my astonishment when I saw "LILO" and the system started booting up! My
jaw almost dropped to the floor! Until this amazing thing happened I had
been ready to throw out Linux and go back to Windows, thinking that my
odd-ball hard drive was just too much for Linux. I'm glad I toughed it
out. With LILO working, I could finally throw my Windows 95 disk burning
party! Yeah!

However, now that I have a fix, I would like to know why it works. I
don't like mysteries! What is the technical explanation? Here's my
theory. LILO, as installed from the Linux installation CD onto my MBR,
is configured to make certain assumptions about the hard drive geometry.
One of these assumptions must have failed because I have an odd-ball
hard drive.

A bit of background is in order. My system is a 66MHz 486 which was
purchased in 1994. The original 350MB hard drive was replaced in 1996
with a Quantum 1.7GB drive. The original IDE controller card, as used by
DOS/Windows was not set up to work with drives larger than 500MB and
required a "hack" so that DOS/Windows would be able to access all 1.7GB.
The hack was provided by the vendors of the  drive in the form of a
program which installed a custom boot record on the MBR. This boot
record did something before loading DOS or Windows so that the entire
1.7GB would be transparently accessible to the OS.

The Linux installation replaced this hacked MBR with LILO. It worked
just fine when booting from a floppy, but would fail when booting off
the hard drive. I suspect that this is because when booting from a
floppy, the hard drive MBR was not used.

Can anyone confirm or deny my theory?

I hope this learning experience is of value to those other poor souls
who are looking at a screen that just says "LI".

Thanks again to everyone who responded to my post!

--
Rob Das
Athabasca, Alberta
Canada

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