How I solved my LILO problem ( 'LI then hangs')

How I solved my LILO problem ( 'LI then hangs')

Post by Brett Bol » Tue, 13 Dec 1994 13:07:56

My problem:

  When I boot linux, I just get LI, the computer hangs.

My Hardware:

  2 (full) IDE drives running on a caching disk controller
  1 SCSI 1.1 GB drive running on buslogic 445c controller
  .. other stuff illrelavant..

My setup:

  I use boot manager to select between os2 ( for serious work),
    linux ( for play and internet access [ although warp is
    edging linux out now since it's web explorer is out]),
    and, err, dos ( Hey, sometimes you just gotta DOOM).

  The SCSI drive was setup as follows:

    sda1 was an extended partition whose last cylinder was
    less than 1023. about 700 MB.

    sda2 was a 200 mg FAT parition. starts at lowest cylinder

    sda5 was my root partition ( 80 MB)

    sda6 was my swap parition ( 32 MB)

    sda7 was my /usr partition ( 200 MB)

    sda8 was my /home partition ( the rest )

    plus some unused area at the end.


  I was running slackware 2.0.1 just fine.  I spent about a
  week ( seriously folks) downloading slackware 2.1.  When I
  installed it, LILO would just hang.

  I querried the net for assistance, and received some.  Almost
  all said I had to change my partitions in some manner.  One
  fellow identified exactly what LI meant ( something like
  "second stage loader unsuccessfull, probably due to drive
  geometry mismatch ...." ).

  I thought this was odd, because It worked before, and I thought
  you could ignore all of the geometry *with scsi.

  I ran fips from dos ( which reports drive geometry, as well as shrinks
  dos partitions), and got the geometry.

  Additionally, I found more FMTR ( I hate it when people respond
  with simply "Hey RTFM.", there are so many manuals to read, at
  least point to a starting place).  This one was in the lilo directory
  ( /usr/bin/lilo/.. ). This manual is where the information is
  about lilo startup errors.

  I tried installing lilo
        1) sda5 - where it worked before. The manual was unclear
              that it would work in an extended partition of the
              second ( actually third ) drive.  When I started
              the upgrade, I positively know that it DID work.

        2) sda - i disconnected my IDE, installed it to sda ( ie the
              MBR), and still had the same problem.

  One thing i did find is that linux's fdisk reports some problems
  with my partitions:

      Partition does not start/end at a partition boundry

      physical partition does not match logical partition - one of
        the physical partition numbers, I think it was the cylinder
        count, was twice the reported value.

  With this I concluded that I really do have some partition
  troubles.  I remember playing around with the 'DOS >1GB' flag on
  my scsi controller board.  I tried setting it ON/OFF, and still
  had the same trouble.  

  I very much did not want to start all over from scratch,
  so I came up with a clever solution ( IMHO, anyway).

My solution ( finally ):

  I used fips to shrink my dos partition ( sda2 ) and created a new
  primary partion ( sda3 ) that was 40 mb.  I installed a minimal
  installation ( A and D disk set, but only A is needed) from my
  slakware 2.0.1 distribution ( the previous one that worked )

  Then I installed lilo, calling the old kernal 'linuxM'.
  It booted just fine.  

  Now comes the tricky part.  I moved the kernal ( vmlinuz ) from the
  newer 2.1 linux on sda5 to the primary partition sda3, and named
  it to vmlinux.1.1.59.  

  Next I added a 'stanza' in lilo.conf to allow me to boot the new
  kernal,  but use sda5 as the root.  I called this one simply 'linux'.


  Next I added the partition to boot manager.  

  WALAA everything is fine.

  Basically what i did is added a MAINTAINCE BOOT PARTITION.  Now I
  will always be able to boot from it, no matter how bad i mess up
  my linux root partition ( sda5 that is).

  Even if you dont have LILO problems, It is probably a *GOOD IDEA*
  it install one of these.

  Hope It helps.  If any needs more info ( my lilo.conf file, etc),
  email me.  Post it if you feel lucky ( I read my email daily,
  news is a lower priority).

  Good luck

    b\253  aka  brett bolen

Brett Bolen
Walrus Consulting


1. HD Boot doesn't want to run LILO (I see 'LI')

I am setting up an older PC as a firewall and cannot get it to boot off of
the hard drive.

I had this problem with an older 386 and figured that it was just the
machine dying slowly.  Now, I am setting up a 486-100 and see the same

When I boot up the machine all goes well until LILO wants to start.  I only
see "LI" and then nothing else.  What gives?  Anybody have any ideas?


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