View Full Version : LILO Setup

04-02-2005, 01:41 PM
I got an hdd install, Win98 on hda1, Lin on hda2. Win98 on MBR

When my comp starts it shows "MBR" before booting Windows, if i press a key within that much time, i get options MBR12 ie MBR or 1 or 2 I press g f a then i get options 1234F i choose 2 it starts lilo, then its normal lilo'ing.......

Now can anyone explain the process before lilo, and how i can increase the time the "MBR" message remains over there?

04-03-2005, 04:56 AM
Ummmm, the Win98 forum is over there :D

Here's what happens when you fire up a PC:

First, the (essentially) non-volatile RAM is activated - the BIOS. (Sometimes it's possible to flash a new BIOS, but since the companies have to write a different one for each chipset combination for each motherboard for each manufacturer, the chances of getting an upgrade for legacy hardware are, as we say Out West, slim and none - and Slim just left town.)

The BIOS tries to figure out just whose computer it woke up in this time, looking for basic hardware and running a Power-On Self-Test. Then it hands off what it knows (which is darned little) to the boot loader in the MBR.

The MBR is only 512 bytes, and part of that is the partition table. You can't get much done in that space, so any competent loader capable of multibooting has to have a second (and sometimes third) stage stored somewhere else.

Different loaders put this in different places, but in the name of the gods of software I beg you to avoid Boot Magic (bundled with Partition Magic), which uses extra space in the File Allocation Tables for storage. That just ain't right.

So it's Win98's bootloader that you have to figure out in order to get more time. Its next step, when you go to boot Knoppix, is to hand off to the boot loader stored in the Linux' Partition Boot Sector, which has the same kind of space constraints as the MBR.

Doing things this way, having one bootloader hand off to another, is called chaining them together. And when you have only two operating systems, it's really overkill. I'd suggest writing LILO (or GrUB) to the MBR - they'll make a backup of the Winloader that can be restored if you feel like it later, and there's much more help available for configuring these than there is for Win98. :D

And remember, too, that any mistakes you might make that cause your system to be - oh, say, unbootable :shock: - can be easily fixed by booting with the Knoppix CD and hacking away with more powerful tools than Microsoft trusts you with. We'll even help you with that! :D

-- Ed