Removing LiLo

  interzone55 20:34 27 Dec 2004

anyone have any idea how to remove the Linux Loader Lilo.
I have XP Pro on my main drive (c:) and Mandrake 10 on my slave drive (e:). Lilo resides on e: and invokes either Xp pro or mandrake.

I'm getting rid of the e: drive and replacing it with a new, bigger drive but won't be immediately replacing Mandrake. If I remove the e: drive the system won't boot, as it's looking for Lilo, so I need to make my system boot from c:, anyone any idea how to do this? I have my original XP Pro cd if this is needed.


  ashdav 20:44 27 Dec 2004

go into mandrake and disable lilo before you remove the e drive. Make sure your bios is set to boot from c drive. I had exactly the same situation. I think lilo is installed on your c drive anyway otherwise it would not be accessed when the computer boots.

  John-259217 23:41 27 Dec 2004

Lilo changes the Master Boot Record (MBR) on your C: drive so that it points to the Lilo configuration files in the Mandrake installation on your E: drive.

You need to restore the original Windows XP MBR to your C: drive if you want the system to boot up as it did without Lilo.

This is done from the recovery console available on the WinXP cd.

To quote from the book "The Recovery Console is not for the faint of heart" so read what follows carefully before you decide to try it.

Boot the computer from the WinXP cd and follow the setup prompts until you reach the Welcome To Setup screen, press R to start the recovery console.

If your WinXP cd is an oem version provided by the system manufacturer it may have a different setup routine which excludes the step above, be carefull here as it will enter directly into a fresh installation, not what you want!

Assuming you are able to start the recovery console you will see a startup menu asking you to enter the number of the Windows Installation you want to log onto. Enter the number (probably 1) press return then enter your administrator password when asked.

You now have a command prompt available which allows you to perform simple operations on the system (type help at the prompt for a list if your interested).

The command you need to type is "fixmbr" (without quotes). This will overwrite the MBR with the original XP one.

You will probably see a warning saying that you appear to have a corrupt or non-standard MBR (eg Lilo) do you wish to continue. Answer yes as required.

Now type exit and allow the system to reboot as normal. If your lucky all will be well, however Lilo can sometimes be stubborn to get rid of taking several attempts at fixmbr and the use of a further command, fixboot which writes fresh boot info on your XP partition.

If these steps fail to work correctly you may be left unable to start Windows at all, or Mandrake if you reconnected your E: drive. Its sometimes possible at this point to repair Lilo from a Linux console and restore the system to dual boot setup but not surprisingly this can be quite tricky (understatement!).

If the above hasn`t put you off, I wish you good luck and as ever back up anything vital before you start.


  interzone55 14:50 28 Dec 2004

Thanks for the info John
After getting to Recovery Console and giving myself a hearty pat on the back for remembering my administrator password I had a horrible thought...

my C: drive is partitioned into c:\ for OS & software and d:\ for data, music & all my downloads.

Will fixmbr recreat my partition table & therefore lose the d:\ partition. I've had a good google for fixmbr and can find nowhere that explicitly states what to di in my situation. I don't have a DVD writer, so can't back everything up just at the moment.

  John-259217 19:32 28 Dec 2004

erm, the short answer is I don`t know - however as I suspect that isn`t what you wanted to hear I`ll try and find out.

You are correct in thinking that both the MBR and the partition table are both contained on the first sector of the first hard drive on the system so therefore a problem could occur.

I`ll set up a second partition on one of my systems then run fixmbr and let you know the result.


  interzone55 19:58 28 Dec 2004

Wow, thanks for that!!

  bremner 20:02 28 Dec 2004

Have a look at this click here

At the end it shows how to remove from within Linux as well as via Windows

  John-259217 20:18 28 Dec 2004

Ok on a P4 system running XP home I created a second NTFS partition with Partition Magic.

Running fixmbr produced the expected non-standard MBR warning (in this case the Partition Magic one), allowing a new MBR to be written and exiting the system then rebooted normally.

The second partition and the test files I`d placed on it were all fine so it seems fixmbr is able to allow for partitioning.

I should caution that my systems are backed up to a network server using Drive Image 7 and data further backed up by DVD writer. In otherwords I`m not bothered at all if they fail! These facts alone seem to greatly improve the chances of any "fixes" working as expected.

The law of sod may well apply in your case namely the more important it is for something to work, the less the chance that it will.

As before, if you try it, good luck


  interzone55 20:33 28 Dec 2004

Thanks John

That has done the trick. I think that I'm going to stop messing around with Linux installations as it's a nightmare sorting out the mess whenever I cock anything up, or as is the case this time, have to replace a hard disk. I'm now going to opt for one of the CD based "live" distro's, I've just got Suse 9.2 on PCWs coverdisk, so I'll try that with a USB pendrive for data & settings, at least it won't all end in tears if things go tits up, i'll just reboot...

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