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  1. #1

    After Mandrake+Lilo install, only windows boots o_O

    Hello folks,

    These are my first steps in the linux universe, so i'm really a newbie here, even though I was an experienced windows user... So please, no long words
    I checked the threads of this forum, but found no thread related to the problem I have, so, here I come :o

    Let's get to the facts : my problem is that I installed a Mandrake Discovery 10.1 following the wizard's automatic config, that Lilo was installed, and yet at the reboot only windows loads.
    No Lilo, no linux.

    Now, more details :

    If that can help, here is the detailed structure of my hard disks after mandrake disco was installed. Click the URL for a picture
    - preparing the installation : On my primary master harddisk, a 30 GB HD, composed of a single partition (C: .), I resized C: to 15 GB, so that there would be a 15GB space free for Linux.
    - then the installation process began with a reboot with mandrake CD1 in the CD-rom drive.
    - at the partition&disk step, the wizard offered me three choices, and i chose to let it automatically use the free space. It didn't ask me anything more, and as planned (I checked it later with partition magic in windowsXP) it used the free space after c: on the primary master to install its three linux partitions.
    - the installation continued, all was fine, and in the end, it said it would reboot the system, and after that, lilo would load and I'd enter the marvelous linux world where geeks are smiling down on you... erm, excuse me, my imagination went unleashed.
    - the computer rebooted. And alas, it rebooted as if there was no Mandrake nor Lilo installed : POST, and then windowsXP loading. Not a single line about another boot loader, or about another operating system.

    - In case that would be a "bug that happens once in a lifetime", I repeated the process three times. Before each new attemps, using partition magic in windowsXP, I deleted the Mandrake partitions, resized c: to the full harddisk space (30 GB), and then resized it again to 15 GB, and checked the MBR was the same, just to make sure there was not a single trace left of Linux.
    Every of the 3 attempts, I had the same problem, no Lilo nor Linux.

    -> I have no idea how that went wrong, I don't know either how to solve this.

    I suspect one possibility, though.
    In the early days of windows98 (centuries ago, in IT years, I guess), I had read that Linux had to be installed in the first megs of the harddisk, just like Windows98 in fact. If that is still the case, then, my Mandrake being installed in the last 15 gigabytes of my hard disk, after 15 other gigabytes, I have my explanation.
    But that doesn't make sense, Mandrake's installer wouldn't install Mandrake into a place where it KNOWS it cannot be booted, can't it ?
    Besides, even if that was the case, isn't Lilo supposed to solve that by installing itself in the master boot record, thus in the very first clusters of the hard disk ?
    And if my suspiction is right, yet the problem remains, how could it be solved ?

    Thank you for your time if you can help me

  2. #2
    Some news, I checked a bit some sites that friends indicated me, and though that didn't work, I've new information :

    I have used Mandrake CD's "rescue" function, then chose the function of reinstallation of the boot loader Lilo, and then chose "Mount your partitions under /mnt" , as I had been adviced to do. The idea was that maybe Mandrake had not installed Lilo into the MBR.

    But that didn't change anything !
    Windows is still the only one to boot.

    With the operation I made, "rescue etcetera", Lilo should be booted forcibly, though, wouldn't it ?

  3. #3
    Another thing, after various tries : I used the "upgrade" function of the installation CD to skip the whole installation process and just modify the boot loader options and have them installed,
    and I have tried every possible option for the Mandrake boot loaders : lilo text or graph, grub, force for or enable that, tried asking it to be mounted on every possible disk.
    That never worked anyway.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Did you try installing LiLO to the MBR. That is where LiLo needs to be.
    LiLo can boot Windows, but you have to jump through hoops to get ntldr to boot Linux. I am not sure even then if it would work.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  6. #5
    Thank you Budman for your reply

    I tried plenty of times to install Lilo.
    Maybe Lilo is installed and maybe not, all I can say is that I tried installing it in three ways :
    - through a complete installation into a completely empty partition, the active partition of hda1 (my first attempts were not on hda1 but on hda4 on a disk whose second part contained an NTFS boot windows partition, for hda1-hda4 explanations cf the bottom of my post)
    - through a repair-mandrake-install-cd-boot, using the option to fix the boot loader, and it including mounting again the volumes
    - through an update-mandrake-install-cd-boot process, I tried various Lilo installation options. I tried every of the options, tried installing it Lilo on every of the partitions of the disks (hda1 up to the last hd#)

    BUT : I honestly do not know if Lilo has been installed also into the MBR in these attempts. I do not know how to check for that.

    More information : alas my floppy disk reader seems to be down, so I can't put Lilo into a floppy and boot the floppy.

    Besides, a thing that worries me is that the hda1 is not the primary master of the motherboard, oh no, hda1 is the primary master among the hard disks plugged into my controller card, that card being plugged into a PCI plug, and the card-controller-disks being recognized by the bios as Raid disks, though they are not Raid.
    With MSWindowsXP too, the "disk1" is that same hda1 disk, while the primary master of my motherboard is only the 4th disk, cf that picture :

    Maybe the cause of the problem lies somewhere in this... Who knows, my searches on the web seem to produce no results, I didn't find yet someone with the same problem as me after plenty of time spend in google or yahoo search engines.
    Thanks very much if you can help me, o dear reader

  7. #6
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    I honestly don't know what could be happening here.
    When you install Mandrake or any distro for that matter, it should give you the option of where and which bootloader you want.
    I will install Mandrake myself on one of my empty partitions to see what optios are there.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  8. #7
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    O.K I installed it, and it gave me 4 options.
    Install to the MBR
    Install to the root partition
    Install to a floppy

    This was Mandrake 10.1 Official. You said yours was Discovery. I read on the mandrake website that it is for beginners. The only thing I can think of is that Discovery wants to be in the system by itself(but, that doesn't make any sense).
    You can get Mandrake 10.1 Official from here.
    And that hopefully should solve any problems.

    If you don't have a cd burner go to
    You can get it real cheap.

    Hope this helps.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  9. #8
    I will download and install the 10.1 official version, then, i'm downloading it from the website you told me - very useful website

    I was wondering what might be the official version, as compared to the versions on sale on mandrake's website, and finally the answer came : . I suppose that means i'll have the choice to say what version I want or something like that.

    As a complete Linux newbie i'd have prefered a pure discovery version, but i'll do my best with that version, if it turns out to be a powerpack version ^^

    I don't think i'll have finished downloading the iso too soon, it might take 24 hours.
    I'll reply after I have tried installing it. I hope the option "install it into MBR" that I miss so much will be present !
    Who knows, we'll see !

    Once again, thank you for your time, Budman

  10. #9
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    The powerpack versions were for sale.
    And no, you shouldn't have any problem with Mandrake 10.1.
    From what I have seen, Mandrake is a good distro for newbies.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  11. #10
    Problem solved ^___^
    I downloaded and installed that official version on a formatted disk, and all things went fine this time.

    I'm still uncertain as to what exactly solved the problem, though.
    Two possilities :

    - before, with my discovery version, i tried installing lilo into every partition offered, meaning that at the end of install, when the boot wouldn't load lilo, i would reboot with the installation cd, and then chose to upgrade my install, and then chose to install lilo into the next partition. You can call that an incremental installation of lilo, on every partition after another.
    I might have forgotten to install Lilo into the right partition, skipping the right partition.
    Indeed, having 3 hard drives on my controller card, and Linux placing them first, before my IDE-motherboard drives, that induces some confusion. For Linux, HDA1 is the primary master of my controller card, while for me, hda1 should be the motherboard's primary IDE master. That the motherboard primary master was something like hde1 made things complicated.

    - Simply, that official DVD version succeeded in putting Lilo into the MBR, while the other volumes wouldn't manage to do that...

    Who knows !

    I've been pretty enjoying my time, learning plenty, since Mandrake was installed.
    And i've got even more to learn

    See you later on this board maybe ^__^

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