Feb 032004

I keep seeing this in my referer logs, so here goes:

If you’re seeing “LI 99 99 99 99 99 99 99” (99 ad infinitum) when you turn your computer on, LILO (the Linux Loader for the uninitiated) is fucked. You’ll either need to use a boot disc (you did make one when you installed that new kernel, right?), or reinstall. When it happened to me, I reinstalled. I didn’t lose that much (aside from my custom /etc/aliases file), but I could have, had I not managed my discs and partitions properly.

If you DO have a boot disc, I can’t tell you exactly what to try , but here’s some ideas:

  • boot with the disc, and reinstall lilo (once it’s up, rerun lilo using your /etc/lilo.conf on your “real” / partition)
  • Once you’ve booted, make a copy of that boot floppy and keep booting off the original until it irritates you enough to fix the problem
  • boot with the floppy, then install GRUB.

Incidentally, I think that third options’ your best bet. I really like grub. it’s a lot more flexible if you mistype the kernel image name (allowing you to re-enter the information on the fly on boot). You also only need to write it to the boot sector when you install it, and when you upgrade it. Unlike LILO, where you need to rewrite the MBR or partition boot sector every time you recompile your kernel.

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