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LILO configuration and usage

If this were the first time that you installed Linux, you probably, would have

gone the dual-boot way. But you do need a boot manager that will allow you to

switch between the different OS' installed on your system. Linux provides LILO

( LInux LOader ). This is a very simple but flexible boot manager. I use it to

boot multiple OS' and to check out various Linux kernels.

When your computer starts up, the BIOS executes a bootstrap program which lies

in the Master Boot Record (MBR) of your first hard drive or your floppy. The

MBR lies on the first sector of this device. The job of the bootstrap program

is to locate and load the operating system. If you're using Linux then this

will go out at boot and load the kernel into memory. LILO can take over this

job and also act as your boot manager.

Ok, after that short introduction, let's move on to LILO. You're first

encounter with LILO will be at the time of installation. You will be asked

where you want to install it. The options given are MBR or the root partition

of your Linux installation. Your choice will be based on your setup. There are

other boot managers are available like Boot Magic and System Commander and you

might want to use one of these instead. They're a lot easier to configure if

you have multiple OS' on your machine. If so, then choose the second option.

If, however, you do want to use LILO as your boot manager, you should choose

the first option. Also choose this option if you want to pass certain

parameters to the kernel at boot. This might be required for troublesome

hardware configurations or if you need to feed the kernel some pre-defined

parameters at boot.

If you chose to use LILO then you can read on. At boot, you will see a prompt

that looks like 'LILO:'. Press the Tab key to see a list of the operating

systems that you can boot into. Type in the label of the one you want and

press enter or just press enter to boot the default choice.

Once you boot into Linux, you need to take a look at the LILO configuration

file. This could be any file but by default LILO will check for

/etc/lilo.conf. Open this file and you will see something like the following.

boot = /dev/hda

vga = normal



default = dos

timeout = 30


image = /boot/vmlinuz

label = linux

root = /dev/hda2

initrd = /boot/initrd