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