View Full Version : mandrake (lilo) cannot boot to other OS when linux hd is not connected

10 October 2004, 02:39 AM
i am having trouble here and need some answer, hopefully someone will know something about it

i installed linux (mandrake 10.1) on a usb mobile hard drive, no problem
boot loader is on my system disc which is laptop`s c drive

i start my system , boot loader comes up, i select linux and opens system just fine
i restart my system i select win xp home from lilo menu, and it starts no problem.
everything was going fine until i disconnected my usbb hard drive, i was hoping that lilo/grub would pick up the default boot and load it (which is windows)

but it does not, it does not even give me any menu , it just shows some numbers in this case alot of 7s ) on the screen. and when i try grub , it just freezes

so far only option i have is having usb harddrive attached to my laptop.
but i am looking for a solution, what should i do?

i try to find a bootloader on a cd , but no luck or stuff was really technical. I was hoping to find an iso image that i could burn to cd and use it as a bootloader
and then i would remove linux boot from windows boot and have windows only until i use usb hard drive and magic cd.

or totally fix this probolem of lilo/grub freezing in case of lacking linux harddrive (but actual windows harddrive is there and windows is there, and i even changed boot order to windows for default)

i was warming up well with linux, i am hoping that this is not gonna dynamite my efforts fo moving to Linux. ( i need windows for sometime thou, i use alot of professional modelling animation softwares on windows, hopefully it will change)

btw linux is an alien world to me, i can do some with windows but have no idea about how to make things work with linux yet, so i would like fi answers are little gentil

thank you

10 October 2004, 04:07 AM
Ew.. Lilo.. I would try to reinstall Mandrake using Grub as the boot loader instead of Lilo, Grub is newer. And make sure it installs Grub to the MBR of your system drive. Grub should not care if a drive isn't connected unless you select that OS. I coul'd be wrong though, I have only done it across multiple drives and not with a USB drive.

You can try to install grub over lilo, but since your a n00b to linux, I don't know if you want to try that or not.

10 October 2004, 04:12 AM
actaally i had grub on bootloader as well, i changed to grub from lilo within mandrake.but grub failed too.

10 October 2004, 06:10 AM
I assume you dont have the boot partition on the system drive do you?

This is why you cant boot without the USB hard drive. Even tho the bootloader its self is contained within the MBR on the system disk, the actual configuration files, and other data the boot loader NEEDS, is on the /boot partition. Which, in the most likely case I can figure from what you have described, is located on the USB HD. Simply having the /boot partition stored on your main system disk (doesnt need to be any larger than 32 megs or so) should fix the problem. And I'd go with Grub ;)

EDIT: However, you wont be able to have grub, or lilo for that, determin that the "drive is not present" and default to the other OS. Unless, of cource, you set the default OS to boot to windows ;) Then regardless of weather or not the USB drive is connected it should boot.

EDIT2: The other option to all of this is to create a boot floppy. Im pretty sure Mandrake has the tools.. It also should have been an option to create one during the install process.

10 October 2004, 06:22 AM
thank you for your answer,
i realize that that was the case, but i just did not know better . i reinstalled linux on usb harddrive including bootloader, now it works like charm. i can even define boot order from bios, in case both hds are present. i am actually impressed that installing linux could have been this easy, even after those troubles

10 October 2004, 06:37 AM
;) you're lucky your laptop lets you boot off USB. Not all machines boot USB.

Thats probably the best solution.

10 October 2004, 06:23 PM
Mandrake Distro...


Sounds like you need to use MandrakeMove (

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