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Linux Won't Reboot After Crash Recovery (LI)
LI LILO LINUX boot reboot mbr boot track recoveredge
Product Release(s)
02.01.0x 02.00.0x 01.02.0x 01.01.08
Operating System(s)
Linux (glibc)
Linux (libc)
Problem Description
After recovering my linux system with RecoverEDGE, I get 'LI' where the LILO prompt should be.
This message indicates that LILO has been incorrectly installed. Most likely, it is caused by not rerunning LILO after the restore. It can also be caused on systems that once had LILO installed on the MBR, but have since been converted to run LILO on a partition boot track instead. Note that the latter case indicates an incorrect procedure was used to make the switch.
Two cases arise:

(1) Your system is configured to install LILO on the MBR. In this case, boot to the recovery media, Select Utilites, and 'Exec LILO'. Do NOT select 'Write Boot Record' -- this will almost always cause the error you're trying to fix. If this doesn't work, proceed to step (3).

(2) Your system is configured to install LILO onto an individual partition's boot track. The first step in this case is the same as above; use the recovery diskettes to run Utilities:Exec LILO. However, you also should run 'Write Boot Record' to rewrite the MBR.

If (2) does not work, it may be the case that the MBR stored on the floppy diskettes contains LILO. In this case, you'll want to get a new one from the restored system. To do this, boot to the diskettes, select Utilites: Shell, and run:

mount -r /dev/sda1 /mount (replace /dev/sda1 with the name of the device holding the filesystem which contains the information in /boot).

Then run
ls -l /mount
and look for a file called (usually) virgin.mbr. This is a 'normal' MBR file. If you find it, run the following:
cat /mount/virgin.mbr >/boot_block
Then exit the shell, and select Utilities:Write Boot Record . Reboot, and your system should function properly. If not, continue to (3).

(3) If neither of the above helps you, then it is most likely an issue with LBA mode. To modify this, you'll need to boot up under the recovery media. Be sure to load the Misc Disks if you're using floppy diskettes using the Utilities:Load Disks option. Then select Utilities:Shell . Then mount all your filesystems under /mount. For example, to mount the root filesystem, try the following:
mount /dev/sda1 /mount
Note that you should replace /dev/sda1 with the device node that holds your root filesystem. Be sure to mount /boot if it is not included in your root filesystem (if an ls -l /mount/boot does not list any files, your /boot filesystem is separate from your root filesystem, and must be mounted before you continue).

Now run:
vi /mount/etc/lilo.conf
to edit the lilo.conf file on your hard drive. If it contains the 'linear' keyword, try removing it. If it does not, add it near the top (before the first image= or other= line).

Finally, run:
lilo -r /mount
to reinstall LILO. Be SURE to UNMOUNT YOUR FILESYSTEMS in the reverse order you mounted them (i.e., umount /dev/sda1 would be last in the above example).

One way to find yourself in this situation is to change your lilo.conf file to install LILO onto (e.g.) /dev/sda1 with a boot=/dev/sda1 line, when it used to be installed on /dev/sda as the MBR. If you make this change and rerun LILO, your system will seem to work properly, but rebooting can be a challenge if you modify the contents of the /boot directory (even if you rerun LILO after doing so). This is because LILO has NOT been uninstalled from the MBR, and is continuing to function as before. The new installation of LILO on /dev/sda1 is having no effect on your system whatsoever. Unfortunately, the LILO on the mbr is not being updated when you run lilo, so it will eventually fail when /boot changes sufficiently.

Newer versions of RecoverEDGE (01.01.08 build 6 and later) will warn you if it detects that your system is probably in this situation.

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Last Updated - 2022/01/03