Problems with lilo on a new machine

ME dugan at
Sat Feb 10 09:29:58 PST 2001

On Sat, 10 Feb 2001, Cameron Tully-Smith wrote:
> I just installed RedHat Linux 6.2 Deluxe on a new machine (Award 
> BIOS).  The machine has a 45GB UDMA IDE Western Digital Caviar hard disk, 
> 512MB of RAM and an Athlon 750 processor.  The motherboard is an Epox EP-7KXA.
> I'm getting "Primary master hard disk fail" when I try to boot off of the 
> hard disk.  The Linux install went fine and the machine's setup is set to 
> use "Auto" (I could manually override and choose LBA, Large or 
> Normal).  The machine boots fine with a boot diskette that was created 
> during the Linux install and I'm able to use the hard disk with no problems.
> I've already tried uninstalling and reinstalling lilo (i.e., lilo -u and 
> then lilo) and changing the boot device to /dev/hda1 instead of /dev/hda in 
> /etc/lilo.conf.
> Filesystems:
> /		~8GB
> /root		~2.8GB
> /usr/local	~15GB
> <swap>	~2GB
> /home		~15GB
> drive capacity that's being recognized is around 42GB
> Any suggestions on where to look on the web or on things to try would be 
> greatly appreciated.  The machine is running fine other than the booting 
> problem, so I'd rather not reload if I can avoid it (takes hours to make 
> the filesystems on this drive, though I could probably at least partially 
> avoid that for a reload, so it's not out of the question).
> Thanks in advance for any help.
> Cameron
> lpstudy at

Not so likely, but something to check: some complete systems (odd
vendors) would also include a partition on the hard disk to store BIOS
Settings. If this is deleted, then the drive won't boot, and other
hardware won't be recoginized. This requires that you boot off a fectory
floppy to restore the partition on the HD with the BIOS information.

Another problem that existed before with LILO (don't know if it has been
fixed) is the location of the root file system ("/") with in the first
1024 cylss and storage of the kernel within that root filesystem on the
first 1024 cyls.

Another place to look: did you use any geometry translation programs from
the HD to allow your MB BIOS to recognize the larger sized HD?

Can you boot off of the emergency boot disk , and specify
"root=/dev/hda1" (If the first partition on the master drive of the 
primary ide interface has your root partiton.) If starting a linux kernel
on from other media and referencing the root partition of the drie that
has linux allows the machine to boot, then that is a very god sign that
your HD has not failed.

Not likely: have you exceeded the max wattage for your power supply? (You
could add up all of the power consumed by your devices, but a less
reliable way it to see that you are not using many splitters for the power
connections and extra hardware.

Someone else here or at an install fest was mentioning problems with some
Award BIOS, but I do not recall what they said, or who they were.

Does the MB BIOs correctly recognize the HD by size an geometry?


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