LILO config for multiple hard drive setup

Bill maltby - LFS Related lfsbill at
Sun Oct 6 23:09:36 PDT 2002

On Mon, 7 Oct 2002, Bob Kimmel wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: lfs-support-bounce at
> > [mailto:lfs-support-bounce at]On Behalf Of The Cheeze
> > Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 1:05 AM
> > To: lfs-support at
> > Subject: LILO config for multiple hard drive setup
> > 
> > 
> > Firstly, let me say that I have been wondering for a while on how to do
> > <snip>

> > guide it talks about how to set up LILO. If I were to set up lfs on hdb
> > from an install of debian 2.2r6 on hda and were then to remove hda from
> > the computer, would that pose problems booting because LILO is in the
> > <snip>

> If it is anything like my system, you will have to change jumpers on
> hdb to make it master instead of slave, after removing hda.  Not only

On "newer" systems, you can use the BIOS setup screen to tell it to boot
from other than primary disks. But, more importantly, if hda is removed,
the BIOS should assign 0x80 to the first IDE drive it is able to find. So
this would become the boot device regardless of jumper settings. As long
as the IDE port is active and the BIOS says try other devices, or similar,
it should find it.

However, you would need to do a couple of things first. Get lilo to put
boot blocks on hdb. See man lilo for info. Look especially for bios= and
boot= settings, which are germaine to your problem. Addidtional help is
found by searching the LFS archives for the posting by John McGinn about
making HDs that will go into another system. Some of the same hints he
offeres there will apply to this problem.

Second, after you have your boot blocks on hdb, _before_removing_hda_,
boot with hdb as root and run lilo again. Be sure that you tell lilo to
put the blocks on hdb again. Change your BIOS to boot from IDE-1 (the
second drive - IDE-0 is the first) and give it a shot. If that works, shut
down, remove power from hda and try again. If that works, you are

Keep in mind that regardless of BIOS, number of HDs and so on, Linux will
see HDs in fixed positions. IOW, IDE0 master is always hda, slave is hdb
and IDE1 master is hdc and slave is hdd. BIOS, OTOH, always dynamically
assigns and skips CD (unlike Linux). The first drive seen is assigned to
C: (device 0x80), the next HD is D: and so on.

> will the mbr be gone, but hdb will be renamed hda, meaning any
> reference to hdb in /etc/lilo.conf will have to be changed.  But maybe
> <snip>

> BK

Bill Maltby
billm at

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