How do I boot from my LINUX disk now that LILO or GRUB got wiped away?

I have Win XP on one hard disk, and and Mandrake Linux 10 on my second.

My Win system got clobbered when I tried to install SP2 (a longish story I’ ll likely make a pit thread about), so I had to restore it via the system restore disks that came with the PC. To make a long story short, my boot loader (I can’t recall if it was LILO or GRUB) got removed from the MBR.

I was going to make a LINUX boot floppy before I restored, but I forgot, dammit. I KNEW this was going to happen, but I was so preoccupied with getting my gigs of MP3s and other media off the disk it slipped my mind. And I backed up some stuff onto the LINUX disk which I cannot see.

Which bring me to my second question, why can’t I mount the LINUX disk to a drive in Windows and read it from Windows? I never had that working, but now I really need it to get those backed up files. It’s just a FAT32 drive IIRC.

My Google search failed to come up with an answer, but I’ll do more searching and update this thread if I find anything.


Most distributions have a “Rescue” option on their install media, that will boot a mimimal Linux system from either the CD or the floppies. From there, re-run lilo (possibly after mounting your Linux filesystem so you can have lilo use it’s lilo.conf file).

That’s great Metacom, I should have thought of that. I’ll check it out!

FYI I found a program to read my LINUX disk from Windows, explor2fs:

If it’s FAT32, you should be able to access it via Contron Panel - Admin Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management and mount the partition from there.

I tried that, it doesn’t give me the option to mount for the drive. I suppose that’s a good indication I was wrong about it being FAT32.

Which is too bad, because the program I mentioned before is failing to move the larger files I put there. I’ll have to burn them to CDs to get them back into Windows, I suppose. One if 800meg, I’ll have to see if I can break it into chunks in LINUX and reattach them in Windows. Pian in the butt… Maybe I’ll find a better prog that can handle these massive files.

What options does it give you, when you right-click the relevant partition?

Linux is usually Ext2, although some of the distributions have moved to Reiserfs. Windows likes to pretend such file systems don’t exist, because, well, Windows doesn’t use them. Who uses anything but Windows? :wink:

All the options are ghosted except “Delete Logical Drive” and “Help”. I’m pretty sure now that it’s Ext2, I kinda remember choosing that now that coffeecat jogged my memory.

As was mentioned, booting from CD in rescue mode should work. If not, try Knoppix (or smaller versions such as PuppyLinux or FeatherLinux) which fully boot from CD and mount (or make mountable) all disk partitions.

Booting from the distro disk did the trick, it had a a rescue option that was precisely what I needed, reloading LILO. Thanks all!

I still need to figure out a way to get those files that are bigger than a CD from the LINUX to the Windows partition.

Do you just have that one computer? If you have more then one, you can always (assuming they’re on or can be put on a network) copy the files to that computer from Linux, reboot into Windows, and then copy them over.

Nope, just the one dual-boot system.

Now that I know that it’s Ext2, a google search of “mount ext2 from Windows” comes up a lot of stuff. I’ll you all know if I get something that works well enough.

This one seems to be working:

Had to look in the forums for basic directions of use though, specifically here:

Since you got linux booting, you should also be able to do the opposite of mounting your linux drive from windows: mount your windows drive from linux (assuming it’s FAT or FAT32). Something like this:

$ mkdir /tmp/windrive
$ mount /dev/hda1 /tmp/windrive   [replace hda1 with the appropriate partition]
$ cp /home/revtim/some_big_file /tmp/windrive/

Thanks ntucker, but the disk in NTFS, which is already mounted in Linux but as far as I can tell cannot support writing. In any case, I was able to mount the Linux disk from Win XP with ext2fsd and copy the files over.

Capture-ntfs allowed me to mount my Windows XP partition (NTFS) to /mnt/windows and write to it. Very easy to set up.

Going the other way, mounting linux file system to Windows, I can’t help you with.