Lilo -> NT Boot Loader

Niall Kavanagh NKavanagh at
Fri Feb 4 10:45:52 EST 2000

Sorry if this isn't helpful, but I'm coming in at the end of the

If you want, you can use the NT loader to boot linux. That way folks who are
likely to panic at the sight of a "lilo:" prompt will be in a comforting
environment. ;)

Here's a section from the min-HOWTO I'm writing on NT/Linux coexistence,
keep in mind it's targeted for newbies and may be in the context of an
initial installation!

Niall Kavanagh, niall at
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2.2.2 Using Microsoft's boot loader to boot your operating system(s)

When installing Linux, you may be presented will an opportunity to
  install LILO or another boot manager. Make sure you install LILO
  to the root linux partition and NOT the master boot record (MBR)!
  You only need to add your linux partition to the LILO boot menu,
  you will be loading Windows via the Windows boot loader. MAKE SURE
  you do not, or your installation doesn't offer you a chance to,
  see the ``References'' section for information on how to create

Once the installation has completed you can restart your system and
  boot into Windows. To boot linux, use the boot disk you created
  during the installation process. After booting linux, login as root
  and execute the following command at a shell prompt:

[/]# dd if=/dev/hda3 of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1

Where ``/dev/hda3'' is your root linux partition. This takes information
  on your linux boot sector and 

sticks it in /bootsect.lnx.

The next step is getting this information to Windows. Take your boot
  floppy out of your floppy drive and stick in a blank, formatted
  disk. Copy /bootsect.lnx with the following command:

[/]# mcopy /bootsect.lnx a:


[/]# mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt

[/]# cp /bootsect.lnx /mnt

[/]# umount /mnt

This mounts the floppy drive under /mnt, and unmounts it when you're
  finished copying it.

Now remove the floppy from the drive, and reboot into Windows. You're
  going to tell Windows's boot loader how to find your Linux partition
  by editing C:\boot.ini. Open up a command prompt and change to the
  root directory of C:. Insert the floppy containing bootsect.lnx.
  You'll need to copy bootsect.lnx, change the attributes of boot.ini
  so you can edit it, and edit boot.ini by executing these commands:

C:\>copy a:\bootsect.lnx c:\bootsect.lnx

C:\>attrib -s -r c:\boot.ini

C:\>edit c:\boot.ini

It should look something like this:

[boot loader]



[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT=''Windows NT Server Version

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT=''Windows NT Server 4.00 [VGA
mode]'' /basevideo /sos

Don't worry if it doesn't look exactly like this. If you can boot
  into Windows then it's just fine. Add the following line to the
  bottom of this file:


If you want Linux to be the default operating system (the one that
  loads after the timeout period specified by ``timeout='' has expired)
  change the ``default='' line:


Save the file and exit. You need to restore the attributes to boot.ini:

C:\>attrib +s +r c:\boot.ini

You should now reboot and check each option on your boot loader menu.
  Selecting ``Linux'' should load Linux.

Please note that if you change your linux boot sector (like when
  you compile and install a new kernel) you will need to create and
  copy a new bootsect.lnx file to your C:\ directory.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Peterson [mailto:rpeterson at]
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2000 10:02 AM
To: Chuck Noyes; discuss at Blu.Org
Subject: Re: Lilo -> NT Boot Loader

> > They configured it to dual-boot via lilo, which is odd.  My
> > understanding was that w/ NT, you had to use NT's boot loader.  I
> > still need NT for some of my work (sigh).

> Actually, I "dual boot" my desktop system using LILO, between Linux and
> When booting NT (which I very seldom do), LILO turns control over to the
> boot loader. From that point, it's identical to booting native NT.

Yeah, that's exactly what my laptop does.  Pretty neat.  I'm just afraid
someone at my office will turn my machine on sometime, then panic when
they see the Linux boot screen, not know how to turn it off, and just
hit the switch...:)

How did you get this to work?  If you install NT last, it grabs the boot
sector, no?  So you install NT first?  Then what?  I haven't seen this
method documented anywhere.  Is there a HOWTO or anything?

This is really just a curiosity question.  Not a really pressing issue
for me.

Ron Peterson
rpeterson at
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