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I was paranoid and skeptical when I began using Linux. My paranoia and skepticism about Windows made me persist in trying to learn to use Linux. The ability to boot multiple operating systems using LILO helped me to get over the worry. Since my knowledge then was even less than now, I simply followed the HOWTO as a cookbook. If you are going to multi-boot, please read the information about it at The Linux Documentation Project home page before you begin.

The computer I use the most is no longer set up to multi-boot, and none that I have boot more than two operating systems. The following is an example of the flexibility of LILO that kept me going early on. It is presented only for entertainment, because LILO has not stood still in the intervening time.


boot=/dev/hda                     # lilo stored on MBR
map=/boot/map
install=/boot/boot.b
prompt                            # display "Lilo:" prompt
timeout=50                        # wait 5 seconds for choice
other=/dev/hda1                   # OS on 1st partition, 1st ide hd
         label=win95b             # boot win95b
         table=/dev/hda
image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.0.36-0.7
         label=linux              # boot Redhat 5.2
         root=/dev/hda2           # from 2nd partition, 1st ide hd
         initrd=/boot/initrd-2.0.36-0.7.img
         read-only
other=/dev/hdb1                   # OS on 1st partition, 2nd ide hd
         label=dos                # boot MSDOS 6.22
         map-drive = 0x80         # fool the BIOS and DOS,
              to = 0x81           # re-map the 1st ide drive to
         map-drive = 0x81         # the second, and vice versa
              to = 0x80
         table=/dev/hdb           # use partition table on 2nd ide
image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.0.36-0.7
         label=slack              # boot Slackware 3.31
         root=/dev/hdb2           # from 2nd partition, 2nd ide hd
         initrd=/boot/initrd-2.0.36-0.7.img
         read-only

Isn't that a mouthful? But it allowed booting four different operating systems installed on two different hard drives. Actually two of the operating systems were Linux, just different distributions and ages. There was an even earlier time when I booted OS/2 Warp 3.0 along with Windows 95a, Linux (Redhat 4.2 and later Slackware 3.2) and DRDOS 6.0.

Multi-booting helps in transition. But I don't recommend it for efficiency. You spend a lot of time just looking at the boot-up process and the bios sign-on. Be sure to save a backup of your existing /etc/lilo.conf as well as reading the up to date documentation before you start to play.