Removing the Linux LILO Boot Manager

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 171611 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q171611
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page


This article describes how to remove the LILO boot manager from the Master Boot Record (MBR).


When Linux is installed on your computer, it allows a dual boot by loading a boot manager called LILO directly into the MBR. To remove LILO, perform the following steps:

If Linux is Still Installed

Run LILO with either the -u or -U switch. The device name has to be the second parameter.
  • For example, if LILO is installed to the MBR of the master drive on the primary IDE controller, the command would be:
    lilo -u /dev/hda
    Where dev is the device directory, hd indicates an IDE hard drive, and a indicates the master on the primary IDE channel.

  • To use with a SCSI drive, run lilo -u /dev/sda where sd indicates a SCSI drive and a indicates the first drive in the chain.
  • If there are multiple partitions on the drive, indicate the partition number for LILO to uninstall by adding a number corresponding to the partition number on the drive, starting the count at 1 (not 0). For example, the following command removes LILO from the first SCSI drive, first partition:
    lilo -u /dev/sda1
    NOTE: The sda indicator has nothing to do with the SCSI ID number.

If Linux is Not Installed

NOTE: The following procedure is not supported by Microsoft and is done strictly at the discretion of the user. Microsoft assumes no liability for lost or corrupted data. This procedure should be done only as a last resort.

IMPORTANT: fdisk /mbr removes the disk signature from the MBR. If this drive is a member of a Windows fault tolerance set, it will no longer be recognized as a member of that set.
  1. Use the Windows Resource Kit Disksave.exe utility to back up the MBR and boot sector.
  2. Boot to MS-DOS and type the following:
    fdisk /mbr
  3. Restart your computer.
The computer should start normally. If the computer does not start normally, boot to an MS-DOS boot disk and run Disksave again to restore the MBR and boot sector. You may also need to run Fdisk to specify the new active partition to boot.

The only difference between the two switches is that -u checks the time stamp on the current MBR and the backed-up one, whereas -U does not check the time stamp at all.

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.


Article ID: 171611 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kb3rdparty kbsetup KB171611

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from