The loadlin Loader

Another way of booting Linux is by using loadlin, an MS-DOS program that can load a Linux kernel. To load Linux, loadlin relies on MS-DOS rather than your system’s BIOS; therefore, loadlin can load a kernel stored beyond cylinder 1023. More generally, it can load a kernel from any filesystem or location accessible to MS-DOS.

However, loadlin cannot be run from a DOS Prompt window within Windows 3.x or 9x. You must start your system in MS-DOS mode in order for loadlin to work. By making the proper entries to your config.sys file, you can create a convenient boot menu that lets you boot MS-DOS, Windows, or Linux. Because Windows 2000 does not provide an MS-DOS mode, you cannot use loadlin with Windows 2000.

Installing loadlin

The loadlin program is found in the /dosutils directory of the Red Hat Linux CD-ROM (Disc 1) (obtain CD material online at The loadlin program must have access to the file containing the Linux kernel you want to boot. The easiest way to get this file onto your Windows system is to boot Linux, make sure the Windows filesystem that corresponds to the Windows C: drive is mounted, and copy the kernel file. The following commands assume that your Windows filesystem is mounted as /mnt/c and that you want to store the kernel in the directory c:\linux:

mkdir /mnt/c/linux
cp /boot/vmlinuz /mnt/c/linux/vmlinuz

The loadlin program needs to know the identity of your Linux root partition. To learn the name of ...

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