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(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
LinuxCare, http://www.linuxcare.com/

(?) Uninstalling Linux

From Victor Turner on Mon, 11 Oct 1999

Hi - hope you can help me,

I found and read your answer to how to uninstall Linux [dated 18th Dec

1998 from Tom Monaghan] - which related to uninstalling Red Hat Linux 5.2 - and thinking that I could use the info you gave in the answer to remove & uninstall my version of Linux which is Caldera open Linux 2.2, I followed the instructions . .

but as a complete moron when it comes to computers I somehow failed to obtain the results expected and linux won't go away ! I have it installed on my Olivetti Echos 133EM laptop PC which has 1.6gig hard drive partitioned [during the Linux install] to 2 partions, 1 of 92% & the other of 8%

there is 80 meg RAM/ CD-ROM & Floppy drive The Caldera open Linux 2.2 used a built in version of Partition magic to partition thye hard drive during installation.

I SHOULD have waited until I obtained a second hard drive for my desktop PC where I could 'play' with Linux and learn to my hearts content whist still having my laptop [which used to have Win95 for work related stuff ] - but I was not patient and now seem to be suffering for it as I can not find out any information [other than your answer to Toms question] - which was for a different breed of Linux.

Can you help me PLEASE !
Yours in anticipation,

(!) There is nothing special about the suggestions I offered. It doesn't matter what Linux distribution (or even what operating system) you're trying to remove. The process boils down to:
This last step makes sense for versions of MS-DOS after version 5.x. Win '9x is really still just MS-DOS with a GUI glued over the front of it. So most of this should apply to it as well, when you manage to get in behind the GUI. Alternatively you should be able to use the command:
lilo -U
... BEFORE you delete your Linux partitions.
When you first install Linux using LILO, the /sbin/lilo command will create a /boot/boot.0XXX file, a backup of the MBR that it originally found on the system. The -U and -u options of the /sbin/lilo command will put that backup copy back into place (if it exists and with some sanity checks).
Note: The lilo -U command is basically the same as using a command like:
dd if=/boot/boot.0XXX of=/dev/hdX count=446
... though it should be a tiny bit safer. In any case I highly recommend performing a backup of your system before doing any software installations, upgrades, or removals.
Incidentally, if you really want to wipe data from those Linux filesystems before you remove the partitons you can use a command like:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdXXX
... do over-write a whole partition or drive with ASCII NULs. Note: if you do that with of= (output file) /dev/sda you'll wipe your entire first SCSI hard drive. If you do it with /dev/sda1 you'll only much the first partition on that drive. If you use /dev/hdb3 you'll destroy the number three primary partition on your second IDE drive, /dev/hda6 will get the second LOGICAL partition on your first IDE drive, and so on.
If that doesn't scare you then you didn't read it carefully enough. You can wipe out whole drives or individual partitions using the 'dd' command. It should be treated like a six-foot razor!
Also note that you really want to do these operations while booted from a rescue floppy. Otherwise you'll destroy shared libraries, swap partitions, and other data that Linux needs to complete your swipes.
In the worst case to a backup of your entire DOS/Win '9x system. Test it. Then boot from a rescue floppy, zero out the whole drive; re-install MS Windows from scratch and restore your data. I know that's inconvenient and scary.
It's the shame of the whole computer industry. Backups and restores are slow, expensive, unreliable and instill little confidence in most users. That problem is hardly unique to Linux, or PCs; I hear that from all sorts of users.
(My preferred means of doing software and OS upgrades is to perform the installation on a new system, then copy my data and configuration over. I just did that to canopus this weekend, so I'm writing from canopus2. In a week or so I'll wipe out the old canopus and rename my new host to use the old name).

Copyright © 1999, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 48 December 1999
HTML transformation by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

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