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Old 12-11-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
GenomeJB
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No longer able to log in to Debian Squeeze/sid


I have worked several months to get a Debian system working (years, actually, to get a system that would connect to the internet and connect to a wireless router). Following a recent upgrade (twice), I now can no longer log on. Trying to log on as "root" or "/" says either "permission (ignored)" or "login incorrect." Logging on as the user says "permission denied." Have done fsck and e2fsck multiple times, sometimes I can get to "Debian GNU/LINUX squeeze/sid debian tty1". "pwd" shows "/root" as expected. "ls -lg" shows lots of ownerships, with root and correct user name appearing. Since I cannot log in, the commands "who, passwd, chfn, whoami" are not recognized. I can "mkdir" and "rmdir", as might be expected.

Can I recover my system? I would GREATLY appreciate any input on this problem. I have files that were not backed up, of course, and I need access to them.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 06:42 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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Maybe. It sounds like something may have botched up your user permissions. Or maybe you just need to reset your password. If you use grub, you should be able to hit "c" during the boot menu to get to a grub command prompt. Then boot your linux but use the "single" option which should boot you into single user mode. From there, you should be able to reset your user password and/or chown the /home/user directory to your user.
 
Old 12-12-2009, 04:43 PM   #3
GenomeJB
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Still not able to login

Quote:
Originally Posted by pljvaldez View Post
Maybe. It sounds like something may have botched up your user permissions. Or maybe you just need to reset your password. If you use grub, you should be able to hit "c" during the boot menu to get to a grub command prompt. Then boot your linux but use the "single" option which should boot you into single user mode. From there, you should be able to reset your user password and/or chown the /home/user directory to your user.
I was able to login as a single-user and get a usable prompt (usually, I get the "login" prompt, which prevents me from doing anything else). I could "cd /home" and use "ls" to show the (username) plus "lost+found" "netlogin", etc files. With the "passwd" command it asked me to enter a new Unix passwd, which I did (I used the old one), and I did the same for "root". However, when I tried to login, permission was again denied for both "root" and "(username)". Using "/" as the login gave me "incorrect password." Restarting the computer said I had to do manual maintenance, using fsck or fixing hd1, hd9, hd8, hd5 and hd6 with a "Fix(Y)" Yes. I have gone through this several times, and still cannot login.

Regarding your suggestion about "reset...chown the /home/user directory", I don't know enough about Linux to trust myself with the "chown" options, or to where I should be to apply it. With "nano /etc/passwd" I see both the root ownership and the username ownership, so the whole system does not appear to be irreversibly lost.

I certainly appreciate your rapid response to this problem and thank you for your attention.

Jim

Last edited by GenomeJB; 12-12-2009 at 04:52 PM.
 
Old 12-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #4
pljvaldez
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From single user mode, check and see if there are any permission or ownership problems for things in your home directory. In other words, try doing ls -al /home/user and look to make sure the files are owned by "user" and the group is also "user" (of course, replace "user" with your username).

I found this article that talks a bit about someone else's problem. Maybe you should try the section where he runs strace from single user mode on your user login and see what happens.
 
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:38 AM   #5
GenomeJB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pljvaldez View Post
From single user mode, check and see if there are any permission or ownership problems for things in your home directory. In other words, try doing ls -al /home/user and look to make sure the files are owned by "user" and the group is also "user" (of course, replace "user" with your username).

I found this article that talks a bit about someone else's problem. Maybe you should try the section where he runs strace from single user mode on your user login and see what happens.
...will do and will let you know. Have been busy. Thanks

Jim
 
Old 12-30-2009, 01:52 PM   #6
GenomeJB
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No longer able to login

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenomeJB View Post
...will do and will let you know. Have been busy. Thanks

Jim
12/30/09: Still having so much trouble to do anything. Have tried over and over to see what is in home, and mostly ls or ls -al returns nothing. Once I saw the contents of my home directory (e.g. download, documents, pictures, etc), and ownership showed drwxr -xr -x for all files with user ownership and group. I was at $user when I got that.

I have tried apt-get -f install several times, but without success...usually "too many errors" if I get that far. Most of the time I still am told to do fsck, and it goes through 1,9,8,7,5 and 6, but still I don't get anywhere. "gdm" brings up a login screen, which goes blank after entering my user name, or displays a mailbox if I sign on as root. The latter says there are 1600 lines of mail, all with recent dates indicative of login attempts and failures.

One of the messages I have gotten repeatedly when trying to login is "none of /etc/default/keyboard nor / . console - setup exists. Failed. /lib/init/rw/rootdep: unexpected inconsistencies. Run fsck manually. fsck dies at exit status 4. Failed (code 4)."

On a more positive note (!) 2 days ago I downloaded rescuecd (on a Windows computer) and booted the debian computer with it. I can see the correct partitions with it, and the "testdisk" program did not reveal any problems (as far as I have gone with it). The first 4 partitions (up through the swap file) showed "green with an "L" in front of each; there were "D"s in front of the others, but on highlighting them, the message was "okay." Some of these "partitions" are very small, suggesting they are fragments.

I will continue to try to understand and implement your suggestions, plj, while I continue with the "rescuecd" thing. Booting the debian computer from the rescuecd program gave the following:
udevd 3607 status 0x000b (can't read my writing) (3615) failed while handling /devices/pci 0000:001 0000:00"//.1 /target 0..0:00 /block/sda/sda5." The computer then sat forever with "populating /dev with existing devices through uevents." I finally turned the computer off. BTW, sda5 is the /usr partition.

Further help is welcomed. Incidentally, one afternoon, during the two months I have had this problem, I was able to load MS Windows XP on a spare hard drive and populate it with all the necessary files and programs to talk to my second Windows computer in another room. My wife (who has her own MS Windows computer) keeps asking me why I am torturing myself with Debian, since I have all the computer power I need already with Microsoft. She is not a scientist and does not understand!

Happy New Year to All.

Last edited by GenomeJB; 12-30-2009 at 01:59 PM.
 
Old 12-30-2009, 04:29 PM   #7
pljvaldez
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Just out of curiosity, what are the specs on this machine? How invested are you in it? If you could get your data files, would you be willing to just blow it up and start over with a clean install of Lenny or Squeeze?
 
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
GenomeJB
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No longer able to login to Squeeze

Quote:
Originally Posted by pljvaldez View Post
Just out of curiosity, what are the specs on this machine? How invested are you in it? If you could get your data files, would you be willing to just blow it up and start over with a clean install of Lenny or Squeeze?
It is one I put together:
Motherboard, ECS K7VMMT, socket 462
Chipset VIA KM266 VT8235
Graphics S3 Prosavage 2D/3D
Memory 2 x 184-pin DDR DIMM DDR 266/200, max 2 GB
Audio Via 1612A 2 ch
LAN VIA VT6103 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet PHY - (Rhine II) rev 74 on motherboard. My router is Linksys WRT300N Router, v1.

I wasn't able to get a Linksys WMP300N wireless PCI adapter, Broadcom, Driver bcm 43xx working, so I bought a Linksys WMP54G Wireless PCI adapter, network controller Chipset Realtek, Driver RaLink RT2561 (RT61), 802.11.g, which I was able to get working.

I would be happy to re-install Debian if I could first save what is in /home. My world would not come to an end if I lost it all, but it took a long time to get Debian working with wireless and printing via Samba - which I also lost a couple of weeks before this problem developed. Unfortunately, my daily notes for the last 2-3 months were in /home also, which I failed to backup.

Unfortunately, the motherboard is old, with only two PCI slots and no on board SATA connectors, so I cannot use either of two SATA hard drives I have without losing either the sound card or wireless networking.

I was hoping I could use the "rescuecd" program to save /home, and then do a new installation.

Thanks. Happy new year.
 
Old 01-01-2010, 08:42 PM   #9
titetanium
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Do you have a copy of knoppix or any livecd that boots on it? If you do, boot the machine with that and then mount the disks to a directory, I prefer /mnt/target.
Chroot into /mnt/target and then cd to /home.
Type chown -R user:user /home/user and enter (make sure user matches your user that you are chowning to).
Repeat for all the users in home if you have more than one. i.e.. chown -R user1:user1 /home/user1.
Exit chroot
Umount /mnt/target and then logout of the livecd and reboot without the cd.
You should be able to login with any of the users you just fixed except maybe for root.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #10
GenomeJB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titetanium View Post
Do you have a copy of knoppix or any livecd that boots on it? If you do, boot the machine with that and then mount the disks to a directory, I prefer /mnt/target.
Chroot into /mnt/target and then cd to /home.
Type chown -R user:user /home/user and enter (make sure user matches your user that you are chowning to).
Repeat for all the users in home if you have more than one. i.e.. chown -R user1:user1 /home/user1.
Exit chroot
Umount /mnt/target and then logout of the livecd and reboot without the cd.
You should be able to login with any of the users you just fixed except maybe for root.
I made a copy of Knoppix, but when I put it into the CD-ROM drive the boot from there did not work; the computer went to the crashed Debian system again. Before I spend time on how to use Knoppix, the following might accomplish the same thing:

I put the original debian iso disk in the drive and saw there was a "rescuegui" option (Graphical Rescue Mode). I clicked on that, and the host and domain names were detected correctly, as were the disks /dev/hda1,2 5,6 7,8, 9 and /dev/hdb1. It then asks me which device to use as root, and I chose /dev/hda1. It then gives me these options:
1. Execute a shell in /dev/hda1
2. Execute a shell in the installer environment
3. Reinstall GRUB
4. Choose a different root file system
5. Reboot the system.

I chose (1). It said "/dev/hda1 will be mounted as '/'. If you have any other files systems (e.g. '/usr') you will have to mount those yourself."

So the question is: what do I do now?
I tried "mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/target", but it asks me for the file system. It is Ext3, but entering "mount /dev/hda1 ext3 /mnt/target" did not work. I got a long list of options that scrolled of the screen.

Do I go through all /hda1-/hda9 file systems, and mount them all in "/mnt/target"? If so, how do I do that, exactly?

Your help is much appreciated.

Jim
 
Old 01-11-2010, 06:14 PM   #11
craigevil
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Check the permission of /tmp and ~/.Xauthority

If all else fails you can reinstall using expert mode and not format your /home.
 
Old 01-12-2010, 10:42 AM   #12
GenomeJB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigevil View Post
Check the permission of /tmp and ~/.Xauthority

If all else fails you can reinstall using expert mode and not format your /home.
That is very nice to know. Thanks.

I found a LILO Crash recovery document, from 2003, that seems to be outdated - given sources of liveCD no longer exist. My iso disk should work, if i can figure out how to use it.

Thanks. Will post my "progress."

Jim
 
Old 06-19-2010, 07:59 AM   #13
GenomeJB
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Problem solved with another approach

I was never able to log in again to Debian Squeeze with the information provided and my own limited knowledge. So, I managed to install Linux Mint Helena on another hard drive, with much greater easy than with Debian, and then was able to access the files in the drive containing Debian Squeeze and copy my home directory files to Linux Mint. The KDE version was installed on another drive, but with more issues than the gnome version. It currently resides as a functional backup to the gnome verson of Linux Mint. I appreciated the help provided on this problen.
 
  


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