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Old 07-06-2004, 05:20 PM   #1
BertBert
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Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Indianapolis
Distribution: MEPIS 2003.10 at work, Mandrake 10.0 at home
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Partition mounting/KDE errors after creating Fat32 Partition


This is a very long-winded and strange problem I am having after creating a Fat32 partition. Basically I cannot mount my /home partition and KDE gives all sorts of error messages when I try to log in as a non-root user. I am running MEPIS Linux 2003.10 on a Compaq Evo N800v laptop. I am dual-booting with Windows XP and Linux.

It started with having some free space on my hard drive. I have one primary partition for WinXP (/dev/hda1) an extended partition (hda2) for Linux that contains a swap (hda5), root partition (hda6), and home partition (hda7). I had with 3 GB of free space inside hda2 as well as 1 GB of free space outside hda2 at the end of the partition table. I wanted to use the 1 GB space to create a shared Fat32 drive. QTParted would not let me create the space; so I went in to WinXP and used Partition Magic to create it. No problems.

Then I tried to reboot and get back into Linux. During the boot procedure, I got the message:
Warning: Unable to open an initial console.
Kernel panic: No init found. Try passing init=option to the kernel.
The system locked up and I actually had to remove the battery from the laptop to get it to start up again. I went back into WinXP and deleted off the partition I'd made, but the same thing happened the second time I tried booting into Linux. I did a Google search on the error message above and found a thread that suggested that the /initrd directory had somehow gone missing from the root partition. I booted into the MEPIS install disk (which works as a LiveCD) and found that this directory was indeed missing, so I did mkdir initrd and created it. However, this didn't fix the problem as I got the exact same thing the third time I tried booting. (Note: Later, I realized that I didn't put the slash (/) in front of initrd when I made the directory. I don't know what effect that might have had.)

I thought that perhaps creating the Fat32 partition at the very end of the boot record, and as a primary partition, might have screwed something up with the bootloader or the MBR. So I used the LiveCD to reinstall Lilo in MBR with hda6 as the root partition. When I rebooted a fourth time, I no longer got the "kernel panic" message. However, I did get this message:
/dev/hda6 is mounted. e2fsck: Cannot continue, aborting.
fsck failed. Please repair manually.
I then got a login prompt for root to repair manually. I logged in but I didn't know what to look for, so I just exited and let the booting continue. The machine booted and gave me the login screen. But when I tried to log in as a non-root user, I got
Could not read network connection list:
//.DCOPserver_TalbertLaptop__0
Check that DCOPserver program is running
and also...
//.kde/share/config/kpersonalizerrc not writeable
//.kde/share/config/kdeglobals not writeable
and also...
No write access to $HOME directory

I was then put into the KDE setup wizard, but after going through the hoops of that I just got the same messages 3-4 times again. The login process stalled when I got the splash screen for KDE where it was trying to set up interprocess communications (no doubt because of the DCOPserver problem). I hit Escape and logged in as root. Before taking me back to the login screen I got a final error message of
Could not start kmserver. Check your installation.
I was able to log in as root with no problems at all.

After logging in as root, the bizarre stuff started. Remember my root partition is hda6 and my home partition is hda7. But when I check the partitions, it shows both hda6 and hda7 as being identical -- hda6 and hda7 have different labels but are using the same amount of space. The data on my /home partition isn't showing up anywhere. If I try to unmount hda7 I get "device busy". Also, ls -l /mnt/hda6 gives nothing -- it says I have no files there, although both hda6 and hda7 are mounted. Same thing for hda7. Further, there is a /home directory in the root directory, but when I cd /home and then list the files, I get an exact duplicate of the root directory. So somehow my root directory is being mounted in the place where the home directory should. I checked my fstab and everything is fine there.

If I use QTParted, hda7 shows up distinct from hda6 but it shows them having the exact same amount of space used on each one, even though QTParted correctly shows hda6 as being 7 GB in size and hda7 as being 4 GB in size.

And when I view the partitions using the LiveCD, everything looks right -- the partitions show the correct usage of space and I am able to access all the data on both partitions.

Any ideas what's going on?!
 
Old 07-07-2004, 10:59 AM   #2
BertBert
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Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Indianapolis
Distribution: MEPIS 2003.10 at work, Mandrake 10.0 at home
Posts: 14

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Problem SOLVED

It turned out that my complex-sounding problem had a simple solution. Evidently in creating the fat32 partition at the end of the partition table, I wiped out the fstab file. When I got back in as root, the fstab file was regenerated, but it had /hda6 as being my /home partition and /hda7 as root, when in fact it should have been the other way around. All I had to to was edit the fstab as root and switch these, and now everything is back the way it was before I tried partitioning.

The key moment was when I did /mkdir/actualhome and I was able to mount /hda7 (my "actual home" partition) to this directory and access my data. That made me realize that the real problem was getting the partitions to mount to the right places.
 
  


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