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Old 03-08-2009, 06:02 PM   #1
bruceam
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Post FDSK Failing, Startup Process will not Complete, Debian 4.0.5


My Debian 4.0.5 Etch machine recently developed a problem. The boot up procedure will run FDSK on a hard drive periodically if it has not been done manually after "X" number of mounts. My install attempts to do this, but the FDSK hangs without doing anything, as such, the start up process cannot complete. I never even make it to the log in phase. I can use knoppix to open a lightweight Debian environment from the CD-ROM drive, and can even find the fstab file where this AUXILLIRY hard drive is mounted, but I am not permitted to edit the file. I suspect that if this step were bypassed, everything would work fine (the knoppix OS allows me to see the hard disk in questions, and to view everything on it. There seems to be no problems with that hard disk).

I would like to back up some of the data on the main hard drive (where debian is installed) before I attempt anything "Dramatic", but so far, I am unable to access (with write capability), any of my other drives.

Any suggestions on how I can either a) interrupt the boot up process so that it doesn't try to perform this hard disk check, or b) how to modify the knoppix environment so that I can do the backups, and the file moves, that will be necessary to save the user created content on any or all of the hard drives?

Thank you in advance,

Bruce

Last edited by bruceam; 03-08-2009 at 06:05 PM.
 
Old 03-08-2009, 07:12 PM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceam View Post
My Debian 4.0.5 Etch machine recently developed a problem. The boot up procedure will run FDSK on a hard drive periodically if it has not been done manually after "X" number of mounts. My install attempts to do this, but the FDSK hangs without doing anything, as such, the start up process cannot complete. I never even make it to the log in phase. I can use knoppix to open a lightweight Debian environment from the CD-ROM drive, and can even find the fstab file where this AUXILLIRY hard drive is mounted, but I am not permitted to edit the file. I suspect that if this step were bypassed, everything would work fine (the knoppix OS allows me to see the hard disk in questions, and to view everything on it. There seems to be no problems with that hard disk).

I would like to back up some of the data on the main hard drive (where debian is installed) before I attempt anything "Dramatic", but so far, I am unable to access (with write capability), any of my other drives.

Any suggestions on how I can either a) interrupt the boot up process so that it doesn't try to perform this hard disk check, or b) how to modify the knoppix environment so that I can do the backups, and the file moves, that will be necessary to save the user created content on any or all of the hard drives?

Thank you in advance,

Bruce
Try to manually run the fsck on the offending volume/partition, with the -a (automatically repair), and the -y (say YES to questions) options, like "fsck -a -y /dev/sda1".

The fsck failing at boot-time will usually have a reason WHY it failed...does it say? Does it recommend running it manually?
 
Old 03-08-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
bruceam
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The main problem is that I never get a command line. During Bootup, when the disk is checked, the command line that is scrolling by simply indicates that a check is about to be done. From then on, the machine is hung.
I will attempt the FDSK command from Knoppix. I will have to find an older version, as Knoppix 6.0.1 is the lite distribution and, at least I think it, does not contain a lot of the command types that are available in the regular Debian command line. I was able to do an fsck.ext3 command on the device. The response indicated that "The Superblock is Corrupt", whatever that means.

Thanks for your input.


Bruce
 
Old 03-08-2009, 11:01 PM   #4
bobby953
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Had similar problem

Hi, i had same problem a while back. I was able to fix it. don't remember exactly, but here is what i think i did. I didn't use knoppix, but I used the Centos installation dvd to get command line access, which did give me write access to my /. And so i was able to edit fstab and get the system running. hope that helps.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceam View Post
The main problem is that I never get a command line. During Bootup, when the disk is checked, the command line that is scrolling by simply indicates that a check is about to be done. From then on, the machine is hung.
I will attempt the FDSK command from Knoppix. I will have to find an older version, as Knoppix 6.0.1 is the lite distribution and, at least I think it, does not contain a lot of the command types that are available in the regular Debian command line. I was able to do an fsck.ext3 command on the device. The response indicated that "The Superblock is Corrupt", whatever that means.
Hmm...bad superblock is hardly ever good. You should be able to get any distro installation media, and boot to 'rescue' mode, and run fdisk from there.

If your disk is really going to die, and you can't recover from doing the fdisk, you might be able to mount the disk, using an alternate superblock, providing you've got an ext2/3 file system.

Linux ext2/3 filesystem stores superblock at different backup location so it is possible to get back data from corrupted partition. Make SURE the disk/filesystem you're performing this surgery on is unmounted.

- Run "dumpe2fs /dev/sda2 | grep superblock". This'll give you output similar to this
Code:
Primary superblock at 0, Group descriptors at 1-6
Backup superblock at 32768, Group descriptors at 32769-32774
....
etc.
listing all the superblocks available on that device.

- Now check and repair the filesystem, using the alternate superblock
Code:
fsck -b 32768 /dev/sda2
(naturally, change the device name and/or superblock accordingly)

Now you can try to mount it. You can also use the superblock information to mount the device:
Code:
mount sb={alternative-superblock} /dev/device /mnt
Hope this works for you. Been in your shoes many times before.
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #6
bruceam
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To Bobby 953,
Thanks for the suggestion. I will check out the CENTOS OS, or install disk and see what I can learn from this path. I am only able to work on this problem during the evening, so it will probably be tomorrow before I can report on how things went.

Thanks again.

BruceAM
 
Old 03-09-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
bruceam
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To TBOne
Thank you for your input. The file system used on all of the hard drives in this system is indeed the ext3. While I will admit that I don't know what the fundamental problem is, I am not sure it is a malfunctioning hard disk. When I booted up in Knoppix (also a Debian variant), I was able to access the actual physical media and view all of it's contents. As before, I was unable to make any changes to the system because Knoppix's root access is different from the root access I have on my machine. I will attempt the course of action you suggest once I gain access to the system with the correct root access account. I suspect it will take me a while to get enough of my "Other Tasks" out of the way for me to try this, so it will will be a while before I can respond. I do appreciate you input and knowledge.


Thank you.

BruceAM
 
Old 03-09-2009, 12:57 PM   #8
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceam View Post
To TBOne
Thank you for your input. The file system used on all of the hard drives in this system is indeed the ext3. While I will admit that I don't know what the fundamental problem is, I am not sure it is a malfunctioning hard disk. When I booted up in Knoppix (also a Debian variant), I was able to access the actual physical media and view all of it's contents. As before, I was unable to make any changes to the system because Knoppix's root access is different from the root access I have on my machine. I will attempt the course of action you suggest once I gain access to the system with the correct root access account. I suspect it will take me a while to get enough of my "Other Tasks" out of the way for me to try this, so it will will be a while before I can respond. I do appreciate you input and knowledge.


Thank you.

BruceAM
No problem, Bruce. I'm over in Birmingham, if you need a hand.
 
  


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