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I am somewhat of a newbie just introfucing Linux to colleagues. I am having a problem where Fedora core 4 was installed and running fine for some time; recently, some minor modifications were made to /etc/fstab, to automatically mount windows partition at boot time. A copy of /etc/fstab was also placed on /root/Desktop for practice (if you will?) and when the user could not mount a flash disk, the system was restarted.
At which time, /etc/fstab could not be found; X server would not start but was able to log in through CLI. The file in /etc has been renamed as fstab~ for some reason, which would explain why the system cannot find it. I tried to replace it with the copy which was placed on /root/Desktop but /etc is 'Read-only file system.' Have tried chmod to change permissions but it doesn't allow it; it seems the whole / partition was mounted as a Read-only file system, probably cuz /etc/fstab was not found. I also tried Linux rescue but it doesn't even find Linux partitions to mount to /mnt/sysimage. I mounted the partition with the / directory manually but all I can find inside is 'rhinstall-stage2.img'. Can anyone help???
Sounds to me like you might want to reinstall! You mentioned that /etc/fstab was copied to /root/Desktop - does this mean that someone was regularly logging in as root? That would be bad!
I suggest installing Fedora 5 (or, if you don't mind waiting until next week, Fedora 6). Apart from anything else, this should include hal/ivman support so you can automatically mount flash disks.
As a side note, when a file is modified, a backup is saved automatically, with the name 'old_filename~'. This is almost certainly why you found the file /etc/fstab~. The creation of the backup won't interfere with the new version of the file. Are you totally sure that /etc/fstab was only copied to /root/Desktop and not moved accidentally?
There a several possibilities as to why the partition might be mounted ro. I'm pretty confused about what's going on. One possibility is that the computer wasn't shut down properly, and the filesystem hasn't been fscked. You'd probably get a boot message about this though, and the system should run fsck on boot if any drives weren't properly unmounted.
If you have one available, you could try booting the computer with a live CD such as Knoppix and see if you have any luck fixing the file from that.
Boot to a cd. make a temp directory and mount the root partition from your hard drive to it. cd into the directory and chroot it. cd into the etc dir and mv the fstab~ file to fstab. make sure the entries are correct. cd to / and type exit to exit the chroot. cd out of the mounted dir and unmount it and reboot/remove the live cd.