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Old 02-03-2008, 06:46 AM   #1
EPS
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I'm in BIG TROUBLE !


Hello Linux friends, My computing skills are all used up and I'm stuck.
I cannot boot my system.
Background. I had Suse 9.2 Pro working OK for ages, but then decided to upgrade to Suse 10.1. I bought the disks and tried to install these, but I never managed to get it running; the installation always crashed. I assume the disks were corrupt. Anyway I spent so long with this that Suse 10.3 was released , so i downloaded this and got a sucessfull install on another PC. I then thought that I could repair my other PC by installing Suse 10.3 on top to overwrite the corrupt 10.1.
Nope ! wrong assumption.
10.3 installation could not delete /Devs and I am now in a position where my machine won't boot. Boot process appears to crash every time.
$DISPLAY not found.
I can get into rescue mode but I don't know what to do there. I have ran fdisk but to be honest I don't know what I'm really doing.
Unfortunately, ( and yes, I do deserve a severe dressing down for this ) I still have some files on the harddrive which I did not back-up. Not tragic to lose the data, but some of the pictures are of emotional value to me.

Any help that can be offered is greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
-EPS
 
Old 02-03-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
tredegar
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Welcome to LQ.
My suggestion: Boot from a "Live CD" - knoppix is excellent for this sort of thing. You'll be runing from the CD, so it'll be a little slow to start programs, but at least it does not touch your HDD.
Mount your HDD (One-click in knoppix!)
Rescue your data, by copying it to an external drive.
Reinstall.
 
Old 02-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #3
bigrigdriver
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You also have the option, while in a mounted liveCD, to create a partition to hold rescued data/pictures/whatever. Assuming you have free space to create such a partition.

If you have the free space, use the partitioning tool of your choice to make the paritition, then use mke2fs to write an ext2 filesystem to that partition (format it).

Then mount the problem drive, and copy the files you want to the new partition.

Then, you have several options with regard to installing OpenSuse. One of the easiest, in my opinion, is: If you're having problems installing because of error messages regarding the partition you want to install OpenSuse into, just use mke2fs to reformat the partititon. Then you should be able to make a clean install of OpenSuse.
 
Old 02-03-2008, 01:44 PM   #4
EPS
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Thanks Tredegar / Bigrigdriver,
If I repartition my disk will I not overwrite the data on it ?
Can you walk me through doing this ? I'm not familiar with partitioning tools of any kind.
I should have space on the drive, but when I am in rescue mode I cannot see my datafiles.
When I use mke2fs at which level do I type that in, (bash# ... ?) or do I need to go into a directory, (like /dev or /etc ?) and do I use something like
"mke2fs /dev/hda2 " ? ( /Dev/hda2 is where my Suse 10.1 was, which I tried to overwrite with the 10.3 ).

With regard to Knoppix ( I'm not familiar with this either )the download files is 720Mb and I don't have a dvd drive on the crashed PC, so I'm probably best buying the disks and re-jigging my hardware as I'm waiting for them to arrive.

-EPS
 
Old 02-03-2008, 02:33 PM   #5
tredegar
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First:
Quote:
[From your post #1]:
I don't know what I'm really doing.
So we had better be careful, and not make any assumptions
Quote:
If I repartition my disk will I not overwrite the data on it ?
Possibly - as you are pretty new I'd advise against this. Instead find / buy / borrow an external USB disk to transfer your personal files to. Once that is done, you can experiment without fear.
Quote:
when I am in rescue mode I cannot see my datafiles.
Where did you look for them? Eg try
cd /home/yourusername
ls

Do you see your files?
Quote:
When I use mke2fs at which level do I type that in, (bash# ... ?)
I am amazed that you have "had Suse 9.2 Pro working OK for ages" without learning the basics, (is such the power of the linux GUI now? ). Walking you through this might be difficult, but we'll try.

Commands are always typed in a terminal or console / konsole. That's the "DOS" prompt, text thingy.

To find out more about commands man man then man commandname or even search google for "man commandname", but please do not start reformatting or repartitioning until you have rescued your data.

I am surprised knoppix is now too big for a CD. Perhaps you'd be best downloading an earlier version (we probably only need access to very simple tools that a version from, maybe, 2003 should support).
"Buy linux disks" - I never did that, just D/L'd them and burnt them. You don't need to burn the disk on the crashed PC (You probably can't anyway), you can use any PC to burn the disk, then put the CD in your crashed PC and boot from the CD.

Edit: Bottom line is: Get any live CD (?Kubuntu) and boot from that. Rescue your files. Then repartion and reinstall.

Last edited by tredegar; 02-03-2008 at 02:35 PM.
 
Old 02-03-2008, 03:59 PM   #6
bigrigdriver
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You can find several liveCDs aimed at system rescue here:
http://distrowatch.com/search.php?ca...&status=Active
 
Old 02-03-2008, 11:06 PM   #7
JWPurple
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPS View Post
... Boot process appears to crash every time.
$DISPLAY not found.
It seems unlikely a new install of 10.3 wouldn't be able to do anything necessary unless you have hardware problems. The fact that you see the error message tells me you have a good boot, but it won't display the GUI desktop.

If you get a login prompt after the DISPLAY error, then the system has booted up. If you can, log in as root and do "export DISPLAY=:0". The run startkde. This might set things up enough that the next login will work ok.
 
Old 02-04-2008, 07:22 AM   #8
EPS
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Thanks All.
-JWPurple: tried that. After typing startkde I get:
unable to open display:0
xprop unable to open display:0
xseeroot: unable to open display:0
( .. some more lines of the same ..)
kdeinit : can't connect to the xserver
kdeinit: might not terminate at end of the session
kded:cannot connect to the xserver
ksmserver; (..ditto..)
startkde shutting down.

-Tredegar: I have found a smaller version (650Mb) so I'm downloading that and should be able to burn to a DVD.
I have found my files, ( they were in /home/home/username - the double "home" threw me off a bit !).
Suse9.2 Pro was a great interface, and in about 4 yrs of use I have never experienced any crashes or seizures with it. Only thing, I was having problems with my usb-modem which was supplied by my ISP.

One more Question, on repartitioning the disk will I be sure to get rid of the Suse10.1 ( which I think is the cause of my troubles !). My disk looks like this now:
/dev/sda1 1 97 779122 82 linux swap /solaris
/dev/sda2 98 2011 xxxxxxx 83 linux
/dev/sda3 2012 4870 xxxxxxxx+ 83 linux ((* = boot ))
before installing 10.3 I had /dev/hda1-3 so is Suse10.1 still lurking about somewhere? I cannot see /dev/hda when I list contents.
-EPS
 
Old 02-04-2008, 01:16 PM   #9
tredegar
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Pleased you got your files back!

Quote:
so is Suse10.1 still lurking about somewhere? I cannot see /dev/hda when I list contents.
Whatever you are using to run the fdisk -l command that shows you your partitions is listing them as /dev/sda not /dev/hda but this doesn't matter (it is distro-dependant), the partition numbers still apply. So what is seen as /dev/sda1 by one distro may be seen as /dev/hda1 by another. As long as there is consistency within any one distro, this does not matter.

Now you have your data back, and saved somewhere else, why don't you just repartition and reformat your disk:
/dev/hda1 = 10GB = /
/dev/hda2 = 1MB = swap
/dev/hda3 = the rest = /home

[There's maybe something to be said for having swap in the middle of your disk = Less head movement when you do need swap space]

Then reinstall whatever you want.
Suse 9.2 is a bit old now (but don't listen to me as I am still running mandrake 9.1 on one machine ), but I do recommend kubuntu 6.06LTS, because it has "Long Term Support" (Due to expire in 2010 I think), and has been highly stable, productive, and easy to manage.

The kubuntu installer will partition and format for you if you select "Manual Partitioning" at the install.

Have fun
 
Old 02-04-2008, 03:39 PM   #10
EPS
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Thanks tredegar, but unfortunately I'm still not out of the water.
I have found my files, but I cannot get them onto my usb-zip drive. I do have a directory /media/zip and the system is copying files to it, but it is not writing them onto my disk. I have tried to mount the zip drive, but I'm not getting it. I'm in rescue mode and have mounted /dev/sda3 to /mnt. From /mnt/etc I was looking for my usb and found on line 6 :
usbfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs noauto 0 0
so I am assuming I do something like # mount /proc/bus/usb /media/zip (( yes ? ))

Also, what is confusing me is that fstab in /etc is completely different from fstab in /mnt/etc
After mounting /dev/hda3 to /mnt as mentioned above. (( hda3 - reiserfs; hda2 - auto; hda1 - swap ))
The former having 6 lines of code and the latter 9 lines with only 3 lines being common to both files.

Last edited by EPS; 02-04-2008 at 03:40 PM. Reason: spelling
 
Old 02-04-2008, 08:54 PM   #11
vertigo88x
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the mount command should be something like

mount /dev/hdb1 /media/zip
 
Old 02-05-2008, 04:21 AM   #12
tredegar
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Boot.
Plug in your zip drive.
Wait 30sec. It should be mounted. As root give the command mount
You will see a list of mounted things
Is your zip drive mounted?
If so, copy your files to it. Eg:
Code:
cp  -a  /home/eps/*   /media/zip
Now, before you remove it, you must unmount it, or the data will not be written:
Code:
umount /media/zip
( or wherever it is, and note no "n" in "umount")
Note you cannot unmount a directory you are "in", or you'll get a "Device busy" error. So if you are in /media/zip you should cd to somewhere else before you try to unmount it.
When you get a command prompt back, it is safe to unplug it.

Look at the zip drive with another computer, are your files there?
If so, it's safe to reinstall
 
Old 02-05-2008, 06:03 AM   #13
EPS
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Hi Tredegar,

the mount command did not work for me, but I did manage to find my zip drive on /dev/sdb4 so I mounted this mount -o rw to /mnt and then managed to copy my files over. so everybody, thanks for your help !
If I can lean on you patience a bit longer though, I am now going to repartition my disk as you suggested. What I have in mind is fdisk /dev/sda and then make following partitions:
sda Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 2011 15374205 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 2012 2109 779121 82 Linux Swap
/dev/sda3 * 2110 4870 22964917+ 83 Linux

w
q
reboot
reinstall ( I'm going to stay with my Suse10.3 - I'm familiar with it and had good experiences with Suse9.2pro )
If I'm doing something drastically wrong please let me know, & thanks again for your help so far.
-EPS
 
Old 02-05-2008, 06:44 AM   #14
tredegar
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Quote:
.... managed to copy my files over
Well done
Quote:
What I have in mind is fdisk /dev/sda and then make following partitions:

sda Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 2011 15374205 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 2012 2109 779121 82 Linux Swap
/dev/sda3 * 2110 4870 22964917+ 83 Linux

w
q
reboot
Looks good to me. I don't know how big your blocks are, but just remember you do not need more than 8-10GB for / if you have /home on another partition.
Just make sure you tell the Suse installer that you want to have
/dev/sda1 = /
/dev/sda2 = swap
/dev/sda3 = /home
And all should be well.
 
Old 02-05-2008, 09:08 AM   #15
EPS
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Hi Tredegar,
OK. Suse installer was quite intent on putting the swap onto /dev/dsa1, so I went into the "expert options" and chose the partitions that I had described. It then told me that I did not have a swap partition (?), and I had to put in file systems for each partition. I have made /dev/sda1 ext3 and /dev/sda3 reiserfs. Should I also have made /dev/sda2 swap (?)

System booted first time though, and everything seems to be in order, although I think I might have made /dev/sda1 a bit too small now ( 5.8G ).

D you think I'm OK to leave it like this ?

Rgds,
-EPS
 
  


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