I installed Mandrake 8.1, had a problem with my printer and now Linux won't boot.
It's hanging at this message: "Kernel panic: No init found. Try passing init= option to kernel.
There is a command prompt (?) here but I can't type anything into it. In fact pressing any key on the keyboard has no effect. I have to hit the Reset button on the computer to get out.
Now let me try to explain how this all came about. During the install process, it asked if I wanted to print a test page. I clicked yes. The printer (an old Citizen GSX dot matrix that works fine) started printing out multiple pages. It was getting ridiculous, printing out page after page (using the CUPS server) so I turned off the printer. After the install was complete, I went into the Print Administrator (or whatever it's called) and tried to kill the print job. Clicking on Remove had no effect. The owner was root so I logged out and back in as root. I still couldn't kill the print job so I removed the printer in the Control panel thinking I could reinstall it. Removing it worked fine and it seemed to clear the print job and the printer. When I went to reinstall the printer through the Control Panel, the computer froze. I waited awhile and it un-froze but each time I tried to install the printer, it froze again and finally, it just got stuck in hang-mode. In frustration, I hit the reset button on the computer and now Linux won't boot, giving me the above message after a series of other lines in the boot process. Booting from the Boot Floppy I made during the initial installation has the same effect. Booting into Failsafe mode also has the same effect.
I tried updating my system from the CD and that didn't work either. The update process hangs at the stage where it's supposed to install the boot loader. I had previously installed Partition Magic's Boot Loader and made a Linux Boot Floppy and installed Lilo in the Linux partition (hda8). This worked fine. I was able to choose Linux from Boot Magic and then Lilo would come up and I could boot on into Linux. Now the update process won't even make a new Boot Floppy and won't get past the "Installing a Boot Loader" stage so that I have to hit the Reset button to get back out of the Install program. (The "Exit Installation" button evidently isn't there in Update mode)
Since I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know what to do next other than format the Linux partition and start all over again. By the way, I used Expert mode to do the first install just to see if I could do it and it went ok. It took me about 3 hours, but anyway...
I've read all this stuff about how stable Linux is supposed to be but at this point, it seems to me to be pretty sensitive and touchy.