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Old 10-23-2006, 02:01 PM   #1
linuxlainen
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System not booting, how can I retreive my data


Hi all,

I have (had) a Mandrake 2006 box that used to be working just fine. Now all a sudden I can't boot the system, I tried to the Rescue option from the installation CDs but it didn't work.

Please help me with this nightmare. I don't have a backup of my data, and I am way far from being knowledgable to fix this by myself

The system is gettin stuck while booting so I don't even reach the login screen.

thank you all in advance for your help.

Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-23-2006, 02:10 PM   #2
arochester
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It depends what kind of data you want to recover. If it is files from your Home directory it is fairly straightforward. Get a live-cd, something like e.g.Kannotix, and access the linux area.
 
Old 10-23-2006, 02:38 PM   #3
linuxlainen
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Hi,

Thank you for your reply. Is there any way that I can get the machine working again without losing the data. I mainly need my emails and contacts, of course in addition to some important files.

Thanks again for your help. It is highly appreciated.

Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-23-2006, 02:39 PM   #4
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxlainen
The system is gettin stuck while booting so I don't even reach the login screen.
If you can be more specific about what is happening, maybe somebody can help. Are you getting an error message? What is the system doing when it gets stuck? (i.e., what were the most recent messages that scrolled by during the boot attempt, before the problem?)

If you want access to you data quickly, arochester has the answer - use a LiveCD. Personally, I like Knoppix for this.

There are two things any computer user should always have on hand: (1) A LiveCD to boot from, and (2) Recent backups. You can easily create yourself a (1) from a friend's computer if yours is dead. And this situation has probably scared you enough to start doing (2)!

Chances are your data is fine, even given your current no-boot situation. Just don't go getting all panicked and start reformatting or repartitioning or running automated "recovery" utilities. For some bizarre reason people tend to do this when they get spooked. Please don't!!! Sit back, think things over, ask for advice here, ... but don't charge ahead and turn a minorly annoying situation into a disaster due to panic or lack of understanding. Your data will wait - so should you!
 
Old 10-23-2006, 03:07 PM   #5
linuxlainen
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Hi again,

All right I'll try to relax and think this more, and I am definitely not formatting my drive till I get the data

I use KDE in Mandrake 2006. I'm not getting any error message from the system to explain the situation better. At the beginning there was a message "System holt" and the system was not booting at all. Now the machine "boots" but then it gets stuck in the blue screen before reaching the login view. That is it, no error messages, just stuck.

I'm currently downloading Knoppix from a windows machine. Do you have any idea how to get all emails from Kcontacts? This is the SW I'm using for my emails.

Please let me know should there be anything I could do to fix this

Regards
Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-23-2006, 03:46 PM   #6
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxlainen
At the beginning there was a message "System holt" and the system was not booting at all.
"System halted" would not be a good sign! By you say that this problem went away, and now you have a different problem? I hate to leave a problem like a halt un-diagnosed, but you've got to go with the problem you can repeat for now.
Quote:
Now the machine "boots" but then it gets stuck in the blue screen before reaching the login view. That is it, no error messages, just stuck.
My guess is this is an Xwindows problem. When it gets stuck, try hitting CTRL-ALT-F1 to get a new virtual terminal. If this works, login as root and run dmesg and see if that turns up an errors. Also look at /var/log/Xorg.0.log (or /var/log/XFree86.0.log) for lines that start with (EE). If CTRL-ALT-F1 doesn't work, try CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to kill X. Then do the dmesg/logfile thing. If that doesn't work either, try remotely ssh'ing into your machine from some other machine and check dmesg and the X logfile.

You said your machine used to work, but now doesn't. What happened in-between? Did you install something new? Upgrade something? Remove some file/directory? Have a power hit? Have an unexpected system crash? [ I supposed they're ALL "unexpected" ;-) ]
 
Old 10-23-2006, 04:38 PM   #7
linuxlainen
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Hi,

I got now Knoppix downloaded and running from the CD on my machine. However, I am not able to access my HDD. When I try to open the drive I get an error message stating that I don't have enough permissions to read the media/hda6/....

Any ideas how I pass this through?

Thank you all


Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-23-2006, 05:25 PM   #8
haertig
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I assume you're opening a terminal window in Knoppix and then trying a "mount" command. Before running mount, type "su" on a line by itself. That will make you root. Then try the mount.

But I believe Knoppix mounts all your partitions automatically. Don't you have some icons down the left of your Knoppix screen labeled hda1, hda2, hda3, etc? (one for each partition). Just click on those.
 
Old 10-23-2006, 11:26 PM   #9
linuxlainen
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Hi Haertig

Thanks a lot. After applying the "su root" command in the terminal window I manager to get access to my old documents and files.

Couple of questions left though:
1) How can I get this access through the KDE UI interface (I'm so bad with linux commands). I have an icon for hda6 on the desktop. However, clicking on it will show tow folders with a lock icon on them and if I try to open any of these folders I get the message that I don't have enough permissions.

2) My last question is how to get access to my old emails? I couldn't find these even through the terminal window. In terminal window I found two folders "linuxlainen" my old user ID and it has the files had, and "lost+find" which is empty

Please advise.

Many thanks again for your help

Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-24-2006, 12:16 AM   #10
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxlainen
However, clicking on it will show tow folders with a lock icon on them and if I try to open any of these folders I get the message that I don't have enough permissions.
I don't understand why this would be. Typically, your filesystems will be automatically mounted readonly, but that shouldn't prevent you from opening directories. From a terminal window, type "ls -l /media/hda6" and report what it says. Do you have read and execute permissions on the directories? I just booted Knoppix on my other computer and I can get to all my directories there (but I can't write them - they're mounted readonly). You can remout them rw as needed, but you don't need to do that.

Quote:
My last question is how to get access to my old emails? I couldn't find these even through the terminal window.
I don't know the details of the email program you are using. My guess would be that your emails are stored under some hidden directory (directory name starts with a dot) under your home. For example, /home/<userid>/.kcontacts This is just a guess. I don't use Kcontacts.
 
Old 10-25-2006, 12:52 PM   #11
linuxlainen
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Hi,

Here are all the information and methods I tried to get to know what is worong with my computer. Unfortunately, I don't understand most the info below, so your help and experties are realy appreciated.

When I boot the system (I'm using Mandrake 2006) I get the following booting option Linux, Linux nonfb, and failsafe.

If I select the Linux option the system get stuck. I tried to open a shell window by pressing(CTRL+ALT+F1) but there was no respond from the system. I also tried CTRL+ALT+BackSpace but nothing happened

Failsafe option gives the following messages
Quote:
mounting root file system/dev/root
vfs: can't find ext3 file system on dev hda1
mount: error 22 mounting ext3 flags defaults
well, trying without the option flags
.
.
.
Pivroot: pivot_root (/sysroot,/sysroot/initrd) failed:2
unmount /initrd/sys failed:2
/initrd/proc failed:2
Initrd finished
Freeing unused kernel memory : 268k freed
Kernel panic _not syncing: No init found. Try passing init = option to kernel
I also tried to use the rescue option from the installation CD. In the rescue menue there are 3 options Re-install Boot loader which was failed with the following message
Quote:
guess mounts failed at /usr/bin/install_bootloader line 24
The second rescue option is Re-install Windows boot loader. This one basically didn't do anything.

The last rescue option is mount partitions under /mnt, which was failed as well with the following message

Quote:
Could not find root device
The "mount partitions under /mnt" option was also failed with this message

Quote:
Could not find root device

From the rescue menue there is an option to go to a console. From that I applied the command
Quote:
dmesg
and here is what I got
Quote:
VSF: Can't find ext3 file system on dev hda5
Can't find ext2 file system on dev hda5
Reiser Fs: hda5 warning sh-2021: reiserfs_fill_super: can't find reiserfs on hda5
XFS: bad magic number

Please tell me that there is a way to fix this problem. Is it safe to re-install Mandrake on the same partitions? Would I lose any data?


Please advise

Linuxlainen
 
Old 10-25-2006, 03:27 PM   #12
haertig
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Well, that's definitely NOT an Xwindows problem!

Can you give us some clue about how you arrived at this failure-to-boot point? What happened (or what did you change, configure, install, etc.) between the last successful boot and where you are now? What are your partitions ("fdisk -l" output)? What are you using for a bootloader? I'm not sure I can guess my way through what happened to you without some input to provide a starting point. You could have a corrupted root partition. You could have a corrupted bootloader configuration file. I'm not sure what to make of your previous comment about booting Knoppix and finding folders "with a lock icon on them". That might point to filesystem corruption, but you said (implied?) you could gain access if you su'ed to root. That isn't making sense to me.

Quote:
Is it safe to re-install Mandrake on the same partitions? Would I lose any data?
Lose "any" data? I'd say you'd lose ALL data! Remember my previous warning: Just don't go getting all panicked and start reformatting or repartitioning or running automated "recovery" utilities. For some bizarre reason people tend to do this when they get spooked. You may eventually decide to reinstall, that will be your call, but certainly retrieve all your important data first! Once your data is safe, you can determine what you want more: (1) The quickest recovery possibly (may be a reinstall), or (2) A learning experience. Nothing beats hands-on dealing with a disaster to teach you things. But such learning may take too long and you want a functional computer NOW! Your decision.

Also be aware that dealing with a fubar computer is not always the easiest thing, and it's even harder when people on these forums are trying to figure out what's going on remotely, based only on your descriptions. Hence my asking you for "some clue about how you arrived at this failure-to-boot point".
 
Old 10-25-2006, 03:47 PM   #13
linuxlainen
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Hi Haertig and many thanks for following this up,

Quote:
Can you give us some clue about how you arrived at this failure-to-boot point? What happened (or what did you change, configure, install, etc.) between the last successful boot and where you are now?
I really have no clue. I have not installed any new SW nor changed any configurations. I normally use this machine for emails, internet browsing,... just the basics. It all happened in a sudden. The system was working fine in the previous day, then all a sudden the next day it was not booting

Quote:
What are your partitions ("fdisk -l" output)?
Here is the output
Quote:
Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4865 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 764 6136798+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda2 765 4865 32941282+ 5 Extended
/dev/hda5 765 904 1124518+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/hda6 905 4865 31816701 83 Linux
Quote:
What are you using for a bootloader?
I know I sound stupid in here, but I really don't know. I don't have dual booting option, if this is what you mean. I just followed the standard installation procedure of Mandrak. No other changes.

Quote:
I'm not sure what to make of your previous comment about booting Knoppix and finding folders "with a lock icon on them".
I read more about Knoppix, apparently it looks all files on the HDD for secuirty reasons. However, you should be able to have the read and write access when you su to root. What I couldn't do yet is to change these permisson so I am able to burn the data on a DVD through K3 SW. I have no idea how to do this from the command line, and in the GUI I'm logged in by default with knoppix user ID, which doesn't have the needed access rights



thanks again

Linuxlainen

Last edited by linuxlainen; 10-25-2006 at 03:55 PM.
 
Old 10-25-2006, 05:36 PM   #14
haertig
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Let's try to get your data burned to a DVD from the Knoppix command line! I think that's the most important thing to do right now. I still can't explain why you are having read permission problems in Knoppix. But since you say you can get to stuff as root, let's go with that, and do everything as root.

Boot Knoppix and open a terminal window and become root:
Code:
$ su -
How much data do we have to backup? Will it fit on a CD? A DVD?
Code:
# du -s -h /media/hda6/home
Hopefully it's not a huge amount of data and will fit onto a single CD or DVD. We'll assume that it fits on a CD for now.

Next, find your burner:
Code:
# dmesg | egrep "(CD|DVD)"
Look for your burner in the above listing. It will probably be "hdb" or "hdc". We'll assume "hdb" for this example. So now we know your burner can be referred to as "/dev/hdb" in the steps that follow. If yours is NOT hdb, modify the examples below accordingly!

Now, stick a CD-R/W into your burner. You could use a CD-R as well, but a CD-R/W allows you to play and practice without wasting a bunch of CD's

And burn it:
Code:
# mkisofs -r -J /media/hda6/home | cdrecord dev=/dev/hdb blank=fast -v
If you are using a CD-R instead of a CD-R/W, omit that "blank=fast" part. cdrecord will give you a bunch of text and warnings. Just ignore it and see if things work.

If you are using a DVD+-R/W instead of a CD, replace that entire mkisofs/cdrecord line above with this one:
Code:
# growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/hdb -r -J -v /media/hda6/home
If the above doesn't like your DVD, you may have to do the following and then try the growisofs again:
Code:
# dvd+rw-format -force -blank /dev/hdb
Make sure to change all those /dev/hdb lines to whatever is appropriate for your system! And I hope I got all those commands correct! From within that Knoppix terminal window, you can run "man mkisofs", "man cdrecord", etc. to check up on me in case I'm remembering something wrong.

The CD or DVD that you created (if it worked!) should be readable in either a Linux or a Windows computer. Note that some files/directories may have been renamed. Specifically, files/directories that normally begin with a dot (the hidden ones) will be named with a leading '_' instead (I think!)

Once you've verified your data is safe and you can read it from a different computer, we can move on and try to get your current computer to boot again. Note: If you have data in someplace other than your home directory, you'll need to back that up too. Modify the above steps as needed.

Good luck!
 
Old 10-26-2006, 04:55 PM   #15
linuxlainen
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Hi,

Well, I guess things are getting better for me now
I managed to backup all my data including the emails, which were very important for me.

I also found a SW, called Explore2fs, that granted me access to my Linux drive from Windows. That helped a lot in exploring my Linux drive and finding my emails files.

Now, the most important part, how can I get my system back up and running? I really don't wish to go back to Windows. I was thinking to reinstall the system since I have my data safe. But, then as you mentioned, this may not be the best way to learn more about linux.

What do you think? Should I re-install? If yes, then which distribution you would recommend?
If no, then how can I proceed???

Many thanks again for the help. It really did help

Linuxlainen
 
  


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