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OK, first the background. My system started seeming sluggish, so I shut down and rebooted. BTW, I use Fedora Core 4. I wish I had thought to take notes at this point, but here's the best of my memory: during boot it informed me of some problem and suggested I login as root and use some command to scan the drive. It goes through this whole thing about illegal block inodes or something that sounds like that. I answer Y to repairing each one, and there was a lot. Anyways, now when I boot I see this:
INIT: cannot execute "/etc/X11/prefdm
Fedora Core release 4 (Stentz)
Kernel 2.6.14-1.1637_FC4 on an i686
Non of my passwords or usernames do anything. I used the install DVD and used the Update selection, which I'm not sure was a great idea, but it seems to have changed nothing. And, actually I really don't care that much about booting that drive because I have others laying around that I installed onto to ask this question. However, there are some files I would like to get off of it. Most everything was on a FAT 32 partition that I was able to mount when I hooked up the drive as a slave. The other two partitions are the suggested defaul partitions, one of which is a LVM Physical Volume, which I cannot mount. It says:
mount: you must specify the filesystem type
I would only lose about a months worth of emails and IM logs, a few MP3's, and a bookmarks, but they it would be nice to get them. Can anyone help?
Distribution: Red Hat 7.2/8/9, Fedora Core 1/2/3, Smoothwall, Mandrake 7.0/10, Vecter 4, Arch 0.6, EnGuarde
You can back up the information by taking the hard drive, installing it into another (Linux or Windows) box, and mounting the drive location and partition location.
A rule of thumb, make / and /home two different partitions. This way you can do a new reinstall without losing vital saved files.
It sounds as if the system is reading your MBR, and successfully obtaining some information from your /boot partition. However, from that point, it seems as if you system is unable to read the / partition.
My suggestion is you do what I previously stated. You need solid information regarding how you got to this point in order to really get this fix manually. That, or someone needs to really take the time to debug what's causing the problem, because for all we know, there could be over 10,000 different issues with your system, and any one or more of them could be causing these problems. This includes hardware failure, which is unrelated to Linux. You can see how far this can go now. =)
First, after some uptime, my Fedora switched root filesystem to readonly. Only restart brought it back. Argh, like Windows.
Then, after unsuccessful fsck, I can't login. And because of *GREAT* LVM, I don't even know how to access the data from another computer (running FC4 as well, but fortunately works well and without LVM).