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Old 08-22-2006, 01:12 PM   #1
MBA Whore
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System won't startup properly after power failure


This is riduculous. I don't ever recall trouble like this in Windows.

This is my mom's computer...and she is 4 hours away...so I had to do this on the phone with her. Thus, unfortunately I can only report what she told me, rather than what I would have seen myself.

Anyways......this is what unfolded, to the best of my memory (right now I am fuming with hate towards Linux for being like this, so I am trying really hard to make sure I calm down and include everything that I remember).

My mom's place had a very brief power out last night while Linux MEPIS 3.43 was running. Now, when she turns on the computer, it will not complete the boot process. It stops at about 60%.

It stops booting at this line: ist1945 login: (ist1945 is her account name)

If I recall what she said correctly, sometimes when she typed, certain characters appeared and other times it looked as if nothing appeared. It sounded arbitrary from what I gathered, but I could be mistaken.

Now, if she types her username / password fast enough (under 60 seconds) she gets the typical legal stuff (Linux is for all to use...blah...blah...blah...)

Then in red, it states: ist1945@XXXXXXXXX where XXXXXX is a bunch of letter / numbers.

Nothing works. Her username. Password. Root. Nothing.

Here are my questions:

1) Her password has 2 unusual signs: a capital "r" (R) and an "at" sign (@). Could it be that the computer doesn't recognize these?

2) Same with root password, it has capital letters and the symbols you get if you hold "shift" and hit a number key.

3) WTF is going on? Why does it act like she has to go into "command line" to do something...instead of booting like normal?

FYI, to the best of my knowledge, no damage was done due to the power out and yes, it has a surge protector.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 01:32 PM   #2
reddazz
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It seems to me, that there was damage due to the brief power outage. Maybe the filesystem got corrupted, so it may help if she ran fsck to check that everything is fine. She will need a live cd in order to run fsck because it won't work whilst the filesystem to be tested is mounted.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 02:06 PM   #3
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Question So would.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by reddazz
It seems to me, that there was damage due to the brief power outage. Maybe the filesystem got corrupted, so it may help if she ran fsck to check that everything is fine. She will need a live cd in order to run fsck because it won't work whilst the filesystem to be tested is mounted.
I've been looking online to learn more about linux lingo...but there are so many words.

Could you please tell me what "fsck" is, how to do it and what to look for?

Also, when you say "damage," I assume you are referring to "software" damage, hence your reference to a possibly corrupt filesytem. Is that correct? Is it is correct, then would a reinstall of the OS fix it, if that were the case?

Also, do you know what the red-colored lettering means?

Sorry for all the questions...but I can not think of any time this has happened, even with Windows...it is a major curve ball.

Thanks.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 02:59 PM   #4
reddazz
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Yes I meant that the filesystem could be corrupt. fsck is a tool used to check and repair filesystems e.g. for ext3, you would run fsck.ext3 /dev/hdxx and for reiserfs fsck.reiserfs /dev/hdxx. Running fsck will probably fix your problem if its a corrupt filesystem and there would be no need for a reinstallation. I'm not sure what the red lettering could be.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 03:08 PM   #5
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Question Thanks. So, since I do have

Quote:
Originally Posted by reddazz
Yes I meant that the filesystem could be corrupt. fsck is a tool used to check and repair filesystems e.g. for ext3, you would run fsck.ext3 /dev/hdxx and for reiserfs fsck.reiserfs /dev/hdxx. Running fsck will probably fix your problem if its a corrupt filesystem and there would be no need for a reinstallation. I'm not sure what the red lettering could be.

Thanks. So, since I do have ext3, I would type this in terminal: fsck.ext3 /dev/hdXX

Where "XX" specifies the hdd in question. In my case, it is the master hdd....so it would be hda1.

Once I (or my mom) runs fsck, will fsck prompt the user for further commands? Or is it a "set it and forget it" approach to fixing filesystems?

We have DVD data backups of our data, so data loss, while certainly not desireable, is allowable.

Thank you so much, you have no idea how frustrated I was when I got that call from mom and couldn't do anything about it.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 03:44 PM   #6
reddazz
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Quote:
Thanks. So, since I do have ext3, I would type this in terminal: fsck.ext3 /dev/hdXX
Yes thats the command to use for ext3. Remember that the drive to be tested should not be mounted.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 04:14 PM   #7
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Non-Interactive Mode: Command (for fsck)

reddaz....thanks. I will tell my mom to boot from the live CD go into terminal as suggested.

I do have 2 different questions though.

I have been doing research on "fsck" since you told me of it a few posts ago and noticed that it can run in "interactive" mode which waits for the user to respond manually. It can also run in "non-interactive" mode which does not wait for the user to respond.


Non-interactive is what I want. Based upon what I have found in my research, the command "-y" or "-Y" should run it in non-interactive mode.

1) Do you know if that is correct?
2) Since I have never used fsck before, do you have any other suggestions?
 
Old 08-22-2006, 05:08 PM   #8
dive
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Code:
       -y     For some filesystem-specific checkers, the -y option will cause the  fs-spe-
              cific fsck to always attempt to fix any detected filesystem corruption auto-
              matically.  Sometimes an expert may be able to do better  driving  the  fsck
              manually.   Note  that  not  all filesystem-specific checkers implement this
              option.  In particular fsck.minix(8) and fsck.cramfs(8) does not support the
              -y option as of this writing.
 
Old 08-22-2006, 11:09 PM   #9
J.W.
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Your description (or more accurately, your mom's description I guess) does not match any behavior I've seen, but despite your frustration, if any computer suffers a power outage (aka, not a graceful shutdown) then it's certainly possible that damage was done to the hardware, or possibly that the write buffer was flushed without clearing, and thus important data was lost. If so, then the operating system that was installed has no connection to any subsequent problems, and faulting or blaming Linux is unwarranted.

In any case, if it seems like your mom is getting logged into the command line rather than for the GUI to start, then maybe she is. Have you asked to to just try entering
Code:
startx
at the point that the boot seems to "just stop at 60%".
 
Old 08-23-2006, 11:40 AM   #10
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startx and fsck

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.W.
Your description (or more accurately, your mom's description I guess) does not match any behavior I've seen, but despite your frustration, if any computer suffers a power outage (aka, not a graceful shutdown) then it's certainly possible that damage was done to the hardware, or possibly that the write buffer was flushed without clearing, and thus important data was lost. If so, then the operating system that was installed has no connection to any subsequent problems, and faulting or blaming Linux is unwarranted.

In any case, if it seems like your mom is getting logged into the command line rather than for the GUI to start, then maybe she is. Have you asked to to just try entering
Code:
startx
at the point that the boot seems to "just stop at 60%".

Thank you. I will ask her to try that tonight.

On a related note, does anyone surfing on the forums here know of a good website that teach basic / intro command line stuff to n00bs? I do not necessarily want to know lots of complex command line stuff....but I would like to learn more about it. However, I have had trouble finding written in plain English. Most of the stuff I find online is for experts.

Also, I had my mom su into root (via the live CD) and enter "fsck.ext3 /dev/hda1" in konsole last night....and she said that the message that came up was "clean". After the line that stated "clean" was the root command prompt: root@...blah...blah...blah....

In other words, it appears that fsck did not find any problems and the computer and the computer returned her to the user account (in this case, root) prompt.

Any thoughts?
 
Old 08-23-2006, 12:46 PM   #11
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A good CLI intro for beginner's can be found here: http://www.physics.ubc.ca/mbelab/com...ux-intro/html/

Good luck with it, I hope you mom's PC is back to running Linux soon.
 
Old 08-27-2006, 11:55 AM   #12
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Fixed

Fixed.

fsck did not do anything (said "clean"). I did a clean install.

Everything works fine. Hence forth though, I will tell my mom to turn the computer OFF when she is done with it. That way, if / when the next power outage happens, it would be more likely to happen when the computer is OFF, thus when the OS is OFF.

I am certain the very, very brief (split second) power outage instigated this big headache.

Still, many thanks to all who attempted to help!
 
Old 08-27-2006, 12:47 PM   #13
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBA Whore
Hence forth though, I will tell my mom to turn the computer OFF when she is done with it.
If your mom is technically able to boot LiveCD's and run fsck's at your command, then this warning may be irrelevent in your case:

The average mom, when told to turn off the computer, will probably just go straight for the power button. You might want to be more specific about how to shut things down cleanly.

Now please don't take this wrong, but there were a few things in your first post that lead me to believe additional problems might become major headaches for you and your mom:
Quote:
This is riduculous. I don't ever recall trouble like this in Windows... right now I am fuming with hate towards Linux for being like this...
Statements like this make me think that you yourself are quite new at Linux and haven't quite gotten the basics down. Again, please take no offense. Unfortunately, things tend to play out that new users who make statements like these are very short lived Linux users, and go back to Windows quickly. This doesn't bother me. But think about how it might affect your mom in this case. I would recommend becoming proficient in an OS before installing it for someone else and planning on supporting it remotely. It can sometimes be difficult stepping a new user through a technical process to fix a problem in these forums. I can't imagine stepping one through, so they could step another new user through over the telephone. I just don't predict much success in that equation.

I use and love Linux. But my parents are still running Windows. I was using Linux at the time I put them on Windows, but did not have the skills to remotely support Linux for them. I do now, and probably will switch them later if they want it. But I will also take into account the support/help they can also get from their local friends. None of those friends know Linux. That's an issue that shouldn't be ignored.
 
Old 08-27-2006, 11:01 PM   #14
jiml8
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Well, I for one HAVE seen Unix and Linux systems be hosed by a power failure. I have also seen it happen to Windows, including NT, 2000, and XP Pro.

If the power quits when the system is writing to the HD, anything at all can happen - and usually it ain't pretty.

fsck MIGHT fix the problem. Very possibly you'll wind up with a great big lost+found directory and you won't be able to recover the system completely.

Best choice is to reload the system from backup.

What's that, you say? You don't have a backup? Well, this'll larn ya, won't it.

That said, Linux systems are ALWAYS easier to recover than Windows systems when this sort of thing happens. The reason is that Linux doesn't have that gawdawful single point of unserviceable failure more commonly known as the registry, and Linux is much better documented and far more visible than Windows.
 
Old 08-27-2006, 11:14 PM   #15
jiml8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBA Whore
On a related note, does anyone surfing on the forums here know of a good website that teach basic / intro command line stuff to n00bs? I do not necessarily want to know lots of complex command line stuff....but I would like to learn more about it. However, I have had trouble finding written in plain English. Most of the stuff I find online is for experts.
The real power of Unix/Linux/BSD is in the command line, unlike Windows where the command line is something of an afterthought that is slowly vanishing into the mist.

You can do anything from a CLI in Linux - anything at all - and far more than you can do using the GUI.

Thus, it is easy to see that the command line is immensely complicated and you won't learn it overnight. It helps to think of it as having a dialog with the computer; you tell it something or ask it something, and it responds.

No one knows all the commands that are available for use in the CLI, though all of us who commonly use it know a lot of commands and a lot of ways around. That is why sites like this one are so useful; if you don't know then ask.

Quote:
Also, I had my mom su into root (via the live CD) and enter "fsck.ext3 /dev/hda1" in konsole last night....and she said that the message that came up was "clean". After the line that stated "clean" was the root command prompt: root@...blah...blah...blah....

In other words, it appears that fsck did not find any problems and the computer and the computer returned her to the user account (in this case, root) prompt.

Any thoughts?
Use the force option to make it check the disk anyway. After a power failure, you can't believe fsck when it says the disk is OK. Be certain the drive is not mounted when you run fsck.

That would be fsck -f /dev/hda1
If the filesystem shows up with a lot of errors, you might want to stop and restart fsck with the a option set;

fsck -af /dev/hda1

You can learn about fsck by entering the command
man fsck

at the command line. Generally (often, anyway) the man command gives a lot of manual information about the command you want to know about.
 
  


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