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azrael808 01-12-2005 12:09 AM

Strange boot problem...

I am running SuSE 9.1 on an old IBM Thinkpad 570. I recently downloaded the latest kernel update available for this distro (kernel-default-2.6.5-7.111.19) and sources. Once I had booted into the new kernel, I decided to remove the sources for the kernel that shipped with the distro (kernel-default-2.6.4-54, i believe) to free up a bit of space.

When I rebooted again, the laptop choked - with the message:

Waiting for device /dev/hda3 ................
Device /dev/hda3 did not appear

Or something similiar. It also gave a list of device nodes that are available (/dev/hda was one of them).
I looked up the message on the internet and I found a post that said that this message relates to a problem with the initrd symbolic link pointing to the wrong file.

Having altered the symlink (and checking my grub.conf to make sure it was correct), I am now faced with a strange boot problem.

The first time you switch on the laptop, it gives the same error as above, and cannot boot. However, upon a restart, the laptop will boot up SuSE as if there was no problem at all.
If you restart again, the laptop will be unable to boot, and output the same error.
This trend continues, with the laptop only successfully booting every other attempt

It seems I have a laptop that works exactly 50% of the time!!!!!

Can anybody shed any light on this matter?

Thanks in advance.


sgrayban 01-12-2005 02:22 AM

Not a clue and never heard of this issue ever.

redrobin77 01-12-2005 09:34 AM

Sounds like a hardware problem to me......
Maybe you can run a scan for hardware problems?

It is possible that the partition cannot be read correctly and thus every once a while it
hangs. The 50%, one-after-the-other reboot success seems coincidental...


Quiber 01-12-2005 09:53 AM

Did you install the distro on a logical partition, or a physical hard drive (non partitioned) and do you have windows on the laptop?

sloik2000 01-12-2005 03:10 PM

Wow, thats interesting....
But there has to be a logical explanation...

Heh, I sound stupid,
Sorry... I can't help you...


azrael808 01-19-2005 07:50 PM

Thanks for all the replies: even those who contributed no more than just a comment on how weird the problem was!!! At least it means people have thought about it.

Sorry for the very late reply, but I've had other things to deal with, such as finally getting a job (hooray!).
The problem hasn't gone away, but I've been able to isolate the problem further:

If the laptop is booted up from a cold start (i.e. it was in the completely off state to begin with), it successfully boots.

If I attempt to perform a RE-boot, however, it fails - giving the message I mentioned before.

So, now at least I know that the laptop can and will boot if I need it to and not just 50% of the time. I just have to make sure it's off before I try.

Does this shed any more light on the matter? Cos it doesn't for me! :confused:



jonr 01-19-2005 09:06 PM

It sounds to me like the state of some function is getting toggled, true/false, yes/no, 1/0. That would account for the exactly every-other-time (50%) rate of warm booting.

I would have no idea what is getting toggled, but I would just about bet money on it (if I had any), and if you have time to probe around I bet you will find it. (In which case please post!)

Meanwhile, glad you have discovered you can always boot from a cold start. That's not so bad.

Mr.Gosh 03-31-2005 01:03 AM

now it would be interesting if this problem allways existed, or it came to laive at a point in the past...

...I had such a Problem on my first Toshiba Notebook, and that was a problem between Bad Bios and Bad Kernel, so a major Kernel Update resolved the Problem (that was my jump from 2.4 to 2.6 kernel...

piscikeeper 04-01-2005 12:28 AM

my bet would be on a bios dual-boot main will not restart to switch os's without hanging just after the drives initialize.if i shut down and restart,there's no problem.(maxtor primary,WD secondary;bios won't recognize the drives at all the other way around.n-force chipset,bootlog shows bios not setting bits correctly and enabling work around.)

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