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Old 09-07-2002, 04:46 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.10
Posts: 121

Rep: Reputation: 16
Unhappy Really big failure

My Linux system won't boot. It worked fine yesterday, and now I can barely get to the filesystem recovery console.

Yesterday, I was trying to install the latest version of Samba. I currently have 2.2.3a, and I had downloaded the RPMs for 2.2.5. I had begun to try to install them, but I had problems. I installed the "client" RPM first, but it said that it was dependent on the "common" RPM. I decided to "force" the installation (seeing as I was just about to install "common"). Then, I tried to install "common", only it said that it was dependent upon all the other packages, and refused even to install. I tried to install the server package and the documents package, and on one occasion the installer stopped responding. After this, I started the SMB service again, and Samba still worked - both as client and server - reporting version 2.2.3a still. I do not know whether this has anything to do with the problem to-day or not.

Also yesterday, I deleted some data files (.bkf files generated by Microsoft Backup from a Windows 2000 computer on the network) over the network from the Windows 200 machine. I do not know whether this has anything to do with the problem either.

Let me describe my system. It is an old K6-2 233mhz socket 7 system (AT form factor) with something like 92Mb of RAM running Mandrake 8.2, which I installed from the download CDs. I have three hard drives in it: a Quantum Fireball 6.2Gb (the main system drive: dual boot Win98/Linux, with the Linux partition formatted in Reiserfs); an IBM 40GXP 41.1Gb (for backups: formatted in ext3), and an old WD 1Gb drive, which is spare, and formatted in FAT32. The latter shares the IDE channel with the CD-ROM, which is a 32x unit taken from a Mac. There is no SCSI. The two larger hard drives run in DMA mode.

I have a serial three button mouse, an old fashioned (pre PS2 pre Win95) keyboard, an old 15" monitor, an ATI PCI graphics card with about 4Mb of onboard RAM, an ISA soundcard (which has never worked under this install of Mandrake Linux 8.2: I am thinking of swapping it for a PCI one), and a Realtek 100mbps PCI network card. The machine is mounted in a large server case, and has a sensible number of fans: I replaced the CPU fan last year after I had overheating problems, and I have not had problems since.

The machine sits on a fast ethernet network (with a passive hub) of one Windows 2000 machine (my main computer), and an old P200mmx running Windows 98. The main purpose of the system is to be a backup server for the other two machines, and I setup the backup utility in the Windows 2000 machine to run network backups onto the 41.1Gb hard drive every day (or at least I did until recently, when it became full, which is why I decided to reorganise the backups, delete the old files, and start afresh). Aside from this, however, I also use it for browsing the internet occasionally (Netscape 6) and writing office documents using Star Office 5.2, as well as instant messaging using KxICQ. I use Linux on it partly because I wanted a good server operating system for the backups, and partly because I wanted to learn Linux.

The computer is in my bedroom, so I turn it off every night. Usually, there is some difficulty in doing this. If I select "shutdown" from the KDE menu, the computer will usually freeze there and will respond to nothing but being hard restarted or turned off. If I select "logoff", and then shut down from the logon window, most of the close-down procedure will work, but it will usually (about 95% of the time) stall permanently near the end of the procedure (I think when the filesystem is being unmounted). When this happens, I just turn it off. Occasionally, it will complete the power down sequence, spinning down the hard drives properly, and then I turn it off when it says, "power down".

Because it is a dual boot system, I have problems with the 1024 block limitation in LILO. Because of this, and because I cannot work out how to use GRUB, I always boot the system using the emergancy boot diskette which it prompted me to make when I installed it. I have tried using third party bootloaders, but they do not seem to work with Reiserfs. I do not know whether this relates in any way to my problem.

I now append a facsimile of the startup information which I see when the computer pauses with the error, and a description of what happens when I make certain responses. I have not yet chosen "y" in response to the first question because of the warning message that goes with it.

Unmounting initrd: [OK]
Configuring kernel perameters: [OK]
Setting clock (localtime): Sat Sep 7 20:59:46 BST 2002 [OK]
Loading default keymap: /etc/rc.sysinit: /dev/tty0: No such file or directory [FAILED]
Setting hostname [OK]
Checking root filesystem
Remounting root filesystem in read-write mode: [OK]
Activating swap partitions: swapon: cannot stat /dev/hda5: No such file or directory [FAILED]
Finding module dependencies: [OK]
Checking filesystems
The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2 filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2 filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
e2fsck -b 8193 <device>

: No such file or directory while trying to open /dev/hdb1
Failed to check filesystem. Do you want to repair the errors? (Y/N)
(beware, you can loose data)
*** An error has occurred during the file system check.
*** Dropping you to a shell; the system will reboot
*** when you leave the shell.
Give root password for maintenance
(or type Control-D for normal startup): CTRL+D
Unmounting file systems
Unmount: /dev: device is busy
Automatic reboot in progress...
[then it reboots and goes back to the same problem].

This looked like a problem relating to the hard drive to me (hence posting it in "hardware" - sorry if this is the wrong place), so I ran Quantum Data Protection Software and the IBM Drive Fitness Tools (OS independent boot-disk loading low-level disk utilities), and, after running their most thorough tests, no problems were found with either the main system drive (hda) or the big backup drive (hdb).

I really hope that someone can help me, as I think that having regular and up to date backups is important, and I should hate to have to reinstall everything just because of this. Thank you in advance for any help that you can give me,

James E. Petts.
Old 09-07-2002, 11:33 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2001
Location: chicago, IL
Distribution: debian, redhat
Posts: 280

Rep: Reputation: 30
So your main linux system resides on the partion that is reiserfs formated and the backup volume if ext3 formated? You need to do a filesystem check on the reiserFS partition (the one with /, /boot, /lib, /etc /usr, and possibly /var). I would try a resue boot. i thought mandrake used devFS, so you defiantely wnat the modules in /lib
Old 09-08-2002, 04:49 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.10
Posts: 121

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
I am a bit of a newbie, I'm afraid - how do I check the filesystem and do a rescue boot?

And I think that Reiserfs support is new to Mandrake 8.x.

Thank you very much for your help.
Old 09-08-2002, 08:48 AM   #4
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.10
Posts: 121

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
Hmm, I tried:

reiserfsck /dev/hda

and got:

"reiserfsck: could not open filesystem on '/dev/hda'".

When I specify a number from 1 through to 6 after "hda", exactly the same result is returned, with the addition of the number in the error message.

When I try:

fsck /dev/hda5

I get:

fsck 1.27 (8-Mar-2002)
fsck: fsck.swap: not found
fsck: Error 2 whilst executing fsck.swap for /dev/hda5

Also, when I use the rescue CD, I can mount and use hdb1, the ext3 filesystem.

Does this throw any light on the problem, or am I not doing it right?
Old 09-24-2003, 10:25 PM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0

fdisk /dev/hda

then p to print the tables.

q to quit. (be carfull)

if you can't do that your done anyway


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