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Old 06-16-2007, 11:57 AM   #1
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Boot time kernel panic after cloning distro to differnt disk

Hi there,

I used to have a mandriva 2007 running on an IDE hard disk, and then had to get a new disk because the old one is obviously dying. To avoid great amount of time on re-compiling many programs I have installed over time, I decided to clone the distro from the old disk instead of doing a clean installation on the old one.

Here is the scenario: the old hd is an IDE disk therefore gets assigned as /dev/hda by mdk, and the new one is a sata disk then as /dev/sda. I used partimage to backup the partitions on the old one and than restore the images to the new disk. Then I modified the /etc/lilo.conf and /etc/fstab on the new sata disk (basically changing anything refering /dev/hda to /dev/sda), reinstalled lilo, and boot up the machine.

The bootloader came up successfully and went on trying to boot the mdk distro on the sata disk. Unfortunately it reported that, because not being able to find the /dev/root device, it encountered a kernel panic and failed. I did some research around and was told that /dev/root was a symbolic link, but obviously the link is not a static link. So is there any way to tell the distro now the /dev/root should be /dev/sda instead of /dev/hda? Of I really have to do an installation from the beginning?

Thanks for anybody that could give me a pointer.
Old 06-16-2007, 12:59 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2006
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If that's the only problem, you could try modifying the link with a live cd, eg. Knoppix.

Just put it in, open a terminal and type in:

ln -s /dev/sda /dev/root

And I guess you should remove /dev/root first (rm /dev/root I think)...

It might also be from the bootloader... What are you using? Grub or LILO? If just modifying the link doesn't work, you should check your bootloader's config file too...
Old 06-16-2007, 02:24 PM   #3
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You need to list here the output of

(1) fdisk -l

(2) /etc/lilo.conf

so that the problem may be diagnosed
Old 06-19-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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hi, I managed to do the movement onto the SATAII drive. Just in case anyone would be interested, I listed my steps here.

As a nice knowledgable person has hinted, the reason that the kernel can not find the root drive is probably that the original startup kernel on my old IDE drive does not recognize the sata drive. This was correct because my kernel, i.e. the default Mandriva 2007 distro one, does not have compiled support for sata and needs external driver modules to access sata drives. And when I installed the distro on the IDE drive, the installer did not put in the necessary sata drivers (for the minimum startup kernel image vmlinuz) thus the vmlinuz, when it tried to access the new SATAII disk, failed and reported a panic.

So here is what I have done:
1. do a fresh installation of mandriva 2007 on the sata drive (just take the minimum packages to save time)
2. save the following files and folders
/boot (actually I just need the vmlinuz image but I save the whole folder anyway)
/etc/lilo.conf (probably would be different if you use grub)
3. now I clone the old IDE disk onto the SATAII disk again
4. put the files and folders I just backuped back to place and overwrite the existing ones
5. reinstall lilo again.

then I reboot the machine and everything is fine.


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