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-   -   linux doesn't start. (

elishac 02-10-2010 08:54 PM

err well you're right, i'm not sure what to do...
can you give me a secure step by step procedure to recover the system in the state it was prior to this problem ?

damgar 02-10-2010 09:20 PM

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you are going to have to stop saying "please give step by ....." and start asking specific questions.

How far did you get with my previous post? Did you get to the point of checking the partitions. If you did what were the results? When someone asks you to do something, they are trying to help and if you don't understand what to do, or what something means, please ask about that particular issue, so that they can help you.

elishac 02-11-2010 11:05 AM

I sometimes have some troubles expressing myself, because I'm not English native. Sorry about that.
So far, I have burnt the linux cd, and booted with it. Then I chose the option "try ubuntu", and then I opened a terminal. I didn't do anything else.

damgar 02-11-2010 11:21 AM

PHP Code:

fdisk -

Post the output here.

elishac 02-11-2010 12:42 PM

The output is none.
But I wrote sudo fdisk -l, and I got this :

Disk /dev/sda : 200GB

device boot start end blocks id system
dev/sda1 * ... ... ... 7 htfs/ntfs
dev/sda2 ... ... ... 7 htfs/ntfs
dev/sda3 ... ... ... 7 w95 ext'd lba
dev/sda5 (no 4) ... 83 linux
dev/sda6 ... ... ... 82 linux swap/solaris

damgar 02-11-2010 01:06 PM

You can try
PHP Code:

sudo umount /dev/sda5

sudo e2fsck 
-fp /dev/sda5 

The first command unmounts your linux partition and might return an error saying it isn't mounted, and that's fine. The second will check the filesystem on that partiton and try to repair any errors it finds. After that try to reboot Ubuntu from the hard drive.

elishac 02-11-2010 02:14 PM

sudo umount /dev/sda5
umount: /dev/sda5: not mounted.
sudo e2fsck -fp /dev/sda5
/dev/sda5 368706/5124480 files (1.7% non contiguous), 2559314/5120000 blocks

damgar 02-11-2010 03:18 PM

Try to reboot from the hard drive. Report any errors.

elishac 02-11-2010 03:44 PM

I rebooted in normal mode, as you asked.
The error is the very same.

damgar 02-11-2010 04:17 PM

It doesn't look so good. Had you set up a seperate /home partition you could just install a fresh copy of Ubuntu and your files and settings would remain.

At this point you can try rebooting with the live cd and try to backup /home prior to re-installing, or you can inspect /boot and look for the reason the system won't boot, or lastly, try again to boot into the ubuntu recovery mode and see if there isn't something useful in there.

EricTRA 02-13-2010 12:41 AM

Hello elishac,

I've been reading through this thread and various possibilities have been offered. One question first, do you have an USB stick at hand to make backup of your documents? Or space on one of the other partitions to put your files on?

I ask that because it seems to me that the fastest way to solve your problems is to install Ubuntu again.

You could try the solution offered by tredegar in post 21 of this thread, if you haven't done so already, to try to fix the filesystem. But I'm personally more in favor of a complete new installation.

Kind regards,


elishac 02-13-2010 10:59 AM

Yes I have an USB stick at hand. I'm not sure it will be enough to backup everything though. In my opinion reinstalling ubuntu brings quite a lot of problems. Here are some of them that come to my mind, though I'm sure they're not the only ones :
- I'd need to figure out what files need to be saved, and I'd need to get usb keys or something else to save them.
- I don't know how to access the files (when I boot with the DVD, there's a different home folder).
- I wasn't the one that made the first installation. So I'm not exactly sure how to make it, and I'm not sure if some softwares were installed or not after the basic installation (so I'd have to find out both).
- I'd have to reinstall and reconfigure every software I have, as well as system preferences.

Is there a command/software that would allow me to figure out everything (files and softwares, and if possible system settings) that has been added since the installation ? I'm sure there's something like this at least for softwares...

But if reinstalling is my best option, then I will. It's just that it seems weird to me that I'd have to reinstall everything just because I didn't shut it down correctly. I do this all the time with windows (well not all the time but you get the picture), and linux is supposed to be more stable, right ?

Regarding the post 21.
I opened gparted, and clicked on gparted on the menu, then devices.
There is only one option, which is /dev/sda.

tredegar 02-13-2010 12:01 PM


I opened gparted, and clicked on gparted on the menu, then devices.
There is no need to run gparted now, you have already fsck'd the partition.

This thread is becoming a long one.

Time for a summary:
The current situation:
  • You have rendered your system unbootable. We do not know how you did that.
  • You have run fsck on /dev/sda5 which is your only linux partition ( apart from swap which we do not care about)
  • You still cannot boot.
An analysis of your problem:
  • There is a problem with the boot process, not the filesystem.
  • You can still rescue your personal files to an external USB HDD (borrow one).

Action to be taken:

Boot from the live CD (you know how to do that by now)
Open a terminal and type:

sudo  mkdir  /OLD
sudo  mount  /dev/sda5  /OLD
ls  -l  /OLD/home

Do you see your old username listed?
If so, you are ready to save your data to a USB drive.

What data do you need to save?
- Emails ? (in which case what email program were you using)
- Music ?
- Documents ?
- Browser bookmarks ?
- Everything ?

We need to know how much data needs saving.
In a terminal, give this command:


du  -ch  /OLD/home/yourusername
Some text scrolls past.
Tell us what the last line says for ____ total

damgar 02-13-2010 12:08 PM



du -ch /OLD/home/yourusername

Now I learned something, thanks! :)

elishac 02-13-2010 12:24 PM

Yes I do see my username listed.
I added sudo to du otherwise many things aren't listed.
It only says 770M total (210M without sudo). Is that everything that has been added since the installation ?
(can you quickly explain why there's need to create a new directory and mount it?)

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