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Old 12-06-2005, 11:11 AM   #1
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System hangs on Boot-up at Run level 3

Hey all,
I have a Linux machine
Machine: Intel Pentium 4, EM64T with Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 3.0 for EM64T (64 bit distribution) Kernel: 2.4.21

The machine hangs up during the boot-up process at run level 3
(I think). I asked my system administrator to look into it, and he did the following steps, but I think we really need help now ... My work is on hold! So any help would be greatly appreciated.

Below are listed the steps that were used to try and see what is going on:

Here's a few things that the system admin. tried:
1. Tried to boot up from CDROM but that was giving soem problems because of the hardware configuration (even with the CDROM drive as the primary drive)
1. Changed the default shell for "root" in /etc/passwd from /bin/bash to /bin/tcsh. This had no effect.
2. Changed the password for "root" in /etc/shadow to "*". I believe this is the equivalent of having a blank password. This had no effect.
3. Observed that attempting to login with an invalid username or password has the same effect as trying to login with a valid username and password--things hang !!!
4. Changed the default run level in /etc/inittab from 5 (X11) to 3 (multi-user). The boot process already seemed to be stopping at run level 3 anyway, so this didn't really make any difference either.
5. Can still login in single-user mode (also known as run level 1).

It doesn't seem like the login process ever progresses to where it checks the passwords.

Any help/pointers are appreciated.
Old 12-06-2005, 11:19 AM   #2
Bruce Hill
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The Rules you agreed to say:

# Do not post the same discussion in more than one forum. Duplicate discussions can be frustrating for other members. Try and pick the most relevant forum for your post. If you are unsure put it in Linux - General.
Old 12-06-2005, 11:22 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Scotland
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How far does the boot get - what's it loading when it hangs? Does it get by the bootloader etc etc
Old 12-06-2005, 11:22 AM   #4
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Oops, sorry about that. Am new to this forum. Will not do multiple posting in future. Thanks. Ayush
Old 12-06-2005, 11:24 AM   #5
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The Boot-up process goes to runlevel 3. It shows the login screen (non-graphical). In a usual situation, I would not type in anything and it would proceed to the stage of run level 5 (graphical interface). But in my situation, it freezes as the login screen and does not proceed to run level 5.

I can type in the login and password, but if I do so then it just hangs up !!
Old 12-15-2005, 04:21 AM   #6
Registered: Aug 2004
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Try the following:

boot to single user level, issue the command:
#init 2
it will take you to run level 2, and see if it works or not, the procedure to see which service causes the problem, if it work fine try to run each service from run level 3, service at a time until you get into the problem, and check logs files for any errors from previous boot....
Old 12-16-2005, 09:22 AM   #7
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Hey all,
thanks for all the replies and suggestions. I greatly appreciate it.

SInce I needed to get the system up and running (my research was on hold) I had the sys. admin. just reinstall the OS. And this time we installed CentOS4.2 as an alternative to RedHat. It works perfectly fine for now.

thanks again
Old 12-16-2005, 09:41 AM   #8
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Not intend to go off tangent here but if a system becomes unbootable the standard method to get inside is to boot to another Linux, say by a Live CD, mount the unbootable root partition on it, access to all the research data and if needed change root into it to do the resue work.

Just don't show this to your research supervisor if you want to retain the same excuse not able to access your computer.


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