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Old 07-06-2005, 03:32 PM   #1
Brimrand
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unclean shut down - won't finish boot


From searching the threads, I'm not the first one that accidently turned off the computer without shutting down.

On reboot, I have told it to do an integrity check and have also run e2fsck from rescue mode. I still get the "system integrity check" message but when it timesout the drives report that they are clean.

My problem is that the system hangs when it finishes starting ALSA. I do not know enough about linux to know how to find out what the system is trying to start next, that may be freezing it. Is there something akin to Autoexec.bat from MSDOS in linux?

Any suggestion on how to get this thing back up and running would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
 
Old 07-06-2005, 05:06 PM   #2
thorn168
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Two suggestions:

Try booting off of a Boot Floppy.

(you can find the floppy img files on the original install disk.)

Try booting the system with a live CD version of linux and see if you can see the files on the installed partitions and try recovering the system that way.

If you can boot the system with the floppy then you can try re-installing the damaged Alsa files.

The only other alternative is to re-install.
 
Old 07-07-2005, 06:53 AM   #3
Brimrand
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thorn168, thank you for your suggestions.

If I boot into failsafe mode, I do get to a command prompt. Once I exit the command line the system continues to boot where it locks in the same place. Is this method of getting to the command line sufficient?

So eventhough, I get the "[OK]" message at the end of the "Starting ALSA...," you think that ALSA is what is failing? Good, that gives me something to focus on.

If I do reinstall, how destructive is it to the current configuration? Do I need to backup my home directory files or anything else?

Thank you to anyone and everyone for any help.
 
Old 07-07-2005, 04:42 PM   #4
thorn168
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If you can get to the command line you should be able to repair the damage. Can you find the LILO boot list? ( I am not an expert with the CLI so I can't really advise you on how to find the boot list in the CLI. However I know that if you can open up boot list in VI you will be able to see what is hanging up your boot process.)

If you would rather re-install to fix the problem. I would suggest that you back up any important data that you have on the hard drive. Back up just the data, not the programs because those will be re-installed.

Which Linux version are you using? Is it Mandriva? Mandrake 10?

You may also wish to check the error logs which should be in the /etc directory for any information that they report about the device that is failing in the boot up.
 
Old 07-08-2005, 09:12 AM   #5
Brimrand
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Again thorn168, thank you for helping me. Being a noob to linux is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Kind of like when I first started using DOS so many years ago.

First, I am running Mandrake 10.1 and, if possible, I would like to not reinstall. It feels so Windows like to do that.

I do not know of an error log in /etc. I did find out from googling that there are some log files in /var/log. The last thing that boot.log, messages and syslog say is that eth0 failed but that has always failed and since it is not networked I haven't worried about it. The strange thing is that if you scroll from the bottom up in any of these files (going back in time) there comes a point where the time goes back a little more that four hours where rc.sysinit leaves a few messages and then above that the time jumps forward more than four hours that is the last line in the log as given by the time stamp. This line is about alsa starting. It's almost like once it reaches the ethernet line it jumps up in the file and starts overwriting (or inserting).

By the LILO boot list are you referring to the list that comes up with the blue background Mandrake graphic that lists "linux, linux no-fb, failsafe, windows"? Yes, I have access to this and I use the failsafe option to get to the command prompt. I found that the list resides in /etc/lilo.conf but I do not see anything that references a file to tell me what it will load.

It looks like it comes down to alsa failing eventhough it states that it succeeded or it's the next thing that should load but I don't know what that item is.

Thanks again.
 
Old 07-08-2005, 02:21 PM   #6
thorn168
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What kind of sound card do you have?

Also have you tried booting up using a boot floppy?

This the point where you ask yourself do want to fix the problem fast or do I want to tinker and figure out what is really going on in this install?

Re-installing is the fast track to fixing the problem.

Asking 20 questions is the tinker approach.

Also you have to ask yourself how committed are you to using this distro.

I tried Mandrake 10 as my first distro and I had problems with it so I switched to Conectiva 10.

I love Conectiva. I am heartbroken that they have sold out to Mandrake.

What I am trying to say is that there are hundreds of distros out there, so that if this one doesn't work well for you and your set up, you should not hesitate to move on to another one.
 
Old 07-10-2005, 07:12 AM   #7
springshades
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I also have Mandrake 10.1. For me, the boot order goes ALSA > mixer > X fonts. Those are the next two things that boot up, maybe that will help. The boot scripts are in /etc/inittab. That file calls several files that you can find in /etc/rc.d/ folder I think... If you are right and it's in a loop, I wouldnt know how to fix it. Maybe you could look at those scripts and look for anything that is obviously missing or corrupted. If so, I can send you a copy of my version of the file that you could just copy over it with, that might work. It is a BUNCH of files full of some very confusing stuff though. I wouldn't completely eliminate the option of reinstalling. You can pop in a live CD, grab anything you'd like to back up, then just reinstall. You'd be up and running again VERY quickly. You could even try another distro. I've been wanting to try out Mepis for awhile, it's supposed to be easy to use and pretty.

Once we had a storage server running in a software RAID 5 configuration on Fedora Core 2. We had the computer freeze randomly one time and when we rebooted it, the entire RAID array just disappeared and ALL of that stuff was gone (about a terabyte). I'm just saying that sometimes improper shutdowns can have VERY bad consequences in Linux.
 
Old 07-12-2005, 12:22 PM   #8
Brimrand
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I know I keep starting my replies with "thank you"s but I really do appreciate the time you (both of you) are taking to help me.

I have learned a few things. First, I was stupid and didn't notice that I can force the bootup to go into interactive mode by hitting "i" during bootup. This lets me step through and decided what does and does not load. I found that "sound" loads after alsa. I can choose to not load either alsa or sound and the system will load with the sound working. It looks like I can tell one of these not to load and my problem will be fixed. Is there a particular benefit to running one over the other and how do I eliminate them? I assume I can kill alsa from within the "configure computer" section.

Both of you suggest a reinstall. I have partly tried to avoid this because the size of the updating that I would need to do over a dial-up would just depress me too much. I know that I could do it in a pinch but I hope not to.

thorn168:
Since I can get the thing to boot (with a crutch) I won't comment on some of your suggestions but I can say that the card is a very old soundblaster 16. This is a kludge together system that I mainly use as a learning system and email reader.

As far as why I am using Mandrake, somewhere I saw a recommendation that it was a good distro for a newbie. I have no other reason and am not married to it. Other than this problem that I created, I have slowly ironed out most of the minor problems that I have had with this distro (other that off and on usb drive mounting problems) and finally have many of the programs that I want installed. I still am very green so I would like to use a version that will handhold me as much a possible. If you think there is another distro that I should use, I am listening.

springshades,
Thank you for the boot order. That is what I was looking for. Turns out yours is different but that was what I wanted.

I also appreciate the pointers on the boot up script and file locations. I have looked at some of these files and it is not nearly as easy as looking at a list of files that are to run as in old MSDOS

I have been careful to always properly shutdown the computer (well except this one time) but I did not know that linux could be so unforgiving. I would hate to lose all of those spam emails on my drive.

Thank you again.
 
Old 07-13-2005, 12:51 AM   #9
springshades
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Well, if it's a choice between sound and ALSA, I'd probably stick with having ALSA start up at boot just because that is what most of the distros I've seen use. I really don't have any better reason for picking that one though.
 
Old 07-13-2005, 05:31 PM   #10
thorn168
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Brimrand,

Well If I have not been helpful I apologize...Mandrake is my least favorite distro.

The reason I do not like mandrake is because its disk partitioning interface not as polished as some other distros that I have used.
The distro theme is also in my opinion lack luster.

Now with that said I respect your commitment to fixing problems and the reasons you have for maintaining that commitment to your chosen distribution.

There are dozens of others members who are far more knowledgable about Mandrake then I am.

But the key thing I have learned about linux is that you have a lot of choices in what you can install on any given system. Some distros are "tuned" to work on certain hardware configurations that other distros don't support. The most important thing is to do a lot of research and reading to become proficient in administering your computer

Good luck


.
 
Old 07-14-2005, 02:59 AM   #11
springshades
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No, I'm sure your input was helpful as he said. With Linux, a reinstall or change of distro is always an option to consider (because often it's much faster than the fiddling option).

I'm surprised by the fact that you didn't like harddrake though. The advanced mode has been one of the best graphical partitioning/formatting tools I've seen in any distro. Full and easy control over resizing, mounting options, file system type, etc, and it automatically writes to fstab. Much better than the graphical tools in other distros like old Redhat, Fedora Core, Xandros, etc. Which distro has better tools for that in your opinion?

I'd agree that the themes aren't anything special though. I'm always surprised at how good Fedora Core and Ubuntu manage to make the Gnome desktop look (by default it seems a little clunky to me). One upside of the takeover of Conectiva is that the next release of Mandrake is supposed to incorporate some of their features. As long as they keep it relatively low on the bugginess side, it will have to be a good thing.

One more thing, the updates in Linux aren't quite as important as in Windows. There are about 5-10 times as many of them (SO annoying), but many of them update small programs. It isn't like in Windows where if you leave a single update your computer will most likely get hijacked in a week or two.

Distros that I'd consider good for a beginner (from my experience trying or from what I've heard):
Mandrake
Mepis
Xandros
Linspire
Suse
Ubuntu
and there are others...

Steer clear of the ones that Linux experts point you at. I swear, some people don't understand that we don't all have months to spend setting up our computers...
Debian
Slackware
Gentoo
etc.
 
Old 07-14-2005, 04:35 PM   #12
thorn168
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springshades,

I can speak and read Brasilian Portuguese so the second distro I tried after Mandrake was Conectiva 10.

Conectiva 10 is localized to English, Portuguese and Spanish so you don't have to deal a Portuguese only distro.

From the first time that I installed Conectiva I fell in love with it.

The current updated release is about as solid as you can make a distro.

I have it running on a P3-450 with 320 ram in a dual boot configuration on its own HD. The machine I have it on is not really the ideal machine for linux testing because it is old and has a complex hardware configuration. But Conectiva runs well on it and is very stable.

I even installed it with the Protuguese localization whille I was in Brasil visiting family. And the computer I put it on was way beat and Conectiva Installed worked where Knoppix 3.6 Live and DSL 1.01 Failed. (It was the first time that I have ever seen Knoppix based live distros fail!)
So I like Conectiva a lot because in my opinion it is the best Redhat based distro available.
 
  


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