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Old 06-27-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
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Ubuntu Karmic fails to restart - only logo shows briefly, then error message


Have been running Karmic 910 for six months on a Dell Latitude D510 laptop with a Pentium M CPU, 2 GB of RAM and Intel 915 graphics, and I really like it, especially the Gnome desktop. However, a glitch occurred after suspending, resuming, shutting down and trying to restart. Now after selecting Ubuntu in Grub the Ubuntu logo shows up onscreen, doesn't pulsate, and eventually is replaced by an error message that the system gave up waiting for root device.

The LiveCD shows the Ubuntu partition as unrecognized, unknown or unused in Palimpsest Disk Utility, though Gparted shows it as normal ext4. The partition doesn't show up in Places. From the command prompt (via ctrl-alt-F1) I'm able to run fdisk, which shows the partitions but am unable to mount the Ubuntu sda4 partition - the error message is that the file type must be specified.

Starting recovery mode in Grub generates about 25 lines of startup messages, mostly dealing with usb devices, but a few render errors are there too. The last message before dropping to the ash shell is that a device could not be found. (ALERT! /dev/disk/by-uuid/5cee... does not exist.) The ash commands are completely new to me, so I haven't had any luck with recovery mode.

I would like to try some "quirks" (software fixes for hardware problems, including Intel graphics bugs) mentioned on the site and recover the data on the desktop, but so far cannot get into the file system.

Does GRUB need to be reinstalled? If so, why?

Would reinstalling Karmic without formatting anything preserve my data?

Would upgrading to Lucid help prevent the problem from occurring again?

Old 06-28-2010, 05:15 AM   #2
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Does GRUB need to be reinstalled? If so, why?
You only need to reinstall GRUB if your /boot got corrupted.

Would reinstalling Karmic without formatting anything preserve my data?
It should, however, if your partition is corrupted, then the chance of installing without reformatting isn't very high. The "correct" practice on Unix based systems is to have /home on a separate partition, thus if your root partition dies, your data in /home is safe (this saved me on more than one occasion).

Would upgrading to Lucid help prevent the problem from occurring again?
it might Understand what you're asking : something unusual happened on your system; unless you're able to reproduce it, this will be a one time glitch and, well I suppose one time says it all.

to your problem : I'd suggest running fsck on your / partition. It might still be fixable that way. But I must warn you : it could make things worse. If you have any critical data on there, I suggest you clone the partition and only then start fiddling with it (you always have the 'before fiddling' state at hand).

Old 07-21-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help. I've installed Ubuntu Lucid in my old Windows partition (am now running XP in VirtualBox in Ubuntu, due to lack of a proper video driver for a new HD monitor in Windows) and the installation process brought back my previous Ubuntu Karmic installation.

A word of caution for those planning to install Lucid: The GRUB installer used in the Desktop version only recognizes a maximum of two installed systems and is notorious for corrupting the MBR, as it did during my installation. The workaround is to install the Server version first. See for details.

I am also running PCLinuxOS, which has a utility on its menu for updating the Master Boot Record (MBR) that works great for undoing Ubuntu's mischief. It apparently uses the "legacy" version of GRUB, which works fine and correctly finds all the other installations.


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