Won't boot after package update

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

I did have a working Mint Linux 9 installation.

Yesterday it said that 40-odd packages had updates available and I let it download and update them all. After the updates, the system won't boot. I get no messages of any kind on the screen (apart from BIOS stuff). The disk flashes for quite some time but nothing ever comes up.

I can however use the Live CD to boot - and I can then fsck the disk, or mount the disk and have a look around - so I don't suspect that there is any hardware problem or file system corruption.

What is the recommended course of action to get this up and going again?

If I had to take a wild guess, I am suspicious of some updates relating to "initramfs" but that could be way off base and I don't really even know what that is or how it relates to the boot.

gabrielh
Site Admin
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:13 pm

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by gabrielh »

Hi

I was unable to reproduce your problem. After updating the system all works fine. I can suggest you to reinstall the OS
Gabriel Heifets

Fit-PC2/3/IntensePC support.

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

I'm booting off external USB, if it makes any difference. I have disabled the WiFi by blacklisting. I have no swap (but 2GB of RAM).

Yes, I know that I can reinstall from scratch. That is fairly unappealing though, largely due to the time that it would take. This in turn is affected by the huge number of updates that it will want to download and apply. And then I would need to install a modest number of other packages.

So let me ask another question ... what is the recommended way of avoiding having to reinstall from scratch?

For example, I start with an ISO that I downloaded on another computer and burnt to CD. I install from that. Then I configure a bit and I apply a squillion updates and install a few other things. Is there then some reasonably simple way to make a new ISO on CD (or DVD)? (such that if I ever had to reinstall from scratch it would at least be to a later software baseline)

Alternatively or in addition to that, what is the recommended way of just backing up the entire root file system so that I could restore if I had to? (The intention is that the restore makes the root file system identical to the state that it was in at the time that it was backed up, and that the PC is bootable after the restore.)

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

This has happened again )-: )-: - on a different fit-PC2i, with different disk configuration.

Mint Linux wanted to install 450 or so updates. I let it. After all updates, the system wouldn't boot.

I suspect that there is an update in the stream of updates for Mint Linux to which the fit-PC2i is allergic. It would be really good if we could stop this happening!!!

I can only ask again ... how do I backup my entire root file system, before applying updates, so that if the system becomes unbootable, I can restore the backup and get a state that is identical to that prior to the updates???

Some explanatory notes:

1. The reason that there were so many updates being applied is that I had reinstalled the system from scratch i.e. from a live CD. The reason that I reinstalled the system from scratch was that I changed the disk.

2. The disk was previously a 500GB Samsung HDD. It was replaced with a 120GB OCZ SSD. In either case the disk is SATA II and installed internally to the fit-PC2i. The HDD was not faulty. (I changed it for other reasons.) The fit-PC2i was working fine. I believe that all updates had been applied to the install on the HDD (but they may have been installed in a different sequence and/or in a different pattern).

The fit-PC2i that originally exhibited this problem had, and still has, a USB-attached disk and no internal disk.

3. I am starting to suspect maybe an update to grub is the problem (not initramfs, as I previously suggested - but there may be a connection anyway).

vegham
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:30 pm

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by vegham »

derek wrote:I can only ask again ... how do I backup my entire root file system, before applying updates, so that if the system becomes unbootable, I can restore the backup and get a state that is identical to that prior to the updates???
dd if=/dev/sda of=~/disk.img

Change /dev/sda if your device is elsewhere.
Linux nerd

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

That will back up the entire disk though? So I would need a spare disk that is bigger than the root disk? And it would take much longer than it needed to? (There was a reason why I asked about backing up the entire file system.)

I suppose that the problem with backing up the file system is that the result of restoring it won't be bootable - unless there is some utility that can resolve that. Part of the problem is that I am not even sure how this thing boots. I saw some message during the (re)install about the fact that it was installing grub2, but then there are other messages about grub.

Still, this is some progress.

The obvious next question would be ... for definiteness, what is the command to restore?

I may try this experiment on the original fit-PC2i that failed, since it has a much smaller root disk.

vegham
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:30 pm

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by vegham »

You will need a bigger storage device, yes.

I did this when I changed my 320GB harddrive with a 120GB SSD in my fit-pc. Still runs today.
Linux nerd

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

I've had some success with progressing this.

Creating an exact copy of the root device allowed me to boot from it and apply the updates with the system booted from the copy. That way, if the system won't boot after the updates, it doesn't matter.

One of the problems is that my knowledge of Linux is not enough to distinguish different cases of "won't boot". (I don't get anything on the screen until X comes up - so there is plenty that can go wrong before I see anything. This contrasts with a Mandriva installation that I have on another PC, not a fitPC, where it shows me on the "console" what it is doing during bootup.)

Anyway, one situation that I found is that the file system was corrupted. Badly corrupted. So badly corrupted that e2fsck seemingly died on one occasion. This happened multiple times i.e. I would repair the file system or even remake the file system and later on the same scenario would happen again. NB: This is not the root file system. This is the file system on another disk.

I don't know why this is happening so I took this other disk out of the picture. I will continue to monitor things.

I now believe that the scenario doesn't relate directly to doing package updates, although doing package updates may do something that indirectly triggers the problem to occur.

I suspect that more than one problem is occurring because I had the same symptoms on the other fitPC too but the other fitPC only has one disk and has only ever had one disk and the file system on the disk is fine (hopefully).

flosspike
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:23 pm

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by flosspike »

[quote="derek"]I did have a working Mint Linux 9 installation.

Yesterday it said that 40-odd packages had updates available and I let it download and update them all. After the updates, the system won't boot. I get no messages of any kind on the screen (apart from BIOS stuff). The disk flashes for quite some time but nothing ever comes up.

I have posted in mint 9 officially supported thread so apologies if i'm repeating myself. Having discovered this thread I downloaded .iso of Mint 9 and installed. I followed the instructions from Derek and all was fine. I was happy, and HD playback was as good as ubuntu 8.04 (from what I remember). I only moved from Ubuntu 9.04 due to Wi-Fi issues (Couldn't connect to my router). However, everything now working I also was faced with these updates. After about an hour all updates were installed but now when I reboot I get an error "Memory to small". Various forums point to a issue with memtest and I've messed about but dont know enough. I have installed again mint 9 and got everything going but have not updated the system. I does seem to be very very unstable. Seems to crash at the slightest excuse normally provoked by moving a window. Video within a box only shows if you invoke a pulldown window.. I have a fit2PC which I use in my daughters minibus to watch movies/music videos. I think I'm going to have to reinstall ubuntu 9.04 unless someone can re-create this problem. I've seen this memory too small error but surprised no-one else with a fit2pc has posted anything.. can anyone help pretty please...

derek
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:26 am

Re: Won't boot after package update

Post by derek »

when I reboot I get an error "Memory to small"
With the obvious question ... how much memory do you have?

I did not ever see this message so perhaps your problem is different from mine.
It does seem to be very very unstable. Seems to crash at the slightest excuse normally provoked by moving a window.
Did you set "video effects" to "None" as implied by the installation instructions?

Have you installed just vanilla Mint or Mint plus the fit-PC specific additional software (e.g. fit-PC kernel), as listed in the installation instructions?

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