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Old 05-12-2011, 10:09 AM
Simon Hoerder
Default Boot problem after crashed update


I made a fresh install of debian squeeze just after its release and
dutifully installed the updates suggested by the package manager
whenever necessary.

1) This morning, I did the same (what the package manager calls a "safe"
update, no packages where removed or installed) but in between the
update crashed the system.
2) The only thing that worked was switching between x (ctrl+alt+f7) and
the terminal (ctrl+alt+f1) but I couldn't log in to the terminal;
instead I got some error messages about init (or initsomething -
unfortunately I do not remember anymore) spawning to much and
something (it wasn't being clear what) being delayed/suppressed for 5
3) After the 5 minutes the situation hadn't changed however and I had to
get to work so I switched the laptop off. (ctrl+esc just produced an
error message that /sbin/shutdown didn't work or was unavailable.)
4) When I booted the laptop at work, it crashed soon after grub, the
rror message being:

udevd[58]: error: runtime directory '/run/udev' not writable, for now
falling back to '/dev/.udev'

run-init: /sbin/init: No such file or directory
[ 4.515687] Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!

5) Booting the failsafe debian doesn't work either.
6) Booting my old SuSE works and all disks are mounted properly.
7) I then tried to run the rescue system from the debian installation
- Executing a shell in /dev/sda3 (my root) fails without any
meaningful error message.
- Executing a shell in the installer environment succeeds with
/dev/sda3 mounted in /target. But 'chroot /target' fails with the
following error message:
chroot: can't execute '/bin/sh': No such file or directory
However, ls -la /target/bin tells me that /target/bin/sh is a link
to /target/bin/dash which exists and is writable and executable.
- reinstalling grub into the MBR fails without any meaningful error
8) Using the shell from the installer system, I checked that
exist where grub expects to find them.

I have some (limited) experience with linux but regarding the boot
process I'm basically a complete novice. Unfortunately, I have no clue
how to continue from here on. I have googled and found loads of bug
reports for boot problems but none seemed quite like mine and the tips
given there weren't applicable or (e.g. "reinstall grub", run a "execute
a rescue system shell on /") didn't work. (Given that I'm not sure how
to diagnose the problem properly, I probably used the wrong google
search terms.) All help appreciated.

My laptop is a Lenovo G550 with an Intel Core 2 Duop T6600 CPU. I have
debian-6.0.1a-amd64 installed.

Many thanks,
Simon Hoerder
* Dipl. Ing. Simon Hoerder
* Department of Computer Science
* Merchant Venturers Building, 2.01
* Woodland Road
* Bristol, BS8 1UB
* United Kingdom
* http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/Research/CryptographySecurity/
* UK mobile: +44 7564 035925

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