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Ubuntu refuses to boot>Attempted solutions listed


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#1 beachfeet

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 10:54 AM

Hello BC,

A few days ago, I installed updates via the terminal on my Ubuntu 14.04 Lenovo machine. After I rebooted, a black screen appeared, with the following text:

Error: unknown file system.

Entering rescue mode…

Grub rescue>

While attempting to find solutions, I have ran into a couple of issues.

The first thing I tried to do was use TimeShift, to restore some previous images that I have saved on an external drive. I used a bootable Ubuntu USB, and installed TimeShift, on the live OS. The install was successful. Even though I have been saving backup images on a partition of the external, that is designed for Linux backups only, I was not able to see a single back up that was previously created.  The Live Ubuntu OS recognized the external, and the partition, but after using the browse feature in TimeShift, and navigating to the External partition, I could not see the images. Again, both TimeShift, and Ubuntu recognized the partition, but I could not view the saved backups.

The second thing that I tried, was using Boot-Repair. I downloaded, and saved the Boot-Repair ISO.  on a USB drive, and did not experience any errors while booting into Boot-Repair. I made sure to download the x64 version of Boot-Repair. However, after Boot-Repair scanned the computer, I was only presented with one option. I could only create a log file, and the option to repair the machine, was not available. Thinking that there was something wrong with the ISO, I booted from the Ubuntu Live USB, and installed Boot-Repair from the terminal. Unfortunately, I had the same problem. Even after installing it, I was only given the option to create a log file. 

Could someone please help me, get my machine back into a working condition? I installed the updates using the following commands, before all this madness started.

Sudo apt-get update

Sudo apt-get upgrade

Sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Thank you very much for your time, BC.



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#2 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:22 AM

Hi beachfeet, we meet again - sounds ominous, doesn't it? OK, all is unlikely lost.

 

A number of questions here:

  1. So you were on Ubuntu 14.04 (Unity I take it), 64-bit?
  2. Is the Live Ubuntu USB equipped with Persistence (I know you loaded Timeshift, but are changes preserved from session to session of using the stick)?
  3. If so, how much space for Persistence?
  4. When you are in Live Session, are you able to access the contents of the OS through Nautilus aka "Files"?
  5. Are you running Windows with this, or is it just the Ubuntu on the Lenovo?
  6. Have you provided screenshots at BC before, to the Linux section?
  7. Do you know if you have Synaptic Package Manager installed?

Can you do something for me - at the grub rescue prompt, type and enter

ls

... that's a lowercase L, and record the output, spaces and all, and report back here?

 

It will look something like this:

 

(hd0),(hd0,msdos1)(hd0,msdos2)(hd0,msdos4)

 

Depending on the output you provide we can proceed further on this track to determine your root drive.

 

We may also look at commands from the grub rescue that may allow you to reboot, if not we'll look at a small command called "tail" to provide the end of your file syslog from prior to the crash.

 

But we'll cross those bridges when we come to them.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#3 NickAu

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 02:00 AM

Sounds like Grub is broken and it needs to be repaired or reinstalled.



#4 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 02:52 AM

Quite likely - I've had 3 or 4 of these over the last 12 months as I've added to my number of Linux Distros.

 

I'd like to know why, so the OP can be aware of what to avoid in future, if need be.

 

But the first priority is to get him up and running again, and then to see if those Timeshift snapshots reinstate themselves. So with your help?

 

beachfeet, one more question (tedious, I know) to add to the above -

 

Was there a reason you ran sudo apt-get dist-upgrade as in you noted packages were being held back, or other reason?

 

Thanks

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#5 beachfeet

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 01:28 PM

Hello Wizard, and Nick. Thank you, for getting back to me.

Wizard-

1) Yes, that is correct.

2,3)I am honestly not sure. I have never used that feature

4)I am not sure that I understand the question. I am able to access "files" and other features that the Live OS offers, but I am not able to access the contents of the HDD, using the Live OS. I cannot see any of the saved documents, or any other file that was previously created.

5)Ubuntu is the only OS, that is running on the machine.

6)I do not believe that I have

7)Yes, Synaptic Package Manager is installed.

 

If I type ls, at the Grub rescue prompt, the output that I receive is,

(hd0) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos1)

 

I ran the dist-upgrade in an attempt to update some packages that were not being updated, using the sudo apt-get update/sudo apt-get upgrade commands.

Thank you again, and I hope that I have provided the information that you were looking for.



#6 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:53 PM

That's great, ta (thanks in Aussie) for the input/output, lol.

 

We'll start from the bottom and work up

 

 

If I type ls, at the Grub rescue prompt, the output that I receive is,

(hd0) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos1)

 

We are going to establish, first, your root partition. Grub rescue has four commands, we've used "ls" and we'll be using "set" next. Set gets used first to find our root partition, and then to set it to remedy the breakdown. Don't be confused with the "msdos" references - Grub Rescue recognises partitions, but not the file type (likely Ext4 for Linux).

 

At the prompt type and enter

set prefix=(hd0,msdos5)/boot/grub

... there is only one space, between set and prefix

 

If it comes up with an error eg "unknown file system", repeat the exercise with

set prefix=(hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub

When we get no error, we have found your root drive.

 

At that point, type the following two commands, Entering between them. The first, "insmod" is the 3rd of those commands I mentioned:

insmod normal
normal

At this point, I would like you to reboot your computer and see if you "get in", and report back, there will still be a couple of steps to follow.

 

:wizardball: Wizard

Edited out extraneous material


Edited by wizardfromoz, 07 July 2016 - 05:28 PM.


#7 wizardfromoz

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 05:52 PM

If the processes above have been followed, and you have been successful getting back into a working session of your OS, that may be all that is required.

If the changes don’t “take”, that is, they don’t survive a warm boot (reboot) or a cold boot (powerdown, then power up) … there are a couple of further steps we can take.

Repeat the steps above to get back into a working session of the OS on your computer (not the live medium), enter Terminal and type the following:


 

sudo update-grub
sudo grub-install /dev/sda

Let us know how you go with all of the above, and if need be we will look at reinstall options, and I will ask about personal data you have generated and wish to save, also about your configuration of Timeshift.

Cheers

:wizardball: Wizard


Edited by wizardfromoz, 07 July 2016 - 05:53 PM.


#8 beachfeet

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:46 PM

That's great, ta (thanks in Aussie) for the input/output, lol.

 

We'll start from the bottom and work up

 

 

If I type ls, at the Grub rescue prompt, the output that I receive is,

(hd0) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos1)

 

We are going to establish, first, your root partition. Grub rescue has four commands, we've used "ls" and we'll be using "set" next. Set gets used first to find our root partition, and then to set it to remedy the breakdown. Don't be confused with the "msdos" references - Grub Rescue recognises partitions, but not the file type (likely Ext4 for Linux).

 

At the prompt type and enter

set prefix=(hd0,msdos5)/boot/grub

... there is only one space, between set and prefix

 

If it comes up with an error eg "unknown file system", repeat the exercise with

set prefix=(hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub

When we get no error, we have found your root drive.

 

At that point, type the following two commands, Entering between them. The first, "insmod" is the 3rd of those commands I mentioned:

insmod normal
normal

At this point, I would like you to reboot your computer and see if you "get in", and report back, there will still be a couple of steps to follow.

 

:wizardball: Wizard

Edited out extraneous material

Thank you, for the detailed reply, Wizard. The above fixes, did not work for me.  I am not sure if I went about this process the correct way. Below, I have typed out, what is on the Lenovo Screen.

 

error: unknown file system.

Entering rescue mode...

grub rescue>set prerfix=(hd0,msdos5) /boot/grub

grub rescue>insmod normal

error:unknown file system.

grub rescue>set prefix=(hd0,msdos1) /boot/grub

grub rescue>insmod normal

error:unknown file system.

grub rescue> 



#9 Al1000

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:56 PM

The first thing I would try is Boot-Repair:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

#10 beachfeet

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:58 PM

Thank you, but I listed those steps in my first post.

Al, do you know why the boot repair option was not available? I tried both the dedicated boot drive, and the option to install Boot-Repair via a live Ubuntu drive, and the only option that was available was to create a log file.


Edited by beachfeet, 09 July 2016 - 04:11 PM.


#11 Al1000

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 04:32 PM

Oops, sorry, so you did. Can you boot up with a live DVD or USB? If so the next thing I would try is to "chroot" into your system and install grub again from there. Using your Ubuntu DVD or USB, follow steps 1 - 9 in this post

Then open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo fdisk -l
Note the name of the device you have Ubuntu installed on.

Now run this command, swapping X for the letter of the device Ubuntu is installed on:
sudo grub-install /dev/sdX
Then refer to Hollowface's tutorial again, and follow steps 20 - 25.

Edited by Al1000, 09 July 2016 - 04:52 PM.


#12 wizardfromoz

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:36 AM

Gosh, I had forgotten that one, Al, good call (& by inference, hollowface).

 

beachfeet don't think I'm giving you "the flick" but I'd advocate following Al's method here, and I'll step back.

 

Just a note about your output to me:

 

 

grub rescue>set prerfix=(hd0,msdos5) /boot/grub

 

... my highlighting  ... I take it that is not what was on the screen, but a typo by yourself, since?

 

I'll keep an eye on how you go here, and if resolved by the methods suggestion, this Topic might be regarded as finsihed, but sing out (with another Topic) if you need a hand with Timeshift.

 

Cheers

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#13 beachfeet

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 06:44 PM

Thank you both.

Wizard, yes that was a typo, while posting the reply.

Al, while attempting to follow the steps, I ran into a problem, on #5. Below, I have pasted what is being shown in the Terminal, while using an Ubuntu Live drive. Could you please continue assisting me with this? Thank you again.

 

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo blkid
/dev/loop0: TYPE="squashfs"
/dev/sda5: UUID="e7a9332a-9679-432c-8bbd-1880b5023f6f" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sdb1: LABEL="UBUNTU 14_0" UUID="EC8A-ACE5" TYPE="vfat"
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo mkdir /media/OSP
mkdir: cannot create directory ‘/media/OSP’: File exists
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo mount -U "e7a9332a-9679-432c-8bbd-1880b5023f6f"
mount: mount point swap does not exist
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo mount -U "e7a9332a-9679-432c-8bbd-1880b5023f6f" /media/OSP
/dev/sda5 looks like swapspace - not mounted
mount: you must specify the filesystem type
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo mount -U "EC8A-ACE5" /media/OSP
mount: /dev/sdb1 already mounted or /media/OSP busy
mount: according to mtab, /dev/sdb1 is mounted on /cdrom
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$

Wizard, would it possibly be easier to install TimeShift while using this live drive, and attempt to bring one of my saved working images back to life? That is one of the first steps that I tried, but I was not able to access, or view the saved files, that are on the external.


Edited by beachfeet, 10 July 2016 - 06:55 PM.


#14 wizardfromoz

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 01:03 AM

 

Wizard, would it possibly be easier to install TimeShift while using this live drive, and attempt to bring one of my saved working images back to life?

 

Sorry mate been buggerising around putting together a Live USB with Ubuntu 14.04 and a gig of Persistence on it, to have handy if needed for you.

 

Read your post earlier but missed the last two lines.

 

I really don't want to intrude on the work Al is doing with you currently, he and hollowface know more than I in this regard.

 

But I'll answer you questions and ask a couple, if you can respond when able that would be cool.

 

I've got to bolt for a few minutes (& you may be catching zzzz's) but when I'm back I'll Wiz something together. Al may be back on deck by then, after he's eaten his morning porridge, lol.

 

Cheers

 

:wizardball: Wiz



#15 cat1092

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 03:43 AM

If by chance Boot Repair doesn't work, as long as the /home partition is separate, there's a way to perform a 'fresh upgrade', creating & formatting the existing root partition, and marking /home & Swap as these are, yet do not place a check in the Format box of /home. Just choose it as ext4 (or whatever it currently is) & select /home from the dropdown list, same with Swap if installed & reinstall the OS. As long as you've followed instruction, you have a new OS. I once 'fresh upgraded in this manner from Mint 12 (maybe 11) to 17.1, though when adding a new data /Linux /home drive, saved all of my folders inside of /home to an external & installed the entire OS clean. The OS was much faster, and before wiping the former drive, searched it's contents, there were over 2GiB of useless junk, 4 OS's before MInt 17. Back to your situation. :)

 

This gives you a fresh OS, and your documents in /home are saved. All you'll need to do is update the OS & you'll be ready to go. One thing you may notice, is that if you've chosen custom wallpapers, these may still be there. So a fresh upgrade is the way to go when all else fails. That's also why it's a bad idea to have root only w/out a /home partition. Preferably on an entirely different drive, that way, should the drive with the root partition goes, you've lost nothing. I always run root on a SSD, and /home & swap on a HDD. One wouldn't know if a VM is created that it's on a HDD, if a Windows install, will surpass the 5.9 WEI mark & run much faster than a new $500-600 computer out of the box, on a HDD. Only the VMware client is running on the SSD, the virtual OS folder & drive is within the /home folder on a HDD. 

 

Backups are also important, while I once supported Timeshift, my recent success at cloning with Macrium Reflect to another SSD has shown me there's other tools to use. Chances are, if the clone tool works, so does the backup one. All I had to do was reinstall Grub, and this was done within the session. The computer is running fine, is the one my wife uses. I just wanted for the first time since ownership in 2012, place the 128GiB m4 SSD on a SATA-3 port & see how fast it is, turned out to be a lot of work for nothing, while the read speeds are over 500MB/sec, writes are barely over 200MB/sec. The 180GiB Intel 330 SSD purchased a few months later reads & writes at over 500MB/sec. Though the experiment did prove something, that Macrium Reflect can clone Linux OS's. 

 

The only catch to using Macrium Reflect, is that one needs a Windows computer, or borrow one to download Macrium Reflect from File Hippo (OEM site leads one to Download.com, a scummy site), have provided the best one below. The File Hippo version is clean and has no PUP's, safe to install on any Windows version. The only catch when creating bootable media is that the one for the matching bit version (32 or 64 bit) must be the same, or the operation may fail. Normally this is no issue, since the majority of computer in use today are 64 bit. The Windows installer will select the proper bit version for the computer, so if used for Linux, be sure to keep this in mind. Use a computer of the same bit version or higher (64 bit preferred). While the installed Macrium Reflect can create a 32 bit ISO for booting on a 64 bit computer, it doesn't work the other way around, the 32 bit computer is incapable of creating the proper WinPE ISO because the needed components aren't there. 

 

http://filehippo.com/download_macrium_reflect/

 

Yet this is just one example of how a tool designed for Windows, also does the same with Linux, just as there are many Linux based tools (MiniTool Partition Wizard being one, if bootable CD version) for Windows. It's a two-way streak that many Windows users knows & accepts, yet many Linux users will refuse to use a Windows tool for the same operations. In the case of MiniTool Partition Wizard, it can create Linux partitions, just not alter these afterwards. Some still uses GParted Live, what this lacks is the function to rebuild the MBR, which can make many Windows computers that once dual booted with Linux & now doesn't, bootable again. 

 

Macrium Reflect is a lot easier to work with than Clonezilla, and just two days back, seen it with my own eyes, as far as cloning goes. I've backed up Linux Mint installs, though have yet to restore one, that will be my next task, being that there's no EULA to abide by (can have the same copy on another like machine with similar hardware). Though I'd recommend if restoring on a different computer, try & stick with one where the CPU is of the same family, and avoid restoring images from Intel computers onto AMD ones & vise versa. This would apply to any OS. Though there is an option to restore to dissimilar hardware, don't know if this would be effective with a Linux OS. 

 

BTW, am about to perform a 2nd clone, am going to upgrade my 1TiB Seagate Data drive to a 1TiB WD RE4, which is made to run for years on end, perfect for servers. So hopefully all will turn out OK, and will have a HDD with more warranty than the current, these were new pulls from servers that were upgraded to much larger 8TiB (helium filled) HDD's for long term use. 

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 11 July 2016 - 04:08 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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