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Hanging on a boot while checking a file system

Link to this post 23 Nov 09

Well, if there is no disk light activity, fsck has a problem. Have you tried doing an fsck from terminal? I think it's strange that if you don't wait for the timeout in grub that it boots, but doesn't otherwise. Try (as root) "fsck /dev/sda3" without quotes, and see if it blows up from terminal. I'm assuming sda3 is your root, let us know. If it's not root, what is it?

Link to this post 23 Nov 09

I am thinking about this a little more. Is your bootloader set to go to the intended boot entry by default (the one you enter into manually), or could it be trying to enter and invalid boot entry?

Link to this post 24 Nov 09

I tried to make an fsck disk check. I made it for both partitions: /dev/sda2 where my root directory is and /dev/sda3 where my home is.

Here's the output:

# begin code
# fsck /dev/sda2
fsck 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
e2fsck 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
/dev/sda2 is mounted.

WARNING!!! Running e2fsck on a mounted filesystem may cause
SEVERE filesystem damage.

Do you really want to continue (y/n)? yes

/dev/sda2: recovering journal

Clearing orphaned inode 57245 (uid=1000, gid=1000, mode=0140755, size=0)
/dev/sda2: clean, 191656/1283632 files, 1211592/5120718 blocks

# fsck /dev/sda3
fsck 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
e2fsck 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
/dev/sda3 is mounted.

WARNING!!! Running e2fsck on a mounted filesystem may cause
SEVERE filesystem damage.

Do you really want to continue (y/n)? yes

/dev/sda3: recovering journal

/dev/sda3 has been mounted 29 times without being checked, check forced.
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
Pass 2: Checking directory structure
Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity
Pass 4: Checking reference counts
Pass 5: Checking group summary information
/dev/sda3: 316061/8372224 files (1.9% non-contiguous), 24838247/33463395 blocks
# end code

As far as I can understand fsck works correctly. If so, may be there's a script which contains the fsck launch command. It might be this script must execute the check disk command with some options at the boot time. I assume if this script exist may be the bug is in it.

What about to push or not to push the “Enter” button in GRUB for successful loading I checked it and it simply was coincidence. My system hang on the check stage regardless of my actions in GRUB.

I changed /etc/fstab. This file contains the partitions which have to check at boot. It includes the strings:

# begin code
…
/dev/sda2 / ext3 errors=remount-ro 0 1
/dev/sda3 /home ext3 defaults 0 2
…
# end code

I changed the values of the last two parameters from 1 and 2 to 0 for preventing the HDD check at boot. Now my system doesn't hang but you know this doesn't solve the problem.

Link to this post 25 Nov 09

If the problem is not related to the boot method and it is intermitten then I would start looking at the potential of a hardware problem as the cause. Please run a memory test using memtest86+ to see if the problem is related to your memory (this could explain the random nature of it). If that does not show a problem then you may want to push other limits on your system like testing the HD speeds and maxing out connections to see if you can find other issues and errors that happend with specific operations related to hardware.

I am leaning toward an issue with the RAM or motherboard as the cause for the freezing.

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