"Unable to open an initial console" on boot

"Unable to open an initial console" on boot

Post by Jim Van Zan » Fri, 10 Jan 1997 04:00:00

I have installed a third SCSI disk (a jaz drive), and am trying to
make it my root disk.  So far, I have:

 partitioned the new disk (/dev/sdc1),
 installed an ext2 filesystem,
 copied the current root partition contents to the new partition,
 modified etc/fstab on the new partition so the "/" line refers to /dev/sdc1
 wrote a new boot floppy with "cd /usr/src/linux; make zdisk"
 modified the root partition on the floppy with "rdev /dev/fd0 /dev/sdc1"

When I try to boot from the floppy, the messages look okay up through
the partition check.  All the SCSI partitions are found. I then get:

        VFS: Mounted root (ext2 filesystem) readonly.
        Unable to open an initial console.

There is some further disk activity on the jaz drive, but nothing else
is displayed.

Any suggestions?

                         - Jim Van Zandt


Normally, after the "VFS:" message, I see "INIT: version 2.62
booting".  sbin/init is okay:
        # ls -l /jaz/sbin/init /sbin/init
        -rwxr-xr-x   1 root     bin         18416 Jul  6  1996 /jaz/sbin/init*
        -rwxr-xr-x   1 root     bin         18416 Jul  6  1996 /sbin/init*
        # diff /jaz/sbin/init /sbin/init

Here's what rdev reports about the boot floppy:
        # rdev /dev/fd0
        Root device /dev/sdc1
        # rdev -v /dev/fd0
        Video mode 65535
        # rdev -R /dev/fd0
        Root flags 1
        # rdev -r /dev/fd0
        Ramsize 0
        # rdev -s /dev/fd0
        Swap device Boot device


1. Boot problems -- Suddenly "unable to open initial console"


I'm suddenly having problems with my PC running Linux (kernel 2.0.34,
if it matters).  I was logged in and doing some things today, when
things seemed to slowly start breaking.  I was unable to create xterms
and I wasn't even able to login on another console.  I rebooted,
hoping for the best.  Well, the PC went through its BIOS thing,
checking memory and hard drives, but then refused to run lilo, just
beeping constantly.  Feeling a bit nervous, I tried booting off a boot
disk.  That didn't work either, until I reinstalled this EZBIOS (or
something like that) tool that came with my new 11.5 Gb Maxtor hard
drive.  Then, it seemed to boot normally from the disk, but died with
the message "unable to open initial console".  Oh, also, once I did
the EZBIOS thing, it just printed "Missing operating system" when it
would normally go to the lilo prompt when booting from the hard drive.

I also dual boot to Windows 95 when necessary, so I tried a Windows
boot disk.  It got me to a C: prompt, but it complained that my C: and
D: partitions were invalid media or something.

Everything was working fine (I've had the new hard drive several
weeks) until today, and I didn't change anything.  Something seems
seriously screwed up here.  Does anyone have any idea what could be
going on?  Is a hard drive fried?  I've never had that happen to me
(PC is two years old).  Maybe the partition table info got destroyed

Thanks in advance for any help,

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