Ubuntu boots into initramfs

Don’t panic, your boot sector is still good an readable.  Type ‘exit’ and you’ll complete the boot process.  But why does this happen and how can we fix it?  From my reading this can be caused by faults on the disk or an improperly formatted grub configuration or hardware controllers that are too slow responding with the information needed by the grub to complete a clean boot.

DISK FAULTS
If you have a bad sector or two you can address this with the commands below.  Or, you may need to boot into the live CD and fsck -y

sudo touch /forcefsck
sudo shutdown -r now

SLOW CONTROLLER HARDWARE RESPONSE
If the controller hardware takes too long to respond back with the correct devices the system will advance without properly identifying them.  In Ubuntu you can address this in the /etc/default/grub file by changing the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line as follow:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=”rootdelay=60″
update-grub
reboot

IMPROPERLY FORMATTED GRUB
Not sure the best way to go about this, but what I read was related to a mismatch in the selected boot partitions in /etc/fstab and those in the grub.  I have definately seen SuperMicro system where the drives flipped about on boot.  This is caused by a RAID configuration that works well with Windows installs but confounds Linux.  It’s controlled at BIOS/CMOS level and can be removed with dmraid.  Yeck!  Drop me a note if you need help with this.  I likely have the recipe for fixing it.

KERNEL PANIC – Missing Init

Init is process id #1, the #1 that all other processes are started from.  The first one run after boot and the one that cleans up when you are shutting down.  This isn’t a kernel panic at all, but a failure on the init process.  FSCK it.

Ubuntu Live CD, opened the terminal and typed:

sudo debugfs -w /dev/sda1
debugfs 1.41.11 (14-Mar-2010)
debugfs:

type in: clri <8>
and after hitting enter,
type this: quit
then reboot. It should force an fsck and come up happy.

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