Can't boot notebook at all anymore

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Can't boot notebook at all anymore

MR ZenWiz
Before it was just a problem with the SSD.  Now the notebook refuses
to boot at all.

It keeps coming up in busybox, but the more command doesn't wokr, or
pieps don;t, so i can't peer through dmesg to see what's wrong.

This is an ASUS N75SF that was running Xubuntu 16,04 just fine until
this weekend.  (Last weekend it worked perfectly.  I even watched a
couple of movies on it,  Now it has gone completely defective.)

It was saying it couldn't find /sbin/init, and the best advice I could
find was to reinstall the OS, so I did that.

Now it comes up in busybox and there do not appear to be any errors at all.

Is it possible the motherboard just went wacko?

I ran the disk test and everything seemed to be fine.  I was able to
mount the drive from a live CD boot, chroot and update-grub, and still
no boot.

After the reinstall, still no boot.

It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).

The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
test, it passed.

I really don't want to have to get another laptop and write off this
one - it already cost me close to $500 I can't really afford to throw
away, and don't want to.

Suggestions?

Feeling VSF.

MR

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Xen
MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 8:53:

> It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).
>
> The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
> changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
> test, it passed.
>
> I really don't want to have to get another laptop and write off this
> one - it already cost me close to $500 I can't really afford to throw
> away, and don't want to.
>
> Suggestions?

- Install Windows 10, you don't need a key to install it at first.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

MR ZenWiz
On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 12:28 AM, Xen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 8:53:
>
>> It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).
>>
>> The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
>> changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
>> test, it passed.
>>
>> I really don't want to have to get another laptop and write off this
>> one - it already cost me close to $500 I can't really afford to throw
>> away, and don't want to.
>>
>> Suggestions?
>
> - Install Windows 10, you don't need a key to install it at first.
>
And this will help - how?

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Colin Law
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
On 24 June 2017 at 07:53, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Before it was just a problem with the SSD.  Now the notebook refuses
> to boot at all.
>
> It keeps coming up in busybox, but the more command doesn't wokr, or
> pieps don;t, so i can't peer through dmesg to see what's wrong.
>
> This is an ASUS N75SF that was running Xubuntu 16,04 just fine until
> this weekend.  (Last weekend it worked perfectly.  I even watched a
> couple of movies on it,  Now it has gone completely defective.)
>
> It was saying it couldn't find /sbin/init, and the best advice I could
> find was to reinstall the OS, so I did that.
>
> Now it comes up in busybox and there do not appear to be any errors at all.
>
> Is it possible the motherboard just went wacko?
>
> I ran the disk test and everything seemed to be fine.  I was able to
> mount the drive from a live CD boot, chroot and update-grub, and still
> no boot.
>
> After the reinstall, still no boot.
>
> It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).
>
> The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
> changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
> test, it passed.

Well switch the memory back and find out.  If it is not that then the
fact that it was ok and then suddenly is not ok but runs fine from
live image means either there is a hardware problem or you have
somehow corrupted the o/s on disc (or a h/w problem has corrupted the
os). Given the history it still sounds likely it is a problem with the
disc.  You could pick up a cheap hard drive on ebay and try that in
order to to confirm it.  Also try re-installing the os again, if again
it works for a time and then fails that is further evidence of a disc
problem.

I presume you have already booted of live image and run the Disks
utility and checked the SMART data on the disc.

Colin

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Xen
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 9:33:

> On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 12:28 AM, Xen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 8:53:
>>
>>> It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).
>>>
>>> The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
>>> changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
>>> test, it passed.
>>>
>>> I really don't want to have to get another laptop and write off this
>>> one - it already cost me close to $500 I can't really afford to throw
>>> away, and don't want to.
>>>
>>> Suggestions?
>>
>> - Install Windows 10, you don't need a key to install it at first.
>>
> And this will help - how?

You will know whether it is a problem with the laptop.

Duh?

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Pete Smout-2


On 24 Jun 2017 08:44, "Xen" <[hidden email]> wrote:
MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 9:33:

On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 12:28 AM, Xen <[hidden email]> wrote:
MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 8:53:

It runs just fine from the live CD (actually a USB3 flash drive).

The only change I can think of that might have impacted this was I
changed the memory from 8GB to 16GB.   The last time I ran the memory
test, it passed.

I really don't want to have to get another laptop and write off this
one - it already cost me close to $500 I can't really afford to throw
away, and don't want to.

Suggestions?

- Install Windows 10, you don't need a key to install it at first.

And this will help - how?

You will know whether it is a problem with the laptop.

Duh?

Surely telling someone to install Windows on a Ubuntu mailing list is bad form.

Sounds like a hardware prob in my limited experience try swapping back to a spinning rust hdd. I have brought a brand new defective ssd once before and couldn't accept that a new drive could be to blame! Many hours and plenty of foul language later .......

Just my thoughts, but Windows is never the answer!

Good luck 

Pete S





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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Ralf Mardorf-2
On Sat, 24 Jun 2017 09:11:27 +0100, Pete Smout wrote:
>Sounds like a hardware prob

Not necessarily because hardware is broken, a kernel upgrade,
and/or graphics driver upgrade etc. could cause a regression regarding
hardware compatibility. Perhaps the OP should try to boot an older
kernel.

At the moment there could be another issue related to a kernel upgrade.
It doesn't affect hardware compatibility, but does cause some software
to fail.

Unlikely that this issue is related to the problems the OP experiences,
I just want to point out, that there could be even far-fetched issues
similar to this one:

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2017-June/017504.html

More likely it's a hardware issue.

As already pointed out by Colin, checking the SMART data should be
done, e.g. by running

$ sudo -i
# for drive in $(smartctl --scan|cut -d- -f1); do smartctl -HA $drive; done

On Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:53:49 -0700, MR ZenWiz wrote:
>I ran the disk test and everything seemed to be fine.

What disk test? What output do you get?

>After the reinstall, still no boot.

Does GRUB complain? If so, what messages do you get?

Does the startup process beginn? IIUC it does and you get "couldn't
find /sbin/init", right?

Using a live media, what is the output of

$ ls -l /mountpoint/sbin/init /mountpoint/lib/systemd/systemd

Replace "/mountpoint" by the corect mount point.

Regards,
Ralf
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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Ralf Mardorf-2
On Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:52:58 +0200, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>Not necessarily because hardware is broken, a kernel upgrade,
>and/or graphics driver upgrade etc.

Don't get me wrong, these are just general examples, in this case the
graphics driver unlikely has got impact to the issue, but a kernel
regression still isn't impossible.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
On 24 June 2017 at 09:33, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> And this will help - how?


2 possible ways.

[1] It will isolate if this is some OS-specific problem. There are
machines that just will not play nice with Linux or any non-Windows
OS. I've owned at least one. (It would run FreeBSD fairly well, oddly,
but Linux required major coaxing to run at all, and then badly,
including the very unusual ``acpi=force'' kernel parameter. Haiku,
AROS, BeOS etc. refused to boot at all.)

[2] It will enable you to install any firmware updates and possibly to
check for UEFI settings, disable SecureBoot, stuff like that.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Xen
In reply to this post by Pete Smout-2
Pete Smout schreef op 24-06-2017 10:11:

> > Suggestions?
> > - Install Windows 10, you don't need a key to install it at first.
  And this will help - how? You will know whether it is a problem with
the laptop.

> Duh?

> Surely telling someone to install Windows on a Ubuntu mailing list is
> bad form.

Only if you care more about politics and dogmatic allegiances than
practicalities.

You can spend a 1000 more hours troubleshooting an issue using Linux or
you can use an outside viewpoint to quickly ascertain whether or not
there is a hardware issue that would also effect other operating
systems.

It's your time, not mine. Go ahead and waste endless hours.

> Sounds like a hardware prob in my limited experience try swapping back
> to a spinning rust
> hdd. I have brought a brand new defective ssd once before and couldn't
> accept that a new
> drive could be to blame! Many hours and plenty of foul language later
> .......

The trouble with Linux is that there are a thousand variables that can
be wrong.

> Just my thoughts, but Windows is never the answer!

With Windows you know three things:

- it is not going to be a driver issue
- it is not going to be a kernel/bootloader issue
- if anything is wrong, it is going to be a hardware issue.

Every time for me with Linux troubleshooting takes longer because I
cannot depend on it not being the software.

The chances that the software is faulty at any given time is so high
that I cannot exclude it from the list of possibilities when
troubleshooting anything.

So particularly if you want to troubleshoot hardware (and not Grub, or
the kernel, or the initramfs) use another operating system.

For all I care you use BeOS.

Same way I have had motherboards that had issues with a certain
harddrive -- but only in Windows.

I have had a Windows system that had a real hard time making SSL/TLS
connections. But only in Windows.

Because I was able to run Linux, I could know the difference.

You require an outside vantage point to know anything.

To limit yourself to not having any outside vantage points at all, means
your ability to know what is wrong just goes down the drain.

And your troubleshooting time goes up almost infinitely.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Karl Auer
On Sat, 2017-06-24 at 11:37 +0200, Xen wrote:
> You can spend a 1000 more hours troubleshooting an issue using Linux
> or you can use an outside viewpoint to quickly ascertain whether or
> not there is a hardware issue that would also effect other operating 
> systems.

Any other OS would do - FreeBSD, whatever. As long as it is a
fundamentally different code base.

> The trouble with Linux is that there are a thousand variables that
> can be wrong.

Just like Windows. But the important point is that there is very little
intersection between the thousand things that go wrong with Windows and
the thousand things that go wrong with Linus, so if there is a common
problem when booting them, the problem is most likely external to the
OS.

> With Windows you know three things:
>
> - it is not going to be a driver issue

Wrong. Unless it's the Windows that was delivered pre-installed on the
hardware.

> To limit yourself to not having any outside vantage points at all,
> means your ability to know what is wrong just goes down the drain.

Not really - but if you can use a different OS, you get a different
viewpoint as you say, and it is foolish to refuse that for ideological
reasons.

Using a  different OS is just one of many tools. If you can't (or
won't) use that tool, you can still troubleshoot very effectively using
the many other tools. I think to say that "your ability to know what is
wrong just goes down the drain" is overstating the case.

> And your troubleshooting time goes up almost infinitely.

And that is definitely overstating the case.

Regards, K.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Colin Law
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On 24 June 2017 at 10:27, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 24 June 2017 at 09:33, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> And this will help - how?
>
>
> 2 possible ways.
>
> [1] It will isolate if this is some OS-specific problem. There are
> machines that just will not play nice with Linux or any non-Windows
> OS. I've owned at least one. (It would run FreeBSD fairly well, oddly,
> but Linux required major coaxing to run at all, and then badly,
> including the very unusual ``acpi=force'' kernel parameter. Haiku,
> AROS, BeOS etc. refused to boot at all.)
>
> [2] It will enable you to install any firmware updates and possibly to
> check for UEFI settings, disable SecureBoot, stuff like that.

I feel the fact that it was working perfectly well and then suddenly
stopped working makes it unlikely that either of these will help.  Not
absolutely impossible but very unlikely.

Colin

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Liam Proven
On 24 June 2017 at 12:53, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I feel the fact that it was working perfectly well and then suddenly
> stopped working makes it unlikely that either of these will help.  Not
> absolutely impossible but very unlikely.


Is this not the machine that has always refused to boot from SSD, or
am I mis-remembering something else?


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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Colin Law
On 24 June 2017 at 11:59, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 24 June 2017 at 12:53, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I feel the fact that it was working perfectly well and then suddenly
>> stopped working makes it unlikely that either of these will help.  Not
>> absolutely impossible but very unlikely.
>
>
> Is this not the machine that has always refused to boot from SSD, or
> am I mis-remembering something else?

It was, but that was solved somehow (or it went away, don't know). In
Mr ZenWiz first post in this thread he said:
"This is an ASUS N75SF that was running Xubuntu 16,04 just fine until
this weekend.  (Last weekend it worked perfectly.  I even watched a
 couple of movies on it,  Now it has gone completely defective.)"

Colin

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Colin Law
On 24 June 2017 at 12:05, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 24 June 2017 at 11:59, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 24 June 2017 at 12:53, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> I feel the fact that it was working perfectly well and then suddenly
>>> stopped working makes it unlikely that either of these will help.  Not
>>> absolutely impossible but very unlikely.
>>
>>
>> Is this not the machine that has always refused to boot from SSD, or
>> am I mis-remembering something else?
>
> It was, but that was solved somehow (or it went away, don't know). In
> Mr ZenWiz first post in this thread he said:
> "This is an ASUS N75SF that was running Xubuntu 16,04 just fine until
> this weekend.  (Last weekend it worked perfectly.  I even watched a
>  couple of movies on it,  Now it has gone completely defective.)"

Posting the above again as for me in gmail the quoting was confused
(apologies if it was just me that the message was messed up).
Hopefully it will look ok this time.

Colin

>
> Colin

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

MR ZenWiz
In reply to this post by Colin Law
On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 12:40 AM, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Well switch the memory back and find out.  If it is not that then the
> fact that it was ok and then suddenly is not ok but runs fine from
> live image means either there is a hardware problem or you have
> somehow corrupted the o/s on disc (or a h/w problem has corrupted the
> os). Given the history it still sounds likely it is a problem with the
> disc.  You could pick up a cheap hard drive on ebay and try that in
> order to to confirm it.  Also try re-installing the os again, if again
> it works for a time and then fails that is further evidence of a disc
> problem.
>
> I presume you have already booted of live image and run the Disks
> utility and checked the SMART data on the disc.
>

I'll have to locate the memory and do that one first.  Hadn't thought
of the SMART data - good point.  The (current) boot drive is a Seagate
and I have never really cared for them.

I remembered that when I got the notebook, the boot drive was in the B
slot and I moved it so I could add a bigger, secondary drive.  That A
slot is also where the SSD never booted (I gave up on that for lack of
time, but I may go back later), so I'm wondering if it might be that,
too.

Thanks for the input.  I'll let y'all know what happens, but I have to
move today, so I'll be busy unpacking for the next week or so.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

MR ZenWiz
In reply to this post by Ralf Mardorf-2
On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 1:52 AM, Ralf Mardorf <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Not necessarily because hardware is broken, a kernel upgrade,
> and/or graphics driver upgrade etc. could cause a regression regarding
> hardware compatibility. Perhaps the OP should try to boot an older
> kernel.
>
That's a maybe, but as I sai,d it was working just fine last weekend.

Well, perhaps just fine is overstated - there are issues with the HDMI
connection for an external monitor (I posted about this, too,
earlier).  Sometimes it works, sometimes no, and it always raises
numerous display config windows.  However, when it does work, it posts
one monitor layout selection window.  That's liekly beside the point,
except for what it indicates about hardware issues.

I'm wondering if the unit was just dropped too many times...

> As already pointed out by Colin, checking the SMART data should be
> done, e.g. by running
>
> $ sudo -i
> # for drive in $(smartctl --scan|cut -d- -f1); do smartctl -HA $drive; done
>
That's next.

> On Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:53:49 -0700, MR ZenWiz wrote:
>>I ran the disk test and everything seemed to be fine.
>
> What disk test? What output do you get?
>
The live CD disk check - no errors, everything scanned fine.

>>After the reinstall, still no boot.
>
> Does GRUB complain? If so, what messages do you get?

GRUB starts fine, although sometimes it comes up with the graphics
splash screen and sometimes with the text roving dots splash screen.
Sure seems like flaky hardware to me.

> Does the startup process beginn? IIUC it does and you get "couldn't
> find /sbin/init", right?
>
Yes - lots of process outputs, including FPDMA (?) errors - I'm going
form memory since this didn't happen after the reinstall.

> Using a live media, what is the output of
>
> $ ls -l /mountpoint/sbin/init /mountpoint/lib/systemd/systemd
>
> Replace "/mountpoint" by the corect mount point.
>
ls -l on /mnt/sbin/init says it points to /lib/systemd/systemd.  I
tried sudo cp /lib/systemd/systemd /mnt/lib/systemd/systemd while
running form the live CD, but that didn't seem to have any effect.
(cp /sbin/init /mnt/sbin/init errored saying they're the same file.)

Thanks.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

MR ZenWiz
In reply to this post by Xen
Xen,

I appreciate the thought but a) I don't have Win 10, though I can use
7) and b) that's an hours long waste of time unless it can actually
point me at the exact problem - EXCEPT for being able to update the
boot PROM.  That makes the idea wortwhile IMNSHO.

Thanks for elaborating.

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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Ralf Mardorf-2
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
On Sat, 24 Jun 2017 08:33:45 -0700, MR ZenWiz wrote:
>> $ ls -l /mountpoint/sbin/init /mountpoint/lib/systemd/systemd
>>
>> Replace "/mountpoint" by the corect mount point.
>>  
>ls -l on /mnt/sbin/init says it points to /lib/systemd/systemd.  I
>tried sudo cp /lib/systemd/systemd /mnt/lib/systemd/systemd while
>running form the live CD, but that didn't seem to have any effect.
>(cp /sbin/init /mnt/sbin/init errored saying they're the same file.)

Hi,

it is important to copy the commands you run and the whole output to a
message or a link to something like https://pastebin.com/, if the
output should be very long.

It should be a link, don't try to get rid of the link.

I was interested to see that it is a link against a 1577232 bytes sized
file. However, I've got a better idea now.

Do you get the same checksum as I get, if you run

  sha256sum /mountpoint/lib/systemd/systemd

? Replace "/mountpoint" again with the corect mount point.

[root@archlinux rocketmouse]# ls -l /mnt/moonstudio/sbin/init /mnt/moonstudio/lib/systemd/systemd
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1577232 Feb 15 16:11 /mnt/moonstudio/lib/systemd/systemd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root      20 Feb 15 16:10 /mnt/moonstudio/sbin/init -> /lib/systemd/systemd
[root@archlinux rocketmouse]# systemd-nspawn -qD /mnt/moonstudio lsb_release -rc
Release: 16.04
Codename: xenial
[root@archlinux rocketmouse]# sha256sum /mnt/moonstudio/lib/systemd/systemd
1787da3889be0ad4566d8bfbcd88d614176ed63142fceff936a5b8b901de2242  /mnt/moonstudio/lib/systemd/systemd

Regards,
Ralf
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Votes: 74                         Updated: Sat Jun 24 18:46:05 CEST 2017


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Xen
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Re: Can't boot notebook at all anymore

Xen
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
MR ZenWiz schreef op 24-06-2017 17:35:
> Xen,
>
> I appreciate the thought but a) I don't have Win 10, though I can use
> 7) and b) that's an hours long waste of time unless it can actually
> point me at the exact problem - EXCEPT for being able to update the
> boot PROM.  That makes the idea wortwhile IMNSHO.

Unless it is a hardware problem or a problem of the SSD in relation to
your laptop's motherboard.

You still think it is only a Linux software problem.

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