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  1. #1

    "Kernel panic - not syncing - Attempted to kill init!"


    I run Debian unstable, with kernel 3.2.0-2-amd64 has boot issues.

    I can't easily give you the exact message, due to it being at boot and it scrolling off the screen (is the file saved somewhere?)

    The exact error message seems change each time, but the seqence generally follows this pattern:

    - previously mentioned error
    - reboots (after grub boot loader, black screen then reboots itself in a loop)
    - errors during start up sequence, ends with a stack trace, usually involving some text that says "Attempt to kill INIT!" - several different errors each boot
    - manually reboot (reset button)
    - boots fine

    Anybody got any idea what's going on? It's not a major problem as i can usually boot after a couple of attempts, but it's very annoying

  2. #2
    Just Joined! shamino's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Vienna, VA, USA
    I don't know what's going on, but you might want to check some of the system log files.

    Try booting into single user mode and see if your system log or "dmesg" log contains the messages you're looking for.

    If you type "dmesg" you'll get messages corresponding to the current boot (which probably won't be useful, since the system reboots after displaying the message.)

    If you're lucky, the messages got committed to a log file before everything rebooted. Browse through /var/log/messages, /var/log/syslog and /var/log/dmesg to see if they have the message you're looking for.

    If that doesn't work, you might want to consider configuring a serial-port based console device. With this setup, you attach a second computer to the flaky system's serial port and run a terminal emulation program. The messages will be delivered to the serial port and be displayed in the terminal emulator, where you can browse them after the first computer has rebooted.

    If you have a PC with a serial port (they're still found on desktop systems) this shouldn't be too hard to set up. I'm not sure how well it will work with a USB-based serial port, since your crash may be taking place before the USB driver loads. The following HOWTO file may help (sorry it's not a link - I don't yet have permission to post them):

  3. #3
    grep-ing the /var/* folder doesn't seem to bring up any results, and as for using a serial port, well, not easy and i don't know how to do it :L

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  5. #4
    Have a look at the kernel.log files - they're timestamped so you should be able to reproduce the error, reboot, find the relevant log entries and post them up here.

  6. #5
    huh. i cannot find any kernel.log files (or any derivative)
    Where would i find them?

  7. #6
    Sorry I meant kern.log - but log files won't help as that panic probably occurs before any logging daemons start up.

    The prime suspect here is a hardware failure, though as you're running unstable a bug cannot be ruled out either.

  8. #7
    That's unfortunate :L

    i have now found the kern.log, but as predicted, nothing is shown
    so, what next?

    EDIT: i forgot, the last boot (this morning) it forced a 'manual' fsck - does this indicate hard drive failure?
    Last edited by lordaro; 04-04-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  9. #8
    Might be just a scheduled one, but a failing hard disk is a possibility. The fact that it boots up on warm reboots, but not on cold boots also points to this.

  10. #9
    this morning i got a:
    "uncompression error

    -- system halted"

    a quick Google only brings up people trying to boot apparently corrupted live CDs...

    What's the best way i can check if the disk is broken? I know there are many tools for windoze, but i know of few for linux

  11. #10
    That's the kernel decompression. So it could even be faulty memory at the root of your problems...

    What you need now is a livecd. I advise you to download it and burn it from a different system. md5sum and error check the disc to ensure it's integrity and then boot your system from it. 'buntu livecds usually have memtest86+ included, you should run this for several hours first and check for errors (they're obvious). If you get a livecd which doesn't include it, you can get it from here and burn to another disc: Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool

    If this comes back completely clean, first ensure SMART is enabled in your BIOS and boot into a live session and "disk utility" which (from memory) should be in the system/administration menu. You can run a "self test" and any other test. I believe you can also run fsck from there, but you may prefer to do this from a terminal.

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