grub2 "gave up waiting for root device" error
jiro
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Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 36
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after 3 days of down time due to an unbootable system, I found the solution to the above error, and will post it here for anyone who needs it.

problem: after updating kernel grub2 fails to load kernel and instead displays error message including "gave up waiting for root device"

solution: download and burn a copy of System Rescue CD (google for it). then boot from the CD and select the menu option that allows you to log into your existing system, i.e., debian, whatever. then, use smxi to reinstall the kernel and to create a new initrd image.

apparently the above problem is caused (well for me, anyway) by a bad initrd image from the prior kernel update. after three days of pulling my hair out, I tried the above solution and it worked like a charm!

I have not found this exact solution posted anywhere, but from various forum chit chat and *buntu noise I intuited that a bad initrd was the issue, that it lacked modules for reading the partition table or something like that.

Hope this is useful to someone!
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jiro
Status: Interested
Joined: 11 Jul 2009
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to be clear: I do not believe this error was caused by grub2 but was instead caused by a bad initrd image created when upgrading the kernel.

although I kept my previous kernel after the upgrade, neither kernel worked, not in regular mode and not in "recovery" mode. both kernels were liquorix kernels, but this is irrelevant b/c the first kernel had worked just fine for at least a month before the kernel update screwed things up.

instead of booting correctly, the boot process hung and dropped me to an initramfs shell, with this message:

:: Code ::
gave up waiting for root device. Common problems: boot args ( cat
/proc/cmdline )
check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enough?)
check root=(did the system wait for the right device?
Missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)
ALERT! /dev/disk/by-uuidle6119541-b2c8-41f2-8930-246e98a92458 does not
exist. Dropping to a shell!


so apparently this is not really a grub error but instead an error from a faulty kernel-upgrade.

this is the link that suggested to me that I had a bad initrd image - which led me to try reinstalling a new kernel: groups.google.com/group/linux.debian.user/browse_thread/thread/a14f62a07f313e55/8d2b10c1f1f9b7c9

before I found the solution of reinstalling the kernel, I tried reinstalling grub2, downgrading to grub-legacy, running upgrade-grub, etc. maybe these will work in other situations, but for me I had to reinstall the kernel after booting up from the System Rescue CD, logging into my existing system using the indicated menu option, and then running smxi to install a new kernel.

[so this post should probably be re-titled and moved elsewhere, since this is not really a grub2 error but rather a kernel update gone wrong]
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techAdmin
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
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Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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since your guess was reasonable that this was a grub error, it seems reasonable to leave it here, that way people looking for grub error solution can discover that it was not a grub error, heh...
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apparently - a liquorix-specific problem!!
jiro
Status: Interested
Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 36
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this now appears to be an error either with the liquorix kernels, or with how smxi installs those kernels, or something close to that.

three weeks ago I used smxi to update the liquorix kernel, and got the above failure-to-boot error.

I fixed the problem as shown in my prior posts, by using systemrescuecd to boot into my existing system and then using smxi to put in the latest aptosid kernel.

today I did another kernel upgrade with smxi, again to the latest liquorix kernel - and again I got the same failure-to-boot error.

and fixed the problem again using systemrescuecd, smxi, and the latest aptosid kernel.

since the liquorix and aptosid kernels have both changed since the prior go-round, this is not a 1-time, version-specific error, but maybe some inherent incompatibility with the latest liquorix kernels (prior to 3 weeks ago, I used the liquorix kernels without any problem.)

any guesses?

for now, I guess I need to stick with the aptosid kernel
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