Boot fails, EXT2-FS Warning

I am no longer able to boot linux

I tried to boot and it appears that e2fsck ran and tried to fix
something.  It failed and the system hang.

Subsequent reboot attemps resulted in the following just after the
partition check...

   EXT2-FS Warning (device 03:02): ext2_free_inode: bit already cleared
   for inode 43047

This message is repeated twice, then it hangs.  Attemps to boot from
floppy result in something similar.

Finally I tried a boot/root pair of floppies from Slackware 3.0
which succeeded.  fdisk shows everything just as it should be
as far as I can tell.  Moving on to mkswap I get

   invalid flag 0000 of partition table 4 ...

There is another error message that seems to flash by quickly when
running SETUP, and when mounting my root partition that I haven't
been able to read before its off the screen.

Other data points:

   - LILO seems to be ok.
   - My DOS partition appears undamaged
   - partition info

        Device  System
         hda1      DOS  C:
         hda2    LINUX  /
         hdb1      DOS  D:
         hdb2     SWAP
         hdb3     SWAP
         hdb4    LINUX  /junk

Any ideas?  How does "device 03:02" map to my hard disks and/or
partitions?  I'm hoping to save the contents of those linux partitions.

(speaking to self) I must back up more frequently ...

Please mail replies to slittle@nortel.ca

Thanks

Scott
slittleAsked:
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pc012197Commented:
Device number 3 is the first IDE controller. 03:02 is partition #2 of the master on the first controller, i. e. /dev/hda2.

Since /dev/hda2 is your root partition, I suppose there is a serious problem with one of the more important files. Do the Slackware boot/rootdisks mount /dev/hda2 successfully? Then you should be able to make a backup copy.

Another hint: if you're going to re-install Linux, split the system into more partitions. Use a small partition for /, bigger partitions for /var, /usr and /home. That way, chances are better that no important files are destroyed when something happens.

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duxCommented:
If you really want to recover something from your linux partition, try to boot from floppies and mount partitions unchecked.

mkdir /mnt/linux1
mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/linux1
mkdir /mnt/linux2
mount /dev/hdb4 /mnt/linux2

then copy your files and reinstall linux.
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slittleAuthor Commented:
I was ultimatly able to fix the filesystem on that partition.
There are two ways to do this.

1) Slakeware installation requires a boot/root floppy disk pair.
   What I didn't know when I posted my question is that it is also
   possible to create a boot/rescue disk pair (look for rescue.gz
   amongst the root disks).  The rescue disk includes e2fsck which
   was able to fix my filesystem problems.

2) If you require even more extensive repair tools, install a second copy
    of linux into another partition.  I found that I could temporarily trash
   my swap partition for this purpose.  The 16M partition was sufficient
   to install slackware's A disk series and gave me a more complete set of
   tools with which to debug my problem.  If you take this road I suggest
   that you ask slakeware's setup program to create a boot floppy for your
   second linux installation rather than reinstalling LILO.  Also remember to
   restore your swap partition before you reboot the repaired primary linux
   installation.
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