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Kernel Panic:VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 03:03

Posted on 1998-02-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I have a WDC 2.1GB with WIN95(800M) & Linux(1.2G). I reformatted the DOS partition, created/deleted/messed partitions and finally settled for 800MB PRI-DOS for my WIN95. All this while, I was expecting Linux to stay unaffected since I never even touched it (right ?) but now when I'm done with my WIN setup and tried to boot Linux, I get this error message:
Kernel Panic:VFS:Unable to mount root fs on 03:03

I've a Linux swap on hda2 and Linux native (holds /) on hda3.

I tried rescue boot and was able to mount my DOS partion but can't get /dev/hda3 (or hda2 for that matter) to mount on /mnt.
I'm running RH4.2 with 2.0.30 kernel.

Any help highly appreciated.

Thanks
Nishi
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Question by:nkapoor
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Accepted Solution

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spjuver earned 200 total points
ID: 1631347
When you use dos-fdisk it will rename and mess around with partitions and sometimes change system id on old existing partitions...

Boot on your rescue-floppy and do fdisk /dev/hda.
Print the partition table and quit with comman 'q' (DO NOT WRITE anything).

There you may find Linux as hda5 or similiar. The worst is if the system id is changed. Then you have to change it and the DOS-partition will be unbootable...

Although, if you find that the hda-number is changed for linux you must change that

Boot the rescuefloppy with your new hdax as root and then reinstall lilo with the new root.
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Author Comment

by:nkapoor
ID: 1631348
I've tried recue boot but fdisk is not able to open /dev/hda1 (DOS partition). Anyway, fdisk in win95 shows that hda1 is PRI-DOS, hda2 id Non-DOS (swap) and hda3 is Non-DOS(native). So, it does match with the expected configuration and also with the Kernel Panic message "03:03".
Only if I could mount it somehow, I can access it.
(BTW, I've installed LILO on the floppy, so my MBR should be safe :-)
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Expert Comment

by:spjuver
ID: 1631349
You can't get /dev/hdax from fdisk in win 95...

It shows partition number 1,2,3.... this is not corresponding to hda1,hda2,hda3...

It can be hda1,hda4,hda5.

Fdisk under linux is handling haddisk's not partitions...
Try fdisk /dev/hda not /dev/hda1.


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Author Comment

by:nkapoor
ID: 1631350
Tried fdisk /dev/hda. Got "Unable to open /dev/hda" message.
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Author Comment

by:nkapoor
ID: 1631351
Having tried everything I could, I tried to re-install Linux RH4.2 and during install, he is asking me for the partition to install in. That's where I see this:
Device     Boot  Begin  Start  End  Blocks   Id   System
-----------    --------- ---------  --------  ------ ------------ ------- --------------
/tmp/hda1  *       1       1      388  782176+  6  Dos 16-bit>=32M
/tmp/hda2         389    389  1022  1278144  55  Unknown
                                                                            ^^^^^^^^^
I think 'Unknown' is the problem. I aborted the fresh installation and thought you should know it before I erase/recreate Linux.
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Expert Comment

by:spjuver
ID: 1631352
This confusing me...
First you can't reach the /dev/hda with fdisk and then you can get a message of the partitions at boot-time.

How do get this message??
Are you booting from lilo or from  boot-disks?
If you are using boot-disks what are you writing at the 'boot:' promt??

1) Lilo really don't like changing in the partition table. Lilo must always be reinstalled after a new partition table is written.

2) If you write 'boot /dev/hdax' at the boot promt with boot disks you must know exactly which number 'x' have.

If you can't figure out which 'x' you actually have with fdisk then can your have been corrupted. It is not too uncommon that dos-fdisk messes with the system-id of a linux-partition.

The partition can be printed as 'unknown' in dos-fdisk and the actual partition is really is written as UNKNOWN.

So my summary is:

If you really cannot access the harddisk with linux fdisk. You can use dos fdisk to reenter the partition as dos-fat (write down the cylinder entry/end, remove the partition and put it back again as dos). The boot on boot disks and use linux fdisk to change the system id back to linux.
The boot linux on that partition.
It worked for me earlier. This makes the dos-fdisk happier and may fix your problem.

If this not works I have no better medicine than reinstall linux.

I have messed up my partition a lot but never been forced to reinstall (yet...).


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