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How to boot Digital unix in single user mode

Posted on 1998-05-19
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
How do I boot Digital unix box(Alpha Station 500) in single user mode.

Currently when I power on the machine, I see the following messages:
   ea.e0.e9.e8.e7.....   e4
   CPU 0 booting
   boot dka0.0.0 ...... -flags a
   boot strap code read in
   jumping to boot strap code

   Loading vmunix
   ....
   ....

I do not see any other prompt to stop or alter the boot sequence, etc. Due to various reasons the system does not complete the boot sequence in multi user mode (init level 3).
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Question by:seedy
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by:julio011597
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I've no access to an Alpha anymore (nor to documentation), so i'll just give you a few hints from what i can remember.

First, while booting, a *wild* CTRL-C hitting does stop the boot.

If instead you haven't stopped the boot, as root you can:

# shutdown -h now

to get back to console mode. After shutdown, from console, issue a:

# man init

to get init parameters to boot in level 1 (maybe "init -S"?).

Also, from console, issue:

# show all

to get values of your boot parameters (cannot remember the exact names - maybe "auto_action" is the relevant one?). Anyway, any OS installation guide has a section dedicated to what (and how) to set in order to prevent an automatic boot - which is a needed step before starting an installation.

This said, a "man reboot" or "man init" (from level 3) should give you the usual way to just reboot in level 1 from level 3 (because, yes, it is doable - again, maybe "init -S").

HTH, julio

P.S. i don't know if this is worth a grade, so i'll leave this up to your judgment.
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by:julio011597
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Sorry, i lost your last sentence: "Due to various reasons the system does not complete the boot sequence in multi user mode (init level 3)".

In my experience, when a boot fails on level 3, you get straight to a level 1 prompt... what's happening in your case?

-julio
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by:seedy
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Just after posting this Q, EE got screwed up.  Meanwhile, I did manage to bring up the machine in single user mode.  Yes, as you mentioned CTL-C, while the 'CPU 0 booting' message is displayed, takes you to the console prompt '>>>'.  Help gives you info on available commands.  To goto single user mode you need to do:
    boot -flags s

".. what's happening in your case?"
We had problems with the NIS and and NFS services and so the system will boot up to init level 3, but one cannot login to the machine.  Thats why we had to boot to signle user, fix problems.

Thanks for your help.  Now, if you could make it as an answer, I will award them points to you.

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julio011597 earned 50 total points
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Well, thanks for your clarifications :)

The answer was: *wildly* hit CTRL-C while the machine starts booting.

BTW, "one cannot login to the machine" sounds like a really strange situation. Whichever the problem, and whichever the boot level reached, i've never seen - on Alpha - a complete system hung-up preventing even root to login...?

Regards, julio
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by:seedy
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Well, the machine was setup to run with NIS.  Then it was moved to a totaly different physical location/network.  The IP number, netmask were wrong.  There weren't any NIS servers on the new network, etc.  Login prompt did appear, accepted login-id and then went to a limbo, never prompted for a password(not for atleast 5 minutes - that was my patience level)

Thanks for your help.
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