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My RedHat 9 Linux Server keeps spontaneously restarting why is this?

Posted on 2004-09-15
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Last Modified: 2007-02-13
Hi All,

I have a RedHat 9 Linux Server which seems to have a mind of its own. It keeps 'spontaneously' restarting (no trend that I can see, on average once every 1-2 weeks), are there any processes within Linux that could be causing this problem or is it more likely to be a hardware issue? (The Server is a DELL PowerEdge 4600 only 4 months old) ; there are no-cron jobs running that could cause a restart. Any suggestions would be greatly appretiated.

Many Thanks,

Mark.
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Question by:roberm
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by:Luxana
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is it possible that somehow you opened /etc/inittab and changed defauld runlevel to 6 which is reboot?

run your system in single mode and have a look also run this command to see previous and current runlevel.

# runlevel  
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by:Luxana
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cat /etc/inittab

# The default runlevel. You schould have something similar, 5 is X 3 is command line
id:2:initdefault:
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by:Luxana
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And also when it reboots after getty starts or after you login?
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by:roberm
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Ive checked your suggestions and all looks ok, i.e. current runlevel is 5 (X11). But thanks anyway.
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by:Luxana
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Couple questions...

did you check /var/log/mesages ?
when you change your runlevel to 3 does it restart anyway?
does the system is restarting by it self always or sometimes?
did you add new hardware recently?
when this problem occurs first?
does anybody else have root password except you ?


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jlevie earned 168 total points
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Is the system up to date w/respect to the RedHat 9 errata updates? If it isn't that'd be the first thing I'd do in working towards a solution. Next I'd set the run level to three and avoid leaving the Gui running when there wasn't someone sitting at the console. I've seen systems spontaneously reboot when running X that are rock solid when not. Those always turned out to be a video card problem.
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by:roberm
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In reply: im gonna try running at runlevel 3 for a week or two and see what happens, I did check the messages log and nothing that indicates a cause, no hardware has been added since purchase, know-else has the root password, can't really be sure when the problem first started, the server has only recently been used properly. Great advice from you both.
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by:jlevie
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Is the OS up to date? You need to make sure that it is since there were kernel and application bugs in the original distribution of RH 9.
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by:owensleftfoot
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I would bet on a hardware problem. Ram or power supply would be my guess.
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by:jlevie
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Don't neglect the possibility of a cooling fan as the cause. Especially the CPU coolers.
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by:owensleftfoot
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If it was the cooling fan,  the chances are it would shutdown, not reboot - most modern bios act this way.
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by:jlevie
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A slow running cooling fan, as opposed to one that's failed completely, have been observed as the cause of this even on very modern systems with the processor over-temp/fan-fail protection in the BIOS. But I agree that a failed fan should cause a power down, not a reboot.
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by:owensleftfoot
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In my limited experience, problems with failing fans cause complete freezes rather than shutdowns. But it is limited experience.
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by:dfk
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Mark

A few things to note here;

firstly, running at run level 5 usually indicates a desire to run X-Windows.  If this is just a server, you neednt bother and run level 3 would suffice.
If the run level was set to 6 in your inittab, your machine would constantly reboot... ;-)

Could your machine have been compromised?  It doesnt sound like a hardware problem as these usually result in machine hangs and _not_ reboots.
A power spike could reboot your machine but I suspect you'd notice spikes on other equipment.

Check your /var/log/messages for indications of possible logins and run chkrootkit (http://www.chkrootkit.org/).  If your machine has been compromised, you may find answers from the output of chkrootkit.

Also, ensure that your firewall is blocking everything but the things you have open and, for those services that are open, make sure
a) you need them to be open to the internet and
b) you are running the latest stable code for each service.


I hope that helps (and, for what its worth, I hope you havent been compromised....its a real pain!)
Best Regards
Mark Waterhouse
{company advert removed - ai, cs admin}
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by:roberm
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Hi All thanks for all your responses (I will reward with points), I have tried upgrading using the gui update tool, all was successful up until the kernel update which failed and since which I can no-longer run 'startx', when I launch it I get the following error message:

"xauth: error while loading shared libraries: libXmuu.so.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory."

The message is repeated 5 times, I really have no clue.

Is there anyway that I can re-launch the automatic update from the command-line, to retry the update?

With the regards to the restarting issue this still happens but has become less frequent.

I feel a re-install coming on ;( OMG.
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by:Luxana
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just before you reinstall it have a look if this library in in your /usr/X11R6/lib if not add it to /etc/ld.so.conf and run ldconfig.
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by:jlevie
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You can run up2date from the command line with 'up2date -u'. That's the only way I use it after having had failures in the past with the Gui interface.
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