Accidentally deleted /etc/fstab, /etc/inittab, /etc/lvmtab in HP UX 11.23 - Help recovering the system

Posted on 2007-07-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Dear Gurus,

I have a big problem. I am running HP UX 11.23 on Rp4440 server with no issues. All of a sudden, due to some wrong execution of some script, some of my /etc/files are deleted. They include,
fstab, lvmtab, inittab.

I am not able to boot the system properly since it is missing /etc/inittab and /etc/fstab.

Right now i am having the CDs of HP UX 11.23 with me, can you please tell me how to recover/rebuild the system to the previous state, without any loss of data.

Many thanks for your help in place.



Question by:gsundar2001
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    There is no undelete facility so unless you have a backup of the missing areas you are stuck. The best you may be able to do is
    boot from a cd-only distribution (e.g. Koppix)
    copy the missing areas from koppix dvd onto harddrive
    boot from drive (you will get errors but hopefully you can boot)
    overwrite the missing areas from the HP disks
    this will get you to a working system (hopefully) but you still will not have anything related to additional installs or config changes that you have made. If you have a backup then copy from that.

    Author Comment


    Thank you Nick. But i am running a HP UX 11iv2. Will Koppix DVD can able boot the HP UX server?


    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    probably, it won't do any harm if it can't
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    I doubt that Knoppix will be able to boot a PA-RISC system ;-)

    You can try booting the system in single user mode using the procedure in
    I suspect that will fail, so you may need to use LVM Maintenance Mode - In step 5, do `hpux lm`

    If that's still no good, you'll have to boot from CD; In step 3, type SEARCH and then `boot Pn` (where "n" is the number corresponding to your CD drive).

    That gets your system up to a state where you can start the recovery; You may need to mount /usr and /tmp as well, to get access to other commands.

    Recreating the files is going to be painful, so your backups are the best bet - If you can restore them from a backup directly, or to another system and recreate them by hand on the dead system.  Otherwise, you'll need to find a similar system to give you examples to work with, but there are no guarantees of success :-(

    If you have a login at, you may be able to search the Technical Knowledge Base for the HP-UX Software Recovery Handbook which has sections on System Recovery and System Boot that describes much of the recovery process in far more detail than I can give here. Alternatively, the ITRC forums are very helpful - You will have to tell them as much as you can remember about the system.

    Finally, it may be worth paying HP to come and recover it
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    I found a "public" document that appears to have most of the Recovery process -

    The minimum you will need to recreate by hand in /etc will be inittab, fstab & passwd; The lvmtab & ioconfig files can be recreated by `vgscan` and `insf` respectively,  and I think this will happen automatically
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    If you have a recent ignite tape made on that machine, or an ignite server you might be able to recover most of your data up until the last time the image was made.
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    by:Hanno Schröder
    No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.

    I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup Zone:
    Accept tfewster's comment as answer.

    Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.
    JustUNIX, Experts Exchange Cleanup Volunteer
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Forced accept.

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