I have been using the Redhat 2.4 Linux kernel for about 3 years. Same kernel, many different machines.
We have always ghosted the hard disk to bring up another machine to be sure the install is identical.
I have had the following strange occurrence several times (perhaps once every 6 months) and the only remedy has been to junk the disk and go get one of the backup clones.
The symptom is that when I try to login immediately after boot, the root password fails.
If I log in as myself and the change to superuser, the same password that failed on the initial attempt works, but I can't really do anything else (like startx) because my user account hasn't got the same PATH settings, so the resultant desktop is sort of crippled.
There seem to be other issues, like not being able to start sshd.
Samba, on the other hand, does work, so I can use Ultraedit to compare and/or modify files between this disk and one of the others that doesn't have this "disease", I just don't know where to start.
Some of the files (like passwd and the shadow files) are accessible and I can't see any significant differences between them. Others are locked out due to permissions.
We are ditching the 2.4 kernel soon, and moving to a FC5 2.6 kernel, but I really would like to learn how to salvage the 2.4 system.
I read some procedures having to do with the passwd and shadow files and have tried to do them in the past with no success.
Thanks - Frank
If you want to login to it, you could try to boot into single user mode and reset the root password.
no doubt its using lilo so at the lilo: prompt
will drop you at a bash#
then: mount -o remount,rw /
and reboot, see if that works