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Software - Support => Other => Topic started by: JanetBiggar on April 14, 2019, 04:42:22 AM

Title: What is (initramfs) and what does (initramfs) mean?
Post by: JanetBiggar on April 14, 2019, 04:42:22 AM
One of my youth contacted me as when he started up the old laptop he is using running LL 3.8 it came up with this message this morning:

BusyBox v1.22 (Ubuntu 1:1.22.0-15ubuntu1) built-in shell (---) 3 letters here that I can read
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

(initramfs) _

I googled and found this link which worked GREAT and the youth is back up and running (although I have suggested it save anything of importance to his USB stix before shutting down the laptop EACH time he uses it):

My questions are -
1) Why did this occur?
2) What is initramfs?
3) And what does it say about this laptop..? Is the HDD or something on it's way out?
Title: Re: What is (initramfs) and what does (initramfs) mean?
Post by: DeepThought on April 14, 2019, 06:14:29 AM

In answer to 2}

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Title: Re: What is (initramfs) and what does (initramfs) mean?
Post by: bitsnpcs on April 14, 2019, 07:45:59 AM
Interesting @DeepThought  :)
Title: Re: What is (initramfs) and what does (initramfs) mean?
Post by: freemedia2018 on April 15, 2019, 11:36:21 AM
You can run smartctl (install smartmontools if you dont have it) or possibly udisks to find out what shape the drive is in.

Both rely on s.m.a.r.t. technology which is built into the drive-- it can help, though it doesn't always tell you what you need to know. (It's not perfect all of the time.)

Dropping to the (initramfs) prompt doesn't necessarily mean the drive is failing (it could mean that, if it is happening more and more often.) It could also mean that the system wasn't shut down properly-- for example if you were running on battery and it just shut off. The system will normally recover from that automatically, but sometimes it doesn't.

initramfs is one of the early stages of booting, it's the smaller system that is used to load the larger system:

stage 1: bios/uefi -> bootloader

stage 2: kernel, initramfs, init system

stage 3: the rest of the system

You could have a system that's very modest, fit entirely into the initramfs. However, that's not conventional or practical for most operating system setups.
Title: Re: What is (initramfs) and what does (initramfs) mean?
Post by: JanetBiggar on June 25, 2019, 01:37:36 PM
Thanks freemedia2018, your explanation helped me understand it a bit. I知 a newbie so much of the terminology goes over my head so this was helpful.

I知 cautiously optimistic that maybe the hard drive is okay on the student痴 machine and fingers crossed it continues to work fine until mid-December when he値l be finished exams. As of last week all was fine.

Interestingly I had another HD that gave the same prompt so once I found and used the steps above on that earlier laptop I brought this HD back with me from South Africa to Canada to see if I could rehabilitate it. I put it into a laptop that was given to me without the hard drive and did the same steps as my post above. So far so good, it痴 working and I知 trying out LL 4.0 on it.

We値l see if it gives me that prompt again in future...