Tried to symlink /etc to another disk, now stuck

Glenn Gillis glenn at
Fri Jun 13 22:40:23 UTC 2008

Steve Bertrand wrote, On 6/12/2008 7:09 PM:
> Steve Bertrand wrote:
>> Dan Nelson wrote:
>> I'm off to try it. I've got a system here with a da device. I'll fsck 
>> up /etc/fstab, reboot, and report back with the appropriate mountroot> 
>> prompt entry...
> # cat /etc/fstab
> # Device                Mountpoint      FStype  Options         Dump Pass#
> /dev/da0a               /               ufs     rw,noatime      1       1
> md                      /tmp            mfs     rw,-s32M,nosuid,noatime 
> 0       0
> (..snip..)
> ..change /etc/fstab to mount root to /dev/ad15a, reboot:
> mountroot>
> # mountroot>ufs:/dev/da0a {ENTER}
> ...machine boots up.
> To the OP...if you know what your disk type is, you CAN get it to 
> continue to mount root at the mountroot prompt.
> Furthering that, you can also fsck and mount your other disk mountpoints 
> in order to gain access to your editing binaries.
> There is no need to use an external resource to boot the machine from if 
> you are already aware that the only thing that got fsck'd up is the 
> mountpoints in the fstab (or, like in this case, the file was 
> unavailable entirely). The disk structure is still the same, and the 
> system can see this with manual intervention.
> OP: at the mountroot> prompt, try this: ufs:/dev/ad0s1a
> and see if you get anywhere.
> Steve

Thanks to Steve, Dan and Andrew for offering suggestions for regaining 
access to my box!

I was finally able to mount / from the mountroot> prompt using 
"ufs:/dev/aacd0s1a" (this is a Dell PowerEdge server with a SCSI RAID5 
array.) Fortunately, there was an "/etc.old directory left over from the 
last patch level upgrade I did; that was enough to get the system 
booting normally so that I could copy back the former /etc directory 
that I had moved at the start of this whole fiasco.

I think I will start retaining electronic and hard-copy fstab files from 
my FreeBSD boxes for future reference, as Steve suggested in a later 
Glenn Gillis
ELAW U.S. Information Technology Manager
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list