Crash! Now out of my depth

Hi Folks

I have been running Lubuntu successfully on a Acer Aspire 3820TZ laptop since the start of the first lockdown when Microsoft’s update gave me a BSOD.

Recently I accepted the latest Lubuntu update (but did not record the version). A little while later when using Cliqz browser the latter crashed. Tried to re-start it and then Lubuntu crashed.

Now on attempting to boot things seem to start OK but then stop with the following display:

“BusyBox v1.30.1 (Ubuntu 1:1.30.1-4ubuntu6.3) built-in shell (ash)
Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.
(initramfs)”

Help does indeed give a list of commands but I have never come across BusyBox before so I have no idea what to do next.

I would gratefully welcome some suggestions to reduce my ignorance level.

Regards

Pete

I would suggest booting live media (eg. Lubuntu installation media on thumb-drive/removable media) and fsck (or file-system check) your partition(s). (GUI tools can be used too from live media; eg. KDE Partition Manager etc)

I’m betting errors will be found, corrected, then you’ll be able to reboot your box, and almost certainly boot normally again.

Busybox appears because of issues (likely logical errors because of the crash) were encountered & your system was not able to boot; busybox is a fall back should your system not be able to boot properly (it’s tiny & thus has only very basic commands).

It’s also possible to perform the fsck from where you are, I’ll refer you to Boot drops to a (initramfs) prompts/busybox - Ask Ubuntu (from here you have only commands; the page refers to /dev/sda1 for example which you’ll have to amend for your own system (it may not be sda1, but be something else). The use of live media allows commands too, but also GUI tools.

FYI: The reason I’m suggesting live media first is it’s just what I’d do, if a system dies/crashes on me, for any reason (including power outage), I tend to boot live media and perform the fsck from there before I attempt re-boot. I also use that as a prompt to do media checks (ie. check drive health using in-built SMART which I find easier from live media for some devices as the drives are not in operation.

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Hi
Many thanks for your answer which I have now followed up. Getting a bootable version pm and SD card took me rather longer than I recall it did last time. However, it was possible to check the file system and run some repairs. The laptop then booted back up as you suggested it would.

Unfortunately, within half an hour it crashed again and took me back to exactly the same place. Given that the machine is 15 years old, I fear that the HDD has reached then end of its useful life. I think I will now look for suitable SSDs or, sadly, replacement machines.

Regards

Pete

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I’ll provide some random thoughts

  • I’ve already provided the normal SMART link which is a CLI (command line) tool, but you can run tests from GUI tools too if that’s easier (eg. Lubuntu media provides KDE Partition Manager; in fact I can run it on my own system as I write this; but I prefer running from live media if I’m exploring suspect hardware).

  • don’t forget good components can misbehave because of bad power; ie a perfectly good hard drive can give faulty results if the PSU isn’t providing good power, so I’d check other components too inc. PSU or power supply

  • RAM tests are quick & easy to perform (quick is a relative term; by ‘quick’ I mean it’s easy to start & get running and get preemptive answer… where I’ll let it run overnight at minimum, maybe even day or two to ensure system is reliable)

  • if I get failures that start occurring regularly; I open up and look at the motherboard for issues… This is commonly called a ‘cap scan’ as you spend time looking not for just dust/crap to clear away thus improving air-flow (ie. impairing cooling) but you’re primarily looking for swollen capacitors which are a visible clue on a failing motherboard/component - the results can be loss of data, crashes and especially random freezes. The crashes/freezes aren’t regular at first, but will become increasingly more frequent as the condition deteriorates.

ie. my point is crashes maybe a sign of problems; which maybe other than just the drive corruption issues (ie. that could be a symptom and not the cause).

As an aside - I recently booted a Kubuntu impish ISO on a [2006] box I use in QA-testing; and was surprised when they now default to SMART testing on boot with a message alerting me to temperature issues with my drive I wasn’t aware on that box; it’s new and exists on the ~recent impish Kubuntu dailies

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