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This afternoon my headless ubuntu machine seemed to dissapear from the network. COuldnt ping it, SSH sessions that were ongoing suddenly died.

I rebooted the machine and...nothing. A few seconds of drive activity and then the machine just sits there. I connected it up to a monitor, and I can see the BIOS come up, check for a bootable CD, and then seemingly try to boot from the HDD, but nothing happens.

I suspect that I might be in the wrong place here, as it may well not be a ubuntu issue - I boot into a livecd, and mount the drive and look in /var/logs, and can see nothing at all since the last time I rebooted, several days ago. Its as if the BIOS has 'lost' the install.

Ive confirmed the partition is marked bootable, and reinstalled/reconfigured grub, but nothing. Any ideas/suggestions?

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Is it a SATA drive? Sounds like the drive is out of place (could have been bumped or something); if not - it's probably a hardware issue. P.S. I'm voting for this question to be closed. – RolandiXor Feb 5 '12 at 22:53
Does the machine load grub or does it fail before that? – Joni Feb 5 '12 at 22:55
It is a SATA drive, but everything seems fine. All the connections are solid. – Visage Feb 5 '12 at 23:11
Joni - Im not convinced grub is being loaded. The BIOS has the drive as No. 1 in its boot priority ordering, and the only partition on the drive is flagged bootable, and has grub installed on it. Yet at the end of the BIOS boot, the machine just...stops. – Visage Feb 5 '12 at 23:12
When you look in /var/logs in the live session... You do mean /media/installed_root_filesystem_name/var/logs? Because /var/logs will be of the live session itself. I would run a live session and start palimpsest and check the drives SMART-status. The disk may have crashed. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Feb 5 '12 at 23:58

Boot from live cd, do disk checks on the disk, make sure that the disk is healthy, and does not have too many bad blocks/sectors.

If the disk checks out fine, and if the system you have is running at least 11.04 or greater, use the installer, and do an upgrade install.

This will keep all your data safe. It will simply replace the entire OS, and Grub, running a fresh grub configuration. It will then re-install any and all downloaded applications, updates, drivers, etc. This should at least get the system booting again, assuming that the crash was not caused by a damaged driver that was downloaded. If it was caused by a package being damaged because it was not fully downloaded or installed, this will fix the issue. If it was caused by some part of the system getting corrupted, then this also should fix that.

According to what you said, you reinstalled grub. If you were pointing grub 1.0 to the grub 1.5 installed on the root drive, then grub could not execute the OS for some reason, the upgrade install should fix this. Hope this helps you out.

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great answer, one can use System/Administration to mount and check the disks from the live CD – Bob Yoplait Aug 19 '12 at 21:23

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