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I'm pretty new to ubuntu/linux and I guess I messed up my /etc/fstab file. Ubuntu (12.04) won't boot anymore. I've found some tips on the internet on how to fix this, but I didn't manage to get them working.

What I've tried so far is to reboot and enter recovery mode shell and edit the /etc/fstab file using #nano /etc/fstab.

I figured this won't work since the the mounted filesystem is read only. Then I tried #mount -n -o remount,rw / at the shell in order to remount the filesystem as writable. But if I enter now #nano /etc/fstab I get the line bash: /usr/bin/nano: Permission denied. Am I missing something here?

Another option I've tried is to create a bootable USB drive (I don't have a CD drive). This didn't work. I created a bootable USB stick and it boots on other machines, but not on my laptop (yes, I doublechecked the BIOS for the boot-order). Any help would be very very much appreciated.

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Well that seems weird, so you cannot even run the nano program? What is output when you enter the command ls -l /usr/bin/nano? – Severo Raz Feb 15 '13 at 21:48
You did this process to enter in recovery mode? – Lucio Feb 16 '13 at 0:25
@Wolter, when I enter this before attempting to remount, I get the following: lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 May 9 2012 /usr/bin/nano -> /bin/nano. If I then try to remount using #mount -n -o remount,rw / then I get "Permission denied" on every command that I enter. – Malker S. Feb 16 '13 at 5:43
@Lucio, no, I didn't follow these exact steps. In my case, the Grub menu comes up automatically (I don't have to press Shift). But apart from this it is identical: I select Recovery mode on the first screen and root on the next one. – Malker S. Feb 16 '13 at 5:47

Problem solved. I checked the partition table using fdisk. I figured that there are more then 1 partition (one for example DELLUTILITY). I assumed that simply remounting using the line #mount -n -o remount,rw / might mount the wrong partition. So I tried #mount -n -o remount,rw /dev/sda3 / instead and that worked just fine. I was able to get r/w access to the fstab file, fix it using nano, reboot and be happy.

Thanks anyways for your interest.

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