Following an unusual power loss (laptop punted to the floor...), Ubuntu 14.04 drops into initramfs on boot up and I'm unable to recover.

After turning the system on, GRUB is displayed and after selecting the only "vanilla" Ubuntu option, I am prompted for my encryption passphrase. The encryption success message is displayed, and then I am immediately dropped into the initramfs prompt without error message.

Boot-recover output (fdisk, parted, etc): http://paste.ubuntu.com/23077522/

I've booted the system from a live USB and run fsck both directly on /dev/sda1 and using a backup superblock (following instructions here: Boot drops to a (initramfs) prompts/busybox). The latter fixed a handful of errors, but did not fix the issue. I am able to mount that partition and see files. Encrypted /dev/sda5 will not mount through Nautilus on the live USB (with an "already in use" error), but my passphrase is accepted during normal boot (before hitting the initramfs prompt.)

Following instructions from Ubuntu Wiki, I removed the "quiet" and "splash" args at the grub prompt but I'm not able to see any intelligible error in the scrolling text. Added the "debug" arg, but no log appears under /tmp/ so I'm apparently not doing it correctly or misunderstanding what it's supposed to do.

Ran the recommended boot-repair mode without improvement.


It was the encrypted partition /dev/sda5 that was the source of the issue. My initial attempts to run fsck on it had been thwarted due to lack of understanding of cryptsetup and LVM. I was able to get it "accessible enough" in a Live USB session by:

At this point, I attempted:

sudo mkdir /mnt/brokenVolume
sudo mount /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root /mnt/brokenVolume

This gave a wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock error. However, I was now able to run:

fsck -fy /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root

This fixed a number of issues, following which I was able to mount normally. Rebooting brought me back into my normal working system.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.