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When trying to boot from the Mac OSX Snow Leopard install disk, it failed to boot which was not very surprising as the optical drive was old and designed for use with Windows. After this I restarted my computer, to see this message from Ubuntu.

/dev/sda2 contains a file system with errors, check forced. Inodes that were part of a corrupted orphan linked list found. 
/dev/sda2: UNEXPECTED INCONSISTENCY; RUN fsck MANUALLY. 
(i.e., without -a or -p options)
fsck exited with status code 4
The root filesystem on /dev/sda2 requires a manual fsck 

See the Screen Shoot of the error

I have since removed the disk, unplugged the optical drive and restarted the computer multiple times, but the problem persists. What is the problem and how do I fix it?

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As per the norm with Linux error messages, it's telling you exactly what to do:

/dev/sda2: UNEXPECTED INCONSISTENCY; RUN fsck MANUALLY. 

Unfortunately, you can't boot into your system to run fsck, so you'll need to grab some live media (the same thing you installed Ubuntu with), and follow these steps.

  1. Open a terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T
  2. Run the command sudo blkid | grep ext4 to get the disk you need to operate on. It should be the only result, and should have a /dev/sdXY at the beginning. Make note of this.
  3. Now, run sudo fsck /dev/sdXY, replacing it with what you got in step 2. It will go through and check the filesystem. This command may prompt you (when it's done) to run fsck -f on the drive. Do that if necessary (sudo fsck -f /dev/sdXY).

Reboot your system and you should be okay.

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You need to run fsck on the drive to repair problems with the disk. Boot into a live install of Ubuntu, then run "fsck -a" (e2fsck for next file systems) to repair the partition

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