No init found. Try passing init = bootarg.

Asked by Rob McCallum

There seem to be many many people out there with this problem - and there is an easy peasy fix for the problem each time it occurs, but it involves carrying around either a live CD or a SystemRescueCD. What I want to know is: Is this issue on the developer community's radar? Does anybody know what the root cause is? Will it be addressed?

Here is the issue:
My daughter went to university last year with a laptop running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid. Every couple of weeks or so she turns it on and gets this message:

      No init found. Try passing init = bootarg.

      BusyBox v1.13.3 (Ubuntu 1:1.13.3-1ubuntu11) built-in shell (ash)
      Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

      (initramfs) _

It won't boot and BusyBox doesn't have the command to fix the filesystem (fsck - see below).

To fix this you have to put in a live CD or SystemRescueCD and type the following command at a terminal:

fsck -y /dev/sda1

(It needs sudo if used with a live CD)

fsck usually finds a problem with the file system - the most recent time it found some inconsistencies in the free blocks data structures.

The machine then boots every time and no data has been lost. Pretty benign. However it does mean that my daughter has to carry around a CD with her every where she goes - not a great advertisement for ubuntu!

BTW I thought it might be due to a faulty hard drive so I changed it and restored her stuff (I used clonezilla to image the old disk to an external drive). No luck - she still gets the problem!

It feels like this is an issue with some part of ubuntu. Is anybody looking at this?
(Or, at second best, will a future version of BusyBox include fsck?)

I'm going to try upgrading the distribution before my daughter takes it back to uni next week - maybe that will help but I don't hold out much hope.


Question information

English Edit question
Needs information
Ubuntu grub2 Edit question
No assignee Edit question
Last query:
Last reply:
Revision history for this message
Tobias (ulbricht-tobias) said :

Just guessing: Sound like

* (no offense) your daughter turns off the laptop the hard way once in a while _and_ skips the boot fsck tests,


* somethings wrong with the kernel upgrade mechanism. Does this happen whenever the kernel gets updated (once in a while as a security update)


* the filesystem you chose to begin with is error prone (what is the output of "mount")? Which one is it?

* If there are several people having the problem, are there bug reports? (I didn't check)

Revision history for this message
Rob McCallum (rob-snakewood) said :

Hi Tobias,
I questioned my daughter closely and she says she always turns off the laptop the 'nice' way using the graphical shutdown tool - except after the 'No init found' message appears when she has to use the power button.

She claims she doesn't ever see the update manager: I checked and it is set to check for security and recommended updates and to install the security updates without confirmation - I must have set it like that when I originally configured the laptop for her - so I don't believe her. I'm installing the recommended updates now - she clearly hasn't ever installed these.

Mount looks like this:

robm@freddy:~$ mount
/dev/sda1 on / type ext4 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
none on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
none on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
none on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw)
none on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw)
none on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
none on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=0620)
none on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
none on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
none on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
none on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
gvfs-fuse-daemon on /home/robm/.gvfs type fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon (rw,nosuid,nodev,user=robm)

I didn't check the bug reports - I'll take a look.


Revision history for this message
Rob McCallum (rob-snakewood) said :

There is one existing bug that sounds similar: However my daughter never sees these lines reported in that bug:

[... some error trace ...]
mount: mounting /dev on /root/dev failed: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /sys on /root/sys failed: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /proc on /root/proc failed: No such file or directory
Target filesystem doesn't have requested /sbin/init.

The reason I said there seemed to be 'many many people out there with this problem' was that I googled it and saw lots of places on forums where people reported seeing this message - sometimes with the 'mount' messages and sometimes without.

Revision history for this message
Rob McCallum (rob-snakewood) said :
Revision history for this message
delance (olivier-delance) said :

Did you solved the issue ?

Can you help with this problem?

Provide an answer of your own, or ask Rob McCallum for more information if necessary.

To post a message you must log in.