Can not access my LMDE partition

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Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:19 pm

I have lost access to my LMDE partition on my laptop HD which I dual boot with win7. I have Grub set up to auto boot LMDE and it has worked absolutely flawlessly for about a year now.

I do have a backup, but I don't want to mess about with restoring the image because I want to find out what the problem is first of all.

Today I tried installing the latest Mint Petra to a USB stick and somehow I have done some damage.

This is the problem I have:

When I boot the laptop it auto boots my LMDE install with the splash screen dots showing up nicely as usual telling me it is all booting up. Then it asks me for a user name and password. It never did this before. I really don't know what has changed or gone wrong. I type in my name and password and I have that black screen with all the DOS like commands in it (sorry, I am a total noob to this) but I still can't make it boot. I can cd to the different directories - they are still there.

I tried booting into another usb install I have of mint - several actually - and they all behave the same. My 50GB partition that is split in half shows up - two 25GB partitions, but when I click on either one they disappear - poof - the icons are then gone! Also, there seems to be some really long alphanumeric name now associated with the disk that was not there before.

I booted into FatDog64 and for some reason this can read my SDA6 and SDA7 where my partitions reside - so all the information is still there. Nothing has been wiped or deleted as far as I can tell. And this is not a Grub problem as such, because LMDE does boot. But it just asks for that name and password. And as I said, I input it, but get stuck there.

Obviously something is wrong.

I don't want to restore yet, because I just went on an 18 hour hacking run yesterday installing drupal and setting up my database and doing some original graphics. If I re-install I will have lost a precious days work. It won't be the end of the world, but I'm not sure it will even solve my problem. And when I say 'hacking' I mean it in the sense of blindly persisting, reading docs, getting it wrong, learning, carrying on, rinsing and repeating... I had to follow so many instructions to get the XAMPP stack working, I just got carried away. It is going to be a major headache to replicate that.

I really try to push myself with Linux. I am learning how to learn. I'm at another one of those points where I have done very well for a while, but I've just hit another brick wall pointing out a major gap in my understanding.

I could rebuild everything, but it will take me ages and it won't be the same. Still, I won't know what has gone wrong or how to fix it.

Something tells me if I just knew the right commands to type when I get that black screen, then maybe I could get back into my install.

I have my password, the files are all still there, the system is booting...

I have a feeling I have really exposed my ignorance here. I just really don't know where to look to try to solve this.


Any help greatly appreciated.

(I am running Cinnamon btw, and I haven't updated to update pack 7 just yet)
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby cwsnyder on Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:29 pm

First, a clarification. An XAMPP stack is designed for servers. Servers don't have a desktop and don't run a GUI normally. They are meant to be administered from another machine, either over a network, or over the Internet. That is the reason your GUI doesn't work, and the reason you have to give your username and password to access the machine.

You can try startx at a command prompt after you have logged in to see if you happened to wipe your GUI configuration entirely and you are going to have to log in with SSH from another machine.
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:49 pm

cwsnyder wrote:First, a clarification. An XAMPP stack is designed for servers. Servers don't have a desktop and don't run a GUI normally. They are meant to be administered from another machine, either over a network, or over the Internet. That is the reason your GUI doesn't work, and the reason you have to give your username and password to access the machine.


Thanks for the reply. Sorry if I got any terminology wrong. I'm kind of new to this. I was designing Flash websites over 10 years ago but have taken a bit of a break and I'm just getting back into it. I am using XAMPP to run an offline install for my drupal websites. I am talking specifically about the program XAMPP that works on linux - not the generic use of the name. I use Acquia drupal for my offline stuff when I work in Windows. And that provides me with my 'virtual' AMP Stack. Or WAMP Stack as some call it.

I had it all up and running absolutely perfectly in LMDE. I have also re-booted several times, back and for from windows and various Linux USB installs I have on SD card and USB stick. It was only after downloading and creating a live cd of Petra and then trying to install it to a stick, that this happened. I do this all the time and I've never come across this problem before.

Forget what I said about the server stuff. It will just confuse things. I wanted to do my development in Linux even though it works flawlessly in windows. LMDE is the only Linux installation I actually have on this machine, so I have started making more use of it.

Anyway, thanks for clarifying!


cwsnyder wrote:You can try startx at a command prompt after you have logged in to see if you happened to wipe your GUI configuration entirely and you are going to have to log in with SSH from another machine.


I'm afraid you have lost me there. I will try the command you have said to ascertain if the GUI is the problem though.

I'm sorry that I seem to have crossed the wires about the server stuff. This is all localhost. I also have it set up live and working perfectly on my real server space. But I don't want to hack PHP and Perl from there, that is why I am working offline. But really this has nothing to do with my problem as far as I can tell.

Thanks for something to be going on with though - much appreciated!
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:10 pm

I just tried what you suggested with the 'startx' command, and it worked. I got a gui back up and it booted into my install of LMDE. The resolution is all whacked out like when you do a first install. But I think it is as root because I have lost all my user documents - everything is blank. But the system stuff is still there - the drupal websites that I set up and all the graphics I did for them. Whewww.. Thanks so much!

I'm such an idiot. I don't know how to log back in as a user. When I view my ''Documents' and 'Downloads' folders there is nothing in them. I know how to get into root from user. But I don't know how to get into user from root.

And I know the files are there because I could view them with FatDog64, they are just not showing up here.

Oh and the bookmarks that I made in my file manager as root are showing up exactly as they were. They pointed me straight back to my drupal files in htdocs in LAMPP.


Thanks again cwsnyder, I have a feeling 'startx' is a command that is going to imprinted onto my synapses for a very long time.

I'm now going to see if I can boot back into another OS and access the files from there, as I did before, But something tells me it won't be as simple as that. I wonder if I will keep getting that 'poofing' of the icons and everything disappearing in Linux Mint.


I really appreciate the help you gave me.
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:27 pm

Well I just booted back into Mint on a USB. The same problem. When I click on the partitions in the left hand pane of Nautilus, they 'poof' - disappear.

How the hell I have got my system into such a mess after trying to install Petra to USB, I just don't know.

I have everything important backed up, but this is a new one on me. And it doesn't do me much good if I can't restore it to its former state.

I'm still lost in the woods. I have two partitions that are inaccessible from every OS except FatDog64. But that doesn't help me much.
Can anyone even tell me why they are accessible from FatDog64 and not from any Linux Mint install? FatDog64 is really brutal with privileges and writing to the system. The security on it almost makes it unusable if you don't know what you are doing. But for some reason, it will see those files and read those files and tell me they are there.


I've got a feeling I am going to learn a major lesson from all this.

:-)
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby austin.texas on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:21 pm

Try using a terminal to mount the partitions before you click on them in Nautilus. It may sound illogical, but I had a very similar problem with partitions disappearing (only when using the file manager as root) when they weren't already mounted. It was irritating, but I learned to mount them first.
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:50 pm

austin.texas wrote:Try using a terminal to mount the partitions before you click on them in Nautilus. It may sound illogical, but I had a very similar problem with partitions disappearing (only when using the file manager as root) when they weren't already mounted. It was irritating, but I learned to mount them first.



Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that. I am having a problem learning how to learn how to do things.

I am so close to understanding, but unfortunately I have to admit I am totally out of my depth here.
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby austin.texas on Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:44 am

Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that

I understand that - we have all been there...
First, open a terminal and enter
Code: Select all
inxi -po

That will give you some info on the mounted partitions, and also list the ones that are not mounted.
The first step in mounting an unmounted partition is to create a folder (or directory) to use as a mount point. The usual place to mount partitions is /mnt, but your mount point can be anywhere. You can put it on your desktop if you want.
So if you want to mount sda2 at /mnt, create a folder in /mnt called mountsda2. You have to do that as root, so enter this command to create the folder:
Code: Select all
sudo mkdir /mnt/mountsda2

Then mount the partition with this command:
Code: Select all
sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/mountsda2

You can check to see if it worked by entering the command:
Code: Select all
mount

It should be on the list of things mounted.
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Re: Can not access my LMDE partition

Postby Fusix on Wed Dec 25, 2013 7:58 pm

austin.texas wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that

I understand that - we have all been there...
First, open a terminal and enter
Code: Select all
inxi -po

That will give you some info on the mounted partitions, and also list the ones that are not mounted.
The first step in mounting an unmounted partition is to create a folder (or directory) to use as a mount point. The usual place to mount partitions is /mnt, but your mount point can be anywhere. You can put it on your desktop if you want.
So if you want to mount sda2 at /mnt, create a folder in /mnt called mountsda2. You have to do that as root, so enter this command to create the folder:
Code: Select all
sudo mkdir /mnt/mountsda2

Then mount the partition with this command:
Code: Select all
sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/mountsda2

You can check to see if it worked by entering the command:
Code: Select all
mount

It should be on the list of things mounted.



Thanks for all that information austin.texas. I'm going to try it out.

I'm sorry I have taken so long to reply to those in this thread and not updated the situation, sooner, but it's xmas and I have had very little time to deal with this. I am taking it more as a learning point than a disaster zone. If I have to do things over it will just reinforce.

So far, thanks to cwsnynder and the startx command I have been able to get my graphical front end back up to my LMDE install.
I have my root folders intact and it would seem I have my user folders intact. Everything is still there - nothing missing.

I have been learning about su and sudo and gksu and gksudo from the debian manual and other resources. I haven't had much time - a few hours. One thing I can not do is boot into my user from root. Everyone says you don't need a password, but it just tells me it is not allowed.

Absolutely everything is where it is supposed to be, but what is weird is, when I start Firefox or Opera, I can not get my whole Xampp stack up and running. Everything fires up except my MySql database. I try to go into my database which I have the user name and password for.

And my mounts keep 'poofing' from Linux Mint Usb intalls.

I know I have explained this very badly. I am going to have to go into much deeper detail. I could just re-install from my backups, or even do a new install of LMDE. But I want to understand what has gone wrong and why. I'm trying to learn. Just re-installing everything would be a long haul but the easy way out.

Anyway, I'm going to try to solve this myself with the help given in this thread.

It's late, it's xmas day. I probably shouldn't have posted, but it was just to say I have to solve this, and thanks to everyone who tried to help.
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