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How To Fix “Kernel Panic – not syncing: Attempted to kill init!” Error on Ubuntu Boot

Ubuntu 11

In this article, we will explore how to fix a common error encountered by Ubuntu users: “Kernel Panic – not syncing: Attempted to kill init!”. This error can prevent your system from booting properly, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to tackle this issue.

Understanding the Error

Firstly, let’s understand what this error means. A Kernel Panic is a type of error that the Linux Kernel encounters which it cannot recover from. The “not syncing: Attempted to kill init!” part indicates that the system tried to kill the initial process, which is critical for the system’s operation. This usually happens due to some software issues, corrupted files, or faulty hardware.

Prerequisites

Before we start, ensure you have a Live CD or USB of Ubuntu and basic understanding of terminal commands. If you’re not familiar with terminal commands, you might find this guide helpful.

Solution 1: Remove “quiet” and “splash” options

The first solution we’re going to try is to remove the “quiet” and “splash” options from the kernel line in the GRUB menu.

  1. Restart your system and when the GRUB menu appears, select the Ubuntu entry and press “e” to edit.
  2. Look for the line that starts with “linux /boot/vmlinuz-“. This line contains kernel parameters.
  3. Remove the “quiet” and “splash” parameters. These options are used to suppress system messages during boot. By removing them, we can get more detailed information about the error.
  4. Press Ctrl-X to boot.

If the error persists, note down any additional information displayed and proceed to the next solution.

Solution 2: Boot in Rescue Mode

Another method to troubleshoot this error is to boot your system in rescue mode.

  1. Restart your system and select “Advanced options for Ubuntu” from the GRUB menu.
  2. Select the option with “(recovery mode)” at the end.
  3. In the recovery menu, select “root” to drop into a root shell prompt.

If you can successfully boot into rescue mode, it indicates that the issue is likely with a non-essential system process or service. If the error persists, proceed to the next solution.

Solution 3: Access /var/log/kern.log from Live CD

The /var/log/kern.log file contains kernel logs which can provide more information about the error.

  1. Boot from a Live CD or USB of Ubuntu.
  2. Open a terminal and mount your Ubuntu partition. Replace /dev/sdaX with your partition.
sudo mount /dev/sdaX /mnt
  1. Navigate to the log directory and open the kern.log file.
cd /mnt/var/log
less kern.log

Look for any error messages that might indicate what is causing the kernel panic.

Solution 4: Reinstall the Kernel

If none of the above solutions work, you can try reinstalling the kernel. This should be done as a last resort and only if you are comfortable with terminal commands.

  1. Boot from a Live CD or USB of Ubuntu.
  2. Open a terminal and mount your Ubuntu partition.
sudo mount /dev/sdaX /mnt
  1. Use chroot to change the root directory to the mounted partition. This allows you to work on your actual Ubuntu installation.
sudo chroot /mnt
  1. Reinstall the kernel. Replace <version> with your kernel version. You can find this by running uname -r.
apt-get install --reinstall linux-image-<version>

Conclusion

The “Kernel Panic – not syncing: Attempted to kill init!” error can be daunting, but it’s usually fixable with some troubleshooting. If none of the above solutions work, you may need to consider performing a clean installation of Ubuntu. Remember to always back up your important data before making any major changes to your system. If you need further assistance, consider seeking help from Ubuntu support forums or a professional.

What should I do if the error persists after removing the “quiet” and “splash” options?

If the error persists after removing the "quiet" and "splash" options, you can try booting your system in rescue mode. Restart your system and select "Advanced options for Ubuntu" from the GRUB menu. Then, select the option with "(recovery mode)" at the end. This will allow you to troubleshoot the error further.

How can I access the `/var/log/kern.log` file from a Live CD?

To access the /var/log/kern.log file from a Live CD, boot from the Live CD or USB of Ubuntu and open a terminal. Then, mount your Ubuntu partition using the command sudo mount /dev/sdaX /mnt, replacing /dev/sdaX with your partition. Navigate to the log directory using the command cd /mnt/var/log and open the kern.log file using the command less kern.log. This will allow you to view the kernel logs and look for any error messages related to the kernel panic.

How can I find my kernel version?

To find your kernel version, you can open a terminal and run the command uname -r. This will display the kernel version of your Ubuntu installation.

Can I reinstall the kernel as a last resort if none of the other solutions work?

Yes, you can try reinstalling the kernel as a last resort if none of the other solutions work. However, it is important to note that reinstalling the kernel should be done with caution and only if you are comfortable with terminal commands. You can do this by booting from a Live CD or USB of Ubuntu, mounting your Ubuntu partition using the command sudo mount /dev/sdaX /mnt, and then using the chroot command to change the root directory to the mounted partition (sudo chroot /mnt). Finally, you can reinstall the kernel using the command apt-get install --reinstall linux-image-<version>, replacing <version> with your kernel version obtained from uname -r.

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