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How to fixit

Author: Varuna E.

Was reading the Xorg(1) page, and found a mention of the need for svr4 related components.  Using sysinstall, enabled svr4 and named.  Also made sure that the /boot/loader.conf had svr4_load set to YES, and as well srv4_enable to YES in the /etc/rc.conf files.  Easy way out and rebooted my crash-and-burn system.  Guess what happened? Just after the boot menu the system caused a GPF.

I tried the boot menu options of safe boot, single user, without ACPI, and default – nothing seemed to work.  The question that stared at me was: How to recover the installation without formating the disk?

The first attempt was to use the ‘emergency recovery shell’ provided by the boot media.  Found it to be highly restrictive in nature; hence, not much of a help for a beginner in recovering OS installations.

Searching the internet there were tonnes of information about how to use fixit, none specifically addressing the scenario that I was into: Rectifying the /boot/ loader.conf and the /etc/rc.conf entries.  This implied that I had to figure a way out to use fixit and recover the OS installation.

Once into the fixit terminal, changed the directory to /etc and looked at the rc.conf.  It was amazing to see no entries in it! Made me wonder why on earth did the rc.conf entries vanish, and thinking a bit more on the issue, I realised that I had booted using the install media and it is obvious it was not the one on the HDD.

The next question was, how do I access the HDD:/etc/rc.conf?

The output of the /sbin/mount did not list the HDD, neither was I able to figure out the information provided by /sbin/fdisk.  Got into a situation where I had decided to format the whole disk as I was not able to find the paper based note that I had made on the partition information.  As a last chance of luck had a look at the file under /dev; and there I found ad4 along with the 5 slices that I had created earlier.  My joy knew no bounds.

I mounted the /dev/ad4s1a on /mnt with -t ufs; the slice fs was ufs; and modified the /mnt/etc/rc.conf and the /mnt/boot/loader.conf entires that caused the kernel panic.  Rebooted the system, and there found my earlier installed Beastie up and running.

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