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How To Fix Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

How To Fix Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

By sk
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This brief guide explains how to fix Busybox Initramfs error on Ubuntu Linux. I use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS as my daily driver on my Dell Inspiron laptop. Today I turned it on and the boot process dropped to the BusyBox shell and I ended up at the initramfs prompt. As far as I can remember, I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't forcibly power off it. It was working just fine yesterday! When I switched it on today, I landed in the BusyBox shell:

BusyBox v1.30.1 (Ubuntu 1:1.30.1-4ubuntu6.1) built-in shell (ash) 
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

(initramfs)

I can't get past this screen. Also it doesn't show what exactly the problem is. All I see is just a blank busybox shell.

I wasn't sure what to do at this point. So I simply passed the "exit" command to see what happens.

And then I saw the actual error:

(initramfs) exit
/dev/sda1 contains a file system with errors, check forced.
Inode 4326476 extent tree (at level 1) could be narrower, IGNORED.
/dev/sda1: Inode 4326843 extent tree (at level 1) could be narrower, IGNORED.
/dev/sda1: Inode 4327012 extent tree (at level 1) could be narrower, IGNORED.
/dev/sda1: Inode 4329004 extent tree (at level 1) could be narrower, IGNORED.
/dev/sda1: Inodes that were part of a corrupted orphan linked list found.

/dev/sda1: UNEXPECTED INCONSISTENCY; RUN fsck MANUALLY.
        (i.e., without -a or -p options) 
fsck exited with status code 4. 
The root filesystem on /dev/sda1 requires a manual fsck. 

BusyBox v1.30.1 (Ubuntu 1:1.30.1-4ubuntu6.1) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

(initramfs)
Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

As you can see in the above output, the /dev/sda1 partition is corrupted. The file system in this partition has some errors. If you ever encountered with this type of problem, just follow the steps given below.


For those wondering, BusyBox is software suite that provides many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable. It provides replacements for most of the utilities you usually find in GNU fileutils, shellutils, etc.

Initramfs is an initial ram file system based on tmpfs. It contains the tools and scripts required to mount the file systems before the init binary on the real root file system is called.


Fix Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

To solve initramfs error on Ubuntu Linux, you need to repair the filesystem in the corrupted partition using "fsck" command:

(initramfs) fsck /dev/sda1 -y

Now it will start to fix all bad blocks automatically in the filesystem.

After a couple minutes, you will see an output like below:

/dev/sda1: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
/dev/sda1: 497733/30531584 files (1.5% non-contiguous), ........

Now, type "reboot" and hit ENTER to restart your system!

(initramfs) reboot
Fix Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

Fix Busybox Initramfs Error On Ubuntu

Cross your fingers and wait for the system to reboot! If all went well, your system will boot normally without any problem.

Related read:

Featured image by ErfourisStudio from Pixabay.

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5 comments

Fred Fixit August 7, 2020 - 11:47 am

When this type of problem occurs, the sensible approach is to boot the system from a rescue CD/DVD/USB-memory stick with the same GNU/Linux distribution version and then first check hardware (dmesg shows for example whether hard disks are operational or producing failing messages) and then if they are properly functioning to fsck -CfV all of the [unmounted] file system partitions. If that does not fix the boot up problem, then it is possible from the rescue booted system to do further repairs and even to reinstall any essential corrupted software.

Reply
joacim September 6, 2020 - 12:15 am

thank you very much bro

Reply
Manohar September 10, 2020 - 12:43 pm

I got the same issue. I followed every instruction mentioned and came to the final step. I typed reboot and from then it was still showing wait for the system to reboot for almost 2 days…. What should I do now?
I have a dual boot in my laptop with windows and ubuntu

Reply
sk September 10, 2020 - 10:29 pm

Are you really waiting 2 days? Better boot your system with a live cd, backup your data and reinstall the OS. BTW, the solution posted here is tested with Ubuntu 20.04 GNOME desktop (DELL laptop). It worked perfectly in my case.

Reply
Vetrivel September 23, 2020 - 5:50 pm

Thank you SK.

I got my 32 bit Mint 19.3 back with all in their place, after following your instructions.

Reply

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