This brief guide explains how to fix Busybox Initramfs error on Ubuntu Linux. I am using 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
As far as I can remember, I did nothing wrong. I didn't forcibly power off the system. 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 about 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)
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, you need to check and repair the problematic Linux filesystems with
Please note that sometimes you don't see any errors after typing the
exit command. In that case, try to run
fsck on all filesystems.
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 Linux
1. To solve
initramfs error on Ubuntu Linux, you need to repair the filesystem in the corrupted partition using
fsck command like below:
(initramfs) fsck /dev/sda1 -y
/dev/sda1 with your partition name. In your system, it could be
/dev/sdc1 etc. You can use
cat /proc/partitions or
lsblk commands to get your Linux partition details in Busybox. Refer this guide to list disk partitions in Linux.
2. Now the
fsck command 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), ........
3. Next, type
reboot and hit
ENTER to restart your system!
reboot command doesn't work, type
exit and hit
Cross your fingers and wait for the system to reboot! If all went well, your system will boot normally without any problem.
These steps helped me and many others (see the comment section below) to solve Busybox Initramfs error on Ubuntu Linux operating system. If you are stuck in initramfs prompt, this guide will definitely help to fix initramfs error in Ubuntu.
Heads Up: If you keep getting this error often, probably your hard disk is getting weaker. In that case, it is recommended to backup the data and replace the hard disk as soon as possible.
What If I can't Fix It From Busybox Shell? Try Rescue Mode
One of the user has commented that he/she can't type anything in the initramfs prompt. In that case, please boot into the rescue mode and try to repair the filesystem. The following guide explains how to boot in to rescue mode in Ubuntu.
If your Ubuntu system is crashed due to power failure or network connectivity issue in the middle of the upgrade process, you might end up with broken Ubuntu. In that case, you can easily fix broken Ubuntu without reinstalling it as described in the following guide.