Borked install, locked out of root

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-06 23:40

Hello! I botched a Debian install by quitting the install process too early. Despite entering a root password during the part of the install I completed, that login no longer works. Booting Debian from BIOS now takes me directly to a root login that I cannot pass or exit. I also can’t boot to a Flash drive to reinstall without passing the root login. About the only thing I can do is exit to GRUB in the first few seconds of booting the BIOS. Is there a way to fresh reinstall or start over, maybe from GRUB? My machine appears to be bricked in the meantime. I’ve looked online but can’t find answers at least at my skill level. Thank you!! ❤️
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby FreewheelinFrank » 2021-04-07 05:26

Why can't you change the BIOS settings to boot from USB?
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby p.H » 2021-04-07 06:06

Baphy wrote:I botched a Debian install by quitting the install process too early. Despite entering a root password during the part of the install I completed, that login no longer works.

Indeed setting up the root and user accounts actually happens at the end of the installation.
Baphy wrote:I also can’t boot to a Flash drive to reinstall without passing the root login.

What do you mean ? You do not need any root password to boot a USB drive. Just use the BIOS boot menu or change the boot priority in the BIOS settings.

You can boot to a root shell without password by editing the GRUB entry (type 'e') and replacing "ro" with "rw init=/bin/bash" at the end of the "linux" line. Then you can set a root password with "passwd".
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-08 00:18

Thank you, I tried editing the GRUB entry.

I then got several parse/execution failed errors.
It then started loading /dev/sda2
It then stated - bash: cannot set terminal process group (-1): Inappropriate ioctl for device
bash: no job control in this shell
No caching mode page found
Assuming drive cache: write through

And then just stops at a blinking cursor.

I am guessing this may be a user permissions error, this is the best I can find (in Russian though): https://ubuntugeeks.com/questions/20526 ... job-contro

Thank you again for your help!
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby p.H » 2021-04-08 06:04

Baphy wrote:I then got several parse/execution failed errors.

ACPI errors ? Irrelevant.

Baphy wrote:bash: cannot set terminal process group (-1): Inappropriate ioctl for device

Harmless.

Baphy wrote:And then just stops at a blinking cursor.

I wrote:
p.H wrote:set a root password with "passwd".


Baphy wrote:I am guessing this may be a user permissions error

No.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-08 20:05

OK, thank you. Where do I enter passwd? I can't get to a command line after booting with the rw init=/bin/bash added, just blinking cursor. Does it go in the setparams file - what is the syntax please?

Thank you again!
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-08 20:17

OK doing my best to work through this. Realized I needed to go through rescue mode. Here's my current steps:

1. Boot into BIOS
2. Navigate to Debian 10 rescue mode
3. 'e' to edit parameters; change 'ro' to 'rw init=/bin/bash/' (it still says "single" after)
4. F10 to boot
5. It then proceeds to boot, but then tells me "Cannot open access to console, the root account is locked." Can't get to command line to enter passwd.

Ideally I just want to be able to boot to a USB to do a fresh reinstall. Maybe there's a workaround to do that.

Pardon my ignorance, and thank you again for your help.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby p.H » 2021-04-08 21:20

Baphy wrote:Where do I enter passwd?

At the blinking cursor after the prompt root@(none):/#. If you do not see the prompt, pressing the "enter" key alone should print it.

Baphy wrote:Realized I needed to go through rescue mode

No, you don't need to go through rescue mode. It won't help. It won't work without a root password.

Baphy wrote:change 'ro' to 'rw init=/bin/bash/'

No trailing /. Just /bin/bash

Baphy wrote:I just want to be able to boot to a USB to do a fresh reinstall.

You must select the USB drive in the BIOS boot menu.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-08 21:56

At the blinking cursor after the prompt root@(none):/#. If you do not see the prompt, pressing the "enter" key alone should print it.

This shows up, but it immediately gets blasted past to "No Caching mode page found / Assuming drive cache: Write through". It is going to [sdb] here.

You must select the USB drive in the BIOS boot menu.

Kind of the issue... it never even shows up. :( I just double checked that the USB media is correct, as well.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby p.H » 2021-04-09 05:08

Baphy wrote:This shows up, but it immediately gets blasted past to "No Caching mode page found / Assuming drive cache: Write through".

This is just an asynchronous unrelated and harmless kernel message. Press Enter to get a new prompt if you need to.

Baphy wrote:it never even shows up.

What does never show up ? The boot menu or the USB drive in the boot menu ?
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby FreewheelinFrank » 2021-04-09 07:47

What make and model of computer are you trying to install on exactly?
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-09 09:53

I can’t get to a new prompt by pressing enter. It stays at a blinking cursor and I can’t input anything.

The boot menu shows up fine, but no external USB drive is listed.

I’m trying to install on a 2015 iMac.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby FreewheelinFrank » 2021-04-09 10:07

Is it possible you also borked the USB drive when you interrupted the installation? Do you have access to another computer to test it?

Edit: It looks like Apple don't use a conventional BIOS, so you might be stuck at some sort of EFI firmware password which Apple seem to use. Outside my experience, but somebody familiar with Apples should be able to help.
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-09 11:03

I considered that, so I re flashed the drive. No dice. Weird Apple BIOS seems likely as it’s not responding in the manner suggested above. Would be great if somebody more familiar with Apple BIOS knows more?
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Re: Borked install, locked out of root

Postby Baphy » 2021-04-09 11:06

Aha, it appears Apple used Open Firmware instead of BIOS, if that helps: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/enter-b ... 31823.html
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