Linux Mint initramfs Prompt at Boot

Linux Mint initramfs prompt appears after booting computer. A BusyBox Ubuntu built-in shell (ash) screen with initramfs prompt displays after switching on Linux Mint PC as shown in the image below. The computer does not boot up properly and instead of going straight to the login screen, drops through to a initramfs command line prompt.

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt
Linux Mint initramfs Prompt

The BusyBox initramfs prompt suggests entering ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands. When help is entered, the commands are listed as shown in the above image.

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt at Boot Problem

The problem described above has happened to me twice, both on Linux Mint 18.3 computers. Both times it happened after upgrading the Linux kernel using the Linux Mint Update Manager. Firstly it occurred on a dedicated Linux Mint laptop and then again on Linux Mint 18.3 MATE (Sylvia) running in a virtual machine using VMware Workstation 14 Player (the free for home user version of VMware Player). I decided to blog the solution so that I would have quick access to it if it happens again. I hope that it helps you too.

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt Solution

The solution below works when Linux Mint 18.3 drops through to the (initramfs) prompt after updating the Linux kernel. There may be other instances where it does not work. Three commands must be run at the BusyBox command prompt.

1. Run the exit Command

First enter exit at the initramfs prompt.

(initramfs) exit

After typing exit and pressing the Enter key, the following appears at the prompt. The information displayed will be different for different computers.

BusyBox initramfs Prompt after exit Command
BusyBox initramfs Prompt after exit Command

Take note of the path of the file system from the above image and shown below. Your root file system name will probably be different, so use the information displayed on your system, which is used in the next command.

The root filesystem on /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root requires a manual fsck

2. Run the fsck Command

Use the fsck command with the file system path determined above. This is in the following format.

fsck <your file system path> -y

For the above example this is entered at the initramfs prompt as shown below. Be sure to use your file system path as determined above instead and end with the -y switch.

fsck /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root -y

When the fsck command runs after entering it as above, it fixes the system. Text scrolls on the screen while it is busy.

3. Run the reboot Command

Finally enter the reboot command at the (initramfs) command prompt.

reboot

This reboots the computer to the Linux Mint login prompt. Everything should now be working properly again.

75 thoughts on “Linux Mint initramfs Prompt at Boot”

  1. Linux mint 18.3; same problem:
    After pressing exit, I get a sort of “track” and no URL containing and /dev items; I also get a lot of IRQ’s in this list
    Also this command “fsck” does not work AT ALL.. and it is not in my list of initramfs commands.. and I cannot see it in your displayed list of initramfs commands; how do you make it work then?

    1. fsck isn’t one of the listed commands, that’s normal and you can still use it. If you can use the “fdisk -l” command you will be able to locate all your partitions and use fsck on them. If you can’t use this command then you can try it blindly by typing “fsck -y /dev/sda1”. fsck will know if your partition is the one used by your system and repair it himself (don’t worry it can’t damage a partition unused by the system)

      1. I have the same problem, it’s not that fsck is not listed, it’s not recognized, I get fsck:not found message every time I try to use it

  2. Could someone please help with Linux Mint 17.3. this wont work. when I type exit it freezes the machine at command saying not synching , attempted to kill init.

  3. Thanks a lot, this work for me in Linux Mint 19 on a notebook HP Pavillon with dual boot with Windows 10. But this problem appears ever that I run Windows and then I try to run Linux. Someone knows how to solve the problem forever?

  4. This is very odd thing, happened like 5 times to me since i updated to latest Mint.
    I left my pc online for night, and on the morning every update mentioned system is in “read-only” mode. Seems the system screws itself up.

  5. Worked fine for me at Tara… 🙂
    It occurred just after resize the disk and try to intall nvida propietary driver.

  6. In Mint 18.3 Xfce – for the last command in step 2 – I had to use the line format “fsck /dev/mapper” instead – then it worked. Otherwise I would get a “directory not found” error.

    1. This happens every time there’s an update on my laptop. I wish someone would fix it!
      Now it doesn’t recognize my log in also!

  7. Thank you, it worked for Linux mint 19.1

    The issue came up while the battery drained, shut down and i tried to boot after plugging to the power source.

  8. In my case, I had installed a custom kernel build, which had nvme support turned off. It seems that `make localmodconfig` wasn’t enabling it for some reason. When grub would tell the kernel what device to use as the root, it didn’t know how to communicate to nvme devices, so none were visible.

  9. Initframs appears in Mint with BIOS problem . Bios has some malfunction, after load and save BIOS defaults and type this solution, everything work fine. Thanks

  10. PERFECT!!!
    Thank you so much. Need to do this approx weekly on my Tessa system, as the filesystem suddenly becomes readonly. Rebooting (back to the prompt, then exit, fsck as described here) is the ONLY solution.

  11. Had to prefix “exec” to run the fsck command. A friendly request: could you kindly delete all the thank-yous and useless works-for-me-toos that are cluttering the comments?

  12. Thanks! Partially solved.
    After rebooting, comes no irq handling for work…
    It boots very slowly.
    What does it mean?

  13. I can’t actually type anything when I get to the initramfs prompt. If I type help, nothing shows on screen, when I press enter nothing else shows.

    If I type exit, nothing happens. It doesn’t show exit when I type it, and when I press enter, nothing happens.

    I have NOT encrypted my system, but I did encrypt my home directory.

    Could it be related to an encrypted home directory?

    1. As far as I remember, my home directory was encrypted when I recovered my system using this method.

  14. it’s perfect solution. Within a minute the problem is solved and am using my computer again without loosing any of my files or apps. Thanks

  15. Hi ,Thanks .
    Nice .. but Had the same error with a Buss Error as well.
    after messing with no success on the software .
    I looked on the M/B for loose connections etc..
    Bad Cap on the video card shorting one buss line.. Replaced the cap. and oiled & cleaned the fan.
    The old girl booted back up if nothing had happened.
    Thanks for the post it Help locate the problem. It might help those other that it also did not work for.
    Tip check all the hard drive plugs etc they do work lose /heat vibration / Kids..

  16. Hi, just a note to thank you.

    Happened to a friend who just installed Linux Mint 19.3 on her old laptop. Solution worked perfectly.

  17. Thank you your solution worked!
    I ran:
    fsck /dev/mapper/mint–vg-root -y

    It fixed the corrupted files and that’s a lifesave during this pandemic lock-down 🙂

  18. Thanks so much. Was getting the same issue and this was a great help in solving my issue.

    1. I’m not sure how to prevent it. I happened to me with a specific version of Linux Mint. I haven’t had the problem since.

  19. It happened to me when I killed my VM (Ubuntu 20.04) midway without saving the session. Nothing (fsck ..) worked for me. Reinstalled the whole thing including all the missing packages.

  20. Thank you, it very useful for me so now I can continue my thesis work that deadline on next week.
    U save my life

  21. I worked for me !! My LMDE 4 cinnamon 64 bits VM on virtualbox did not shut down properly and was always rebooting with the (initramfs) prompt.

    Thanks for the help.

  22. Hi there! It worked perfectly on my computer, I have Linux Mint 19.1. You have to wait I while after tipe the /dev file to fix it, to reboot the computer. And there a had to wait another time, while the computer re started. But it works, thanks

  23. I had tried several other fixes, which did not work. I had to fuss around a bit with the file name, but finally got it right and my computer under Linux Mint 19.3 works fine again. Thanks a lot for your straightforward and efficient explanation. I printed it out for next time…

  24. A friend of mine had this problem on Linux Mint 19 on an Asus G55V laptop, this fixed it! It’s weird though that fsck doesn’t run automatically on mint. Anyway, thanks, your article helped a lot!

  25. Thank goodness! I tried so many walkthroughs that tried to do the same thing with so many more steps that didnt end up working. with id found this my first 2 times before just giving up and reformatting. your the best!!!

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