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.

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.

2. Run the fsck Command

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

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.

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.

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

25 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. Thanks.This makes sense and we’ll explained.I wish all post were like this.I was about to go to sleep about 3AM and decided to give it a go.I messed mine up trying to change it to android
      Thanks again.

  2. Bam! This is just what I needed! I haven’t seen this problem before. Looks like there were some corrupted files and directories.

  3. You are a life-saver. Been battling with this for weeks, even did a few installs from scratch, but got the same result each time. Five stars to you.

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