System Administration

Re: give root password for maintenance or press ctrl+d to continue

Occasional Contributor

give root password for maintenance or press ctrl+d to continue

Hi Team,


I have noticed few servers showing 'give root password for maintenance or press ctrl+d to continue" ! what is the reason behind of it. Please give me suggession as well as how should I resolve this error.

Honored Contributor

Re: give root password for maintenance or press ctrl+d to continue

Something is causing the early part of the system boot sequence to fail.

It might be:

  • a wrong or misconfigured disk controller driver (e.g. a kernel update gone wrong)
  • a hardware failure in a disk controller
  • a wrong root filesystem specification in the kernel command line (in the bootloader configuration file)
  • a damaged root filesystem
  • some other local filesystem that is listed in /etc/fstab is missing or damaged
  • a typo in /etc/fstab

If there are any error messages before the "give root password for maintenance" message, they might offer more information about the nature of the problem.


Enter the root password to login as root in single-user mode.

The first thing to check is: is the real root filesystem mounted and in read/write mode? If the contents of /etc, /bin and /sbin seem very limited, the system might still be running on initrd/initramfs. That would mean there is an issue that prevents the system from mounting the real root filesystem.


If the normal root filesystem is mounted but not writeable, you will usually need to run a manual file system check on the root filesystem. In this situation, the "mount" command can lie to you: it gets its list of mounted filesystems from /etc/mtab, and if the root filesystem is not writeable, the file obviously describes the filesystems that were mounted the last time the root filesystem *was* writeable, so the information is obsolete. You can always get up-to-date information by viewing /proc/mounts.


If the root filesystem is writeable, the next thing to check is /etc/fstab and all the local filesystems listed in it: if just some of them are not mounted, those filesystems probably have an issue. Try to mount them manually to see the error messages, and then proceed as necessary. If the failing filesystem is not essential to the OS, you might simply comment it out of /etc/fstab to let the system boot normally, and then troubleshoot in a fully functional OS environment.


Newer Linux distributions tend to have "cool" boot-time displays that hide or minimize the diagnostic messages. If you have no idea on what is going wrong, you might try rebooting the system, interrupting the automatic boot and removing any options like "splash", "rhgb" or "quiet" from the kernel command line. This should make the system output a lot of text while it's booting: almost all of it will normally be diagnostic messages, but knowing what happens just before the boot process stops might be useful in identifying the fault.