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Rebooting from a faulty kernel

Reviewed on 18 December 2023Published on 23 November 2022

Rescue mode allows you to boot your Instance into a temporary operating system, running from the Instance’s RAM. Rescue mode is often used to diagnose and resolve issues such as faulty kernel configurations, networking issues, firewall configurations, and more.

  • You have an account and are logged into the Scaleway console
  • You have created an Instance
  • You have installed and configured the Scaleway CLI-Tools on your local computer
  1. Switch the Instance’s boot-type to rescue and reboot your Instance into rescue mode using the CLI-Tools:
    scw instance server update {Instance_ID} boot-type=rescue
    scw instance server reboot {Instance_ID}

    Replace {Instance_ID} with the unique ID of your Instance, e.g. 0500ebd2-d70d-49af-a969-3ac09b6f7fff.

  2. Once the Instance is rebooted, log into your Instance using SSH and set up the environment to be able to chroot into it:
    cat /proc/partitions
    major minor #blocks name
    8 0 9765625 sda
    8 1 9634536 sda1
    8 14 3072 sda14
    8 15 126976 sda15
    Then mount the partitions:
    mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
    mount /dev/sda15 /mnt/boot/efi
    mount -o bind /sys /mnt/sys
    mount -o bind /proc /mnt/proc
    mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
  3. Once mounted, use the chroot command to get into your Instances’ root filesystem. You can then change the GRUB_DEFAULT value to boot using the previous kernel:
    chroot /mnt
    nano /etc/default/grub

    In the example above, we use nano as text editor. Feel free to use your favorite text editor to edit the file.

    Change the value of GRUB_DEFAULT to `“1 > 2”:
    # head /etc/default/grub
    # If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterward to update
    # /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
    # For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
    # info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'
    GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200 earlyprintk=ttyS0,115200 consoleblank=0"
    Save the file and exit the text editor.
  4. Update the grub boatloader` to apply the kernel’s update
    # update-grub
    Generating grub configuration file ...
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-6.0.0-0.deb11.2-cloud-amd64
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-6.0.0-0.deb11.2-cloud-amd64
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-5.19.0-0.deb11.2-cloud-amd64
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-5.19.0-0.deb11.2-cloud-amd64
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-5.10.0-19-cloud-amd64
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-5.10.0-19-cloud-amd64
  5. Switch back the Instance’s boot_type to local and reboot the Instance:
    scw instance server update {Instance_ID} boot-type=local
    scw instance server reboot {Instance_ID}
    Your Instance reboots on the previously installed kernel.

Examples of failed boots

  • In the following example, the Instance may only boot with the root filesystem in read-only mode:
    [ OK ] Finished Remove Stale Onli…ext4 Metadata Check Snapshots.
    [ 4.219158] cloud-init[542]: Traceback (most recent call last):
    [ 4.220328] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/bin/cloud-init", line 33, in <module>
    [ 4.221518] cloud-init[542]: sys.exit(load_entry_point('cloud-init==20.4.1', 'console_scripts', 'cloud-init')())
    [ 4.223064] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/cmd/", line 891, in main
    [ 4.224435] cloud-init[542]: retval = util.log_time(
    [ 4.225251] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/", line 2348, in log_time
    [ 4.226838] cloud-init[542]: ret = func(*args, **kwargs)
    [ 4.227743] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/cmd/", line 600, in status_wrapper
    [ 4.229478] cloud-init[542]: util.ensure_dirs((data_d, link_d,))
    [ 4.230501] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/", line 1534, in ensure_dirs
    [ 4.232014] cloud-init[542]: ensure_dir(d, mode)
    [ 4.232540] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/", line 1591, in ensure_dir
    [ 4.233980] cloud-init[542]: chmod(path, mode)
    [ 4.234756] cloud-init[542]: File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/cloudinit/", line 1830, in chmod
    [ 4.235672] cloud-init[542]: os.chmod(path, real_mode)
    [ 4.236227] cloud-init[542]: OSError: [Errno 30] Read-only file system: '/var/lib/cloud/data'
    [FAILED] Failed to start Apply the …ngs specified in cloud-config.
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