This HowTo is part of a collection of simple commands and small scripts to get things done under Linux. Straight to the point, it serves as an aide-memoire for us and saves you the time of trawling through endless, confusing, and incomplete threads in discussion forums.

How to solve the init I/O error
Sometimes when starting up a Linux system it will hang during the boot process with the error: "INIT: open(/dev/console): Input/output error".
The problem can arise out of the blue and also disappear all of a sudden. Because of the phrasing of the error message one is inclined to think there is a software problem related to /dev/console. In fact, the problem is usually related to the hardware.
To solve the problem follow this check list:

  1. check the health of your hard disk. It may be reaching end-of-life and show that by (intermittently) outputting corrupt data.

  2. check your computer supply voltages. Are they correct and stable?

  3. check whether any (newly installed) boards aren't drawing more power than the supply can handle. Be aware that the power consumption is dependent on the activity of the boards, so a one-time voltage/current measurement is not enough.

  4. If you encounter the problem when running a live-CD/DVD distro, then run an md5 checksum on your CD/DVD. Most likely the CD/DVD was not burned correctly, or it was damaged after burning, or your CD/DVD burner is dodgy. Due to the data compression on live-CD/DVDs the problem is much more likely to occur in this situation than when running a normal install on HD.

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Last update: 2013-06-02 (c) KerberiX.com, all rights reserved