Monday Sep 07, 2009

Recovering /etc/name_to_major

What do you do if you manage to delete or corrupt /etc/name_to_major? Assuming you don't have a backup a ZFS snapshot or an alternative boot environment, in which case you probably are in the wrong job, you would appear to be in trouble.

First thing is not to panic. Do not reboot the system. If you do that it won't boot and your day has just got a whole lot worse. The data needed to rebuild /etc/name_to_major is in the running kernel so it can be rebuilt from that. If your system an x86 system it is also in the boot archive.

However if you have no boot archive or have over written it with the bad name_to_system this script will extract it from the kernel, all be it slowly:

#!/bin/ksh
i=0
while ((i < 1000 ))
do
print "0t$i::major2name" | mdb -k | read x && echo $x $i
let i=i+1 
done

1Redirect that into a file then move the remains of your /etc/name_to_major out of the way and copy the file in place.

Next time make sure you have a back up or snapshot or alternative boot environment!

1You will see lots of errors of the form “mdb: failed to convert major number to name” these are to be expected. They can be limited to just one by adding “|| break” to the mdb line but that assumes that you have no holes in the major number listings which you may have if you have removed a device, so best to not risk that.

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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