Linux Kernel panic VFS Unable to mount root fs and solution

Posted on in Categories , last updated March 13, 2008

Q. I am using Linux on HP server and I am getting error that read as follows:
Linux Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs

How do I solve this problem?

A. Most modern distributions including Debian uses loadable kernel module for ext3 file system. So to read ext3/ext2 file system kernel must load ext3 kernel module (ext3.ko).

This module is included in an initrd image. If an initrd image is missing or that image does not include suitable kernel modules to access the ext3 filesystem on the partition, an error message (Linux Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs) will be displayed to you.

To solve this problem you need to use mkinitrd script that constructs a directory structure that can serve as an initrd root file system.

The instructions for creating initrd images are here on our site.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

6 comment

  1. Most modern distributions including Debian uses loadable kernel module for ext3 file system. So to read ext3/ext2 file system kernel must load ext3 kernel module (ext3.ko).

    Would building ext2/ext3 into the kernel suffice? I have been trying to solve the problem by building everything needed for bootup into the kernel. If that is feasible in principle, how would I determine everything that needs to be built-in. This is on an Aspire 5720.

  2. I’ve a little stupid question about. How do you take the console when is not possible load the virtual machine? I’ve the topic problem after actualize the kernel (I can’t sure.. but it happen after upgrade) and one time can rescue, then was (and remain been) impossible loader again. I’m back (happy) when it resolved..

  3. Your hint helped me a lot! I was trying to run a RTLinux kernel but this message was being shown at boot time, along with a ‘kernel panic’. I re-made my kernel again, adding support for Reiser file systems, and that finally worked perfect. Thanks!

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