Manjaro refuses to boot unless a specific drive is removed from fstab

I’ve ran into my first major issue since switching to Manjaro and narrowly escaped having to do a full reinstall. Initially I thought this was caused by a systemd update as it started happening just as I installed one (248.3-2 to 248.3-3): I downgraded back to the previous version using packages in cache and noticed the issue persisted, meaning this update shouldn’t have been the cause.

The issue: It boots fine and passes the splash screen… I even see my webcam flickering on and off like my system has the habit of doing before the login screen appears. But just before the login screen (SDDM) is meant to show up, the system decides to freeze in place: I see the β€œclean blocks” line at the top of the screen forever and the menu to type my password never comes. Hitting Control + Alt + F2 does nothing either, hence why I had to boot the live image and chroot into the system to attempt repairs. During this time the red led (busy HDD) is constantly on.

Through sheer luck I found the trigger: The system is suddenly no longer okay with one of my hard drives being included in fstab, I can boot fine once I comment out its fstab line. The drive in cause is NOT broken: I can mount it perfectly fine on the live medium, as well as the normal installation by using mount /dev/sdx1 /mypath: It mounts without delay, there are no errors at all, all data on it is intact. It simply doesn’t want it to be mounted via fstab any more! At the moment I’m stuck having to manually use this command whenever the system starts up.

To explain my drive setup a bit: I have 3 hard drives. One is a NVME containing the root partition and efi partition. The other is a SATA3 SSD containing the /home partition. The third is a SATA3 HDD containing auxiliary data I don’t feel comfortable keeping on an SSD, mounted as /archive… this is the one the system now refuses to boot with. Here’s my /etc/fstab with just the disk UID’s and multiple spaces edited out, the problematic drive is the one commented out:

UUID=0001 / ext4 defaults 0 1
UUID=0002 /boot/efi vfat defaults 0 2
UUID=0003 /home ext4 defaults 0 2
# UUID=0004 /archive ext4 defaults 0 2
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime 0 0

Hi @MirceaKitsune

Is there a systemd unit for that mount point?
If so, what’s the output of systemctl status?

the drive is probably taking to long to spin up/not ready.

it’s never a good idea to use fstab for that, if it’s mounted it can still be damaged. you should set up a script/icon.desktop to mount as needed or just plug it in when you want to use, it will automount.

i use a hub with power buttons for each usb slot & just press the button for the drive i want to use, after in done i unmount & turn it off.

it’s safe practice to keep separate from the running os anything important, that’s why you don’t keep backups on the same system.

you can add in options nofail,noauto

UUID=0004 /archive ext4 defaults,nofail,noauto 0 2
1 Like

systemd unit for a drive? Here’s the output for sudo systemctl status > ./file.txt… it’s after I booted without the drive in fstab but mounted it manually, as I cannot use the machine otherwise.

And this drive is meant to be permanently mounted: It’s still used by system components and applications constantly. I have external drives for the purpose of casual backups, this isn’t the case: Without this drive mounted I may not even be able to normally log in and applications may cause errors.

Thanks for the nofail and noauto suggestion: If nothing else comes up I’ll try with those. noauto is only useful to test however: Like I said this drive does need to be mounted 24/7 for applications to work.

● linux-qz0r
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    Since: Tue 2021-06-15 23:57:09 EEST; 1h 15min ago
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           β”‚     β”œβ”€ 6440 /opt/discord/Discord --type=renderer --autoplay-policy=no-user-gesture-required --field-trial-handle=14750423392346471242,10975558144494529423,131072 --enable-features=WebComponentsV0Enabled --disable-features=SpareRendererForSitePerProcess --lang=en-US --enable-crash-reporter=3d8b7aa6-dcaa-4d11-bc27-f22a39955c7d,no_channel --global-crash-keys=3d8b7aa6-dcaa-4d11-bc27-f22a39955c7d,no_channel,_companyName=Discord Inc.,_productName=Discord,_version=0.0.15 --app-path=/opt/discord/resources/app.asar --no-sandbox --no-zygote --native-window-open --preload=/home/mircea/.config/discord/0.0.15/modules/discord_desktop_core/core.asar/app/mainScreenPreload.js --context-isolation --background-color=#202225 --enable-spellcheck --enable-websql --num-raster-threads=4 --enable-main-frame-before-activation --renderer-client-id=7 --no-v8-untrusted-code-mitigations --shared-files=v8_snapshot_data:100 --enable-node-leakage-in-renderers
           β”‚     β”œβ”€ 6643 /opt/discord/Discord --type=utility --field-trial-handle=14750423392346471242,10975558144494529423,131072 --enable-features=WebComponentsV0Enabled --disable-features=SpareRendererForSitePerProcess --lang=en-US --service-sandbox-type=audio --enable-crash-reporter=3d8b7aa6-dcaa-4d11-bc27-f22a39955c7d,no_channel --global-crash-keys=3d8b7aa6-dcaa-4d11-bc27-f22a39955c7d,no_channel,_companyName=Discord Inc.,_productName=Discord,_version=0.0.15 --shared-files=v8_snapshot_data:100
           β”‚     β”œβ”€ 8100 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/kded5dUlVbm.1.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€ 8101 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/kded5fNsmLR.2.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€ 9418 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/ksystemstatsebRFrV.4.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28634 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinhvNzTz.25.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28635 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinenGGcW.26.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28636 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphingPGWeJ.27.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28637 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinmuZRnk.28.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28638 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinspNqKV.29.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28678 [kdeinit5] tags local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinbCFyfC.1.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28679 [kdeinit5] trash local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinnFgDNf.2.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28680 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinMLuKWD.3.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28683 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinqpIUwT.4.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28684 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinBKrqhl.5.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28685 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinnjZOGX.6.slave-socket
           β”‚     β”œβ”€28686 [kdeinit5] file local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinpiSGLr.7.slave-socket
           β”‚     └─28687 [kdeinit5] thumbnail local:/run/user/1000/klauncherWwIYiP.1.slave-socket local:/run/user/1000/dolphinYbaWsn.9.slave-socket
           β”‚ └─1 /sbin/init
             β”‚ └─372 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-udevd
             β”‚ └─575 /usr/bin/crond -n
             β”‚ └─578 /usr/lib/polkit-1/polkitd --no-debug
             β”‚ └─3529 /usr/lib/rtkit-daemon
             β”‚ └─1290 /usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd
             β”‚ └─605 /usr/bin/ModemManager
             β”‚ └─344 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-journald
             β”‚ └─709 sshd: /usr/bin/sshd -D [listener] 0 of 10-100 startups
             β”‚ └─717 /usr/lib/colord
             β”‚ └─704 /usr/bin/NetworkManager --no-daemon
             β”‚ └─606 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/firewalld --nofork --nopid
             β”‚ └─708 /usr/bin/cupsd -l
             β”‚ └─1280 /usr/lib/upowerd
             β”‚ β”œβ”€712 /usr/bin/sddm
             β”‚ └─917 /usr/lib/Xorg -nolisten tcp -background none -seat seat0 vt1 -auth /var/run/sddm/{52470b58-e00a-45d5-8765-9573ac77ce34} -noreset -displayfd 17
             β”‚ └─1257 /usr/lib/udisks2/udisksd
             β”‚ └─576 /usr/bin/dbus-daemon --system --address=systemd: --nofork --nopidfile --systemd-activation --syslog-only
             β”‚ └─570 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-timesyncd
             β”‚ └─getty@tty2.service 
             β”‚   └─1621 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --noclear tty2 linux
             β”‚ β”œβ”€574 avahi-daemon: running [linux-qz0r.local]
             β”‚ └─582 avahi-daemon: chroot helper
               └─580 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-logind

Yes, systemd actually handles the mounting of mount points. Actually, it translates the contents of fstab and mounts whatever you have there.

See an example below:

~ >>> sudo systemctl status tmp.mount                                                                                                                                                                               
● tmp.mount - Temporary Directory (/tmp)
     Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/tmp.mount; static)
     Active: active (mounted) since Tue 2021-06-15 15:21:40 CDT; 1h 31min ago
      Where: /tmp
       What: tmpfs
      Tasks: 0 (limit: 19019)
     Memory: 4.0K
        CPU: 1ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/tmp.mount

Jun 15 15:21:40 manjaro-unstable systemd[1]: Mounting Temporary Directory (/tmp)...
Jun 15 15:21:40 manjaro-unstable systemd[1]: Mounted Temporary Directory (/tmp).
1 Like

yes, systemd use systemd-fstab-generator
results are in /run/systemd/generator/

cat /run/systemd/generator/-.mount 
# Automatically generated by systemd-fstab-generator

Documentation=man:fstab(5) man:systemd-fstab-generator(8)



Exists also udev rules for mount

1 Like

Thanks, I can see files in there for each drive except the removed one. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to extract info from the system as the issue happens, it appears to become completely frozen during this time (not even Control + Alt + F2 will switch consoles): I can only boot with the entry removed from fstab to use the system, and in this case it doesn’t record a failure of course.

Going to see if at least using nofail + noauto works: Was just updating my bootable USB stick to the latest version of Manjaro so I can be prepared for every possibility.

I think you can also try leaving the entry commented out on fstab and adding a systemd unit manually as per the guide below by @linux-aarhus. (@papajoke already sent you this on his post above).

Confirming there are no issues with defaults,nofail,noauto, I can safely re-enable the drive this way. Of course I still need to Control + Alt + F2 after boot to issue the mount command, then Control + Alt + F1 to get back to the normal session and login. Once more no problems nor errors reported when mounting, as long as it’s done manually and not by fstab.

I find this highly bizarre considering I had no issues for weeks since I use Manjaro, including in the latest Manjaro snapshot which booted just fine. It started happening after an update to just systemd today, but like I said I reverted it and even on the older systemd it does the same. What could change on its own to start causing such behavior?

Update: It appears that with the new fstab line that doesn’t freeze the system, a /run/systemd/generator/archive.mount is now being generated as well. Here are its contents in case they may indicate anything of importance.

# Automatically generated by systemd-fstab-generator

Documentation=man:fstab(5) man:systemd-fstab-generator(8)


Trying to think of what may be causing this. I wonder if it could be due to some scheduled job that ends up blocking the machine, such as a fsck check which is the most common. It would be odd given my restart before the issue was perfectly clean, whereas this didn’t happen even after power loss when I had a hard reboot. But just to be safe, how do I check for potential scheduled jobs on auto-mount and remove if there is one?

Well, I’m wondering if you’re another victim of the ongoing issues reported mostly on the stable branch.

Check this out:

I guess you need to provide more information so you get proper assistance from somebody else within the community. (Have you ever seen this before, btw?) :wink:

That’s helpful to be aware of, thanks. The problem there is I’m not on kernel 4.19, the 4.x series is ancient by now. I tried booting two kernels, both producing this issue: 5.11.22 and 5.12.9 (default). Are they sure it’s only kernel 4.19 and this couldn’t happen in the latest stable (5.12) branch too?

I provide what information is needed when I can, granted I know what that is. The problem here again is that it’s a freeze, I can’t extract information from a system while it’s blocked: If I at least had access to an alternate runlevel I could output a command to a file, not even that works here.

Hey @MirceaKitsune

Thanks for reporting back on this. I also noticed you posted on the announcement thread about this :slightly_smiling_face:

On second thought, I just want to give you a few more of ideas on things to try:

What happens if you disable fsck checking by making the last field 0 (rather than 2) on the fstab entry?

You might want also to take a look at the β€œTips and tricks” section in the fstab article on Arch Wiki

If that does not help, I still think the systemd unit is a good idea just to rule out/bypass the fstab generator thing.


It seems I finally cracked the mystery behind what was happening and everything has been resolved! Turns out it was a heavy fsck check after all.

I first removed noauto and also set the last parameter from 2 to 0: System booted immediately without issue. I then reverted the pass parameter to 2 and restarted: The system booted again, however I noticed the red HDD led was still constantly on this time. I logged in and was surprised to see that my drive wasn’t mounted… waited about 5 minutes after this, then as the busy led turned off my partition was mounted automatically. I restarted after that and this time everything went perfect.

I assume that if I’d have given my machine more time when the issue first occurred it would have finished booting… when I noticed it was stuck for one minute I panicked and concluded something must have permanently broken. The drive in cause is 4 TB large and half of it is used, it’s a large drive so it makes sense for fsck to take a bit of time with it.

To prevent further failed boots I permanently set both /home and /archive to nofail: I may get issues logging in this way, but I can still login as root and debug if I ever have any such problems in the future. Another good Linux lesson learned today.

Glad to hear that! :slightly_smiling_face:

There seems to be a harmless side effect still lingering since this: Every time I restart, I see the error message β€œcouldn’t unmount /archive” in the black console after the DE shuts down. Restarting occurs fine however, the drive is mounted accordingly once the system starts back up.

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