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#1 2017-06-08 16:58:12

Registered: 2017-06-08
Posts: 16  

Migrating Debian Jessie VPS Enter Runlevel Error

I recently migrated my second Debian Jessie VPS to Devuan Jessie following the guide here … -to-Devuan. The first time I migrated a VPS I did not have any trouble. A few months later, I tried a 2nd VPS and after I reboot, I got an error from the console asking me to Enter Runlevel. No run level entries, from 0 to 5 work.

In my case the error was due to missing or blank /etc/inittab file. I re-imaged debian jessie to VPS, and checked the default. Sure enough, /etc/inittab was blank. I added one from another Devuan install, and then did the migration again. The migration worked.

I'm not sure why the hosting company decided to remove /etc/inittab. But after replacing it, the migration to devuan worked.

give a man an init, he takes an os


#2 2020-02-10 18:35:12

Registered: 2017-06-08
Posts: 16  

Re: Migrating Debian Jessie VPS Enter Runlevel Error

I found another VPS with the missing inittab on Jessie. It's still a trap. I'll post an inittab below, for future reference.

# /etc/inittab: init(8) configuration.

# The default runlevel.

# Boot-time system configuration/initialization script.
# This is run first except when booting in emergency (-b) mode.

# What to do in single-user mode.

# /etc/init.d executes the S and K scripts upon change
# of runlevel.
# Runlevel 0 is halt.
# Runlevel 1 is single-user.
# Runlevels 2-5 are multi-user.
# Runlevel 6 is reboot.

l0:0:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 0
l1:1:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 1
l2:2:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 2
l3:3:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 3
l4:4:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 4
l5:5:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 5
l6:6:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 6
# Normally not reached, but fallthrough in case of emergency.

# What to do when CTRL-ALT-DEL is pressed.
ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now

# Action on special keypress (ALT-UpArrow).
#kb::kbrequest:/bin/echo "Keyboard Request--edit /etc/inittab to let this work."

# What to do when the power fails/returns.
pf::powerwait:/etc/init.d/powerfail start
pn::powerfailnow:/etc/init.d/powerfail now
po::powerokwait:/etc/init.d/powerfail stop

# /sbin/getty invocations for the runlevels.
# The "id" field MUST be the same as the last
# characters of the device (after "tty").
# Format:
#  <id>:<runlevels>:<action>:<process>
# Note that on most Debian systems tty7 is used by the X Window System,
# so if you want to add more getty's go ahead but skip tty7 if you run X.
1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1
2:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty2
3:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty3
4:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty4
5:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty5
6:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty6

# Example how to put a getty on a serial line (for a terminal)
#T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 9600 vt100
#T1:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS1 9600 vt100

# Example how to put a getty on a modem line.
#T3:23:respawn:/sbin/mgetty -x0 -s 57600 ttyS3

The instructions I used to migrate Jessie to Ascii are here: … uan_jessie

If a user reboots before adding the inittab, the VPS will not boot.

Last edited by little (2020-02-10 18:39:39)

give a man an init, he takes an os


#3 2020-02-10 21:34:05

Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,626  

Re: Migrating Debian Jessie VPS Enter Runlevel Error

If you (or someone else) needs to pull the file from the internet, I keep a copy here - … tab.debian


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