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It seems that I have added incorrect record to /etc/fstab:

//servername/share    /mnt/share    cifs     defaults,username=myuser     0 0

When I did mount -a, it asked user password to mount network share. It seems that it cannot proceed without password on boot, so it is just hung.

How can I fix fstab to prevent boot failure?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

It seems that I've found a solution:

  • at the grub prompt, hit a to append options
  • add init=/bin/bash to the end of the kernel command line and press enter

The system will boot to a prompt like 'bash-3.2#' enter the following commands at the prompt

  • mount -o remount,rw /
  • vim /etc/fstab

edit the fstab file commenting the errors by adding a # at the begining of each problematic line, save the file

  • reboot by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL
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How about removing the entry, creating a snapshot and then trying to change your /etc/fstab so you have a working snapshot you can roll back to?

According to the manpage mount.cifs you can also specify a password via password=arg. Also, according to that manpage there is no argument username=arg but instead user=arg. But it might be different on your system, better check your manpage for the correct argument names.

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man for the win. – Tim Jul 26 '12 at 13:22
I was about to create snapshot, but while I was experimenting with fstab, vm instance went off for some reason. Apparently, I wouldn't ask the question if I could fix it myself. – altern Jul 26 '12 at 13:31
Your problem description is a little bit unclear. Can't you boot in single user / recovery mode? It should only try to mount the root fs and leave the fstab alone. – scai Jul 26 '12 at 13:54

The other easy way is booting to live-cd mode and mount the right partition. Then you can fix anything you want!

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