I muffed up my graphics card driver and/or xconfig files and decided to just reinstall Debian Linux (squeeze 6.0.6) last night. Part way through installing the base system, it failed. Sorry, I didn't write down the exact error message at that point. The last line on console 4 was

debootstrap: unknown user 'root' in state override file

What do I need to do to get the installation to complete successfully? Or what resources should I look out to figure it out?

Doing some research, I found this bug report ticket which looks like a very similar issue. I am installing from a CD using the graphical installer and followed all the steps up to installing the base system. I configured the mount points for my HDD partitions as follows:

sda1 - /
sda5 - /usr
sda6 - /var
sda7 - swap
sda8 - /tmp
sda9 - /home

These are the partitions from my original installation. I only formatted sda1 during the installation.

I know the information I have available is quite sparse. I'm posting this from another computer. When I have some more time, I'll get some more info from my machine. What other data do I need to diagnose the problem?

2 Answers 2


I solved the problem by formatting all partitions except sda9 (/home). This did the trick for me.


I got this error and it turned out it was /etc/passwd that was corrupt. Fixed that and it works again.

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