System Update froze - UbuntuMATE 16-04

Bret Busby bret.busby at
Thu Jun 21 09:40:48 UTC 2018

On 21/06/2018, Colin Watson <cjwatson at> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 09:43:16AM +0100, Colin Law wrote:
>> On 21 June 2018 at 09:32, Bret Busby <bret.busby at> wrote:
>> > On 21/06/2018, Colin Law <clanlaw at> wrote:
>> >> sync
>> >
>> > After about fifteen minutes, no displayed response - cursor goes onto
>> > next line after the line in which the command is entered, an the
>> > cursor sits there flashing at me, in an otherwise blank line.
>> >
>> > So, the command "sync" also appears to have been hanged (and, yes, I
>> > do know the difference between hanged and hung :) ).
>> So it is that bug that you are hitting.  The update runs sync to flush
>> data to disc and that cannot complete for some reason.
> Well.  Yes, Bret is hitting the initramfs-tools bug you linked to above.
> However, that only happens when the system is already in a bad way (in
> that sync never completes), and *that* is not caused by initramfs-tools.
> Investigating what's causing the sync hang would involve poking through
> system logs.  /var/log/syslog is the first place I'd look if I saw this
> on one of my systems, as there are multiple possible causes: as well as
> things like stuck remote filesystem mounts or whatever, it could also be
> due to incipient disk failures that would cause the kernel to produce
> alarming log messages.


In running less on that file in that path, I fing lots of errors
relating to sdb1, which, from memory, is the HP USB external HDD. I
note that I can not even check to what, sdb1 points.

Now, given the state (unstable, I think, and, apparently, unlikely to
be able to be rebooted, and, with no file management available) of the
system, apart from waiting a few days, to find whether the file
management will recover, during the current boot session, and, as no
fix for the bug, appears to be available, what can I do, to fix this,
before a bug fix becomes available, if a bug fix does become

I can post a copy of an excerpt (possibly, tail) of the file syslog,
if that helps.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992


More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list