Appliance Down! Emergency Mode! failed to start file system check

Appliance Down! Emergency Mode! failed to start file system check.

My lab had a little hi-cough the other day, I’d managed to fill the management vSAN partition…  Never a good idea.  Whilst I managed to recover space and bring VMs back online one VM greeted me with the following screen…

Luckily I’d seen this behaviour before and knew roughly what to do – something I was able to validate by reviewing this KB article.  What follows are those instructions with my screenshots.

  1. Reboot the virtual appliance and immediately after the OS starts, press e to open the GNU GRUB Edit Menu.
  2. Locate the line that begins with the word linux.
  3. Append the following to the end of that line:

  4. Press F10 to continue booting.
  5. Find the filesystems by running the command:
    :/# /bin/sh
    :/# /bin/mount

    :/# blkid

    Note: You will see the list of devices mounted with the disk uuid.

  6. Execute the command:
    :/# e2fsck -y /dev/sda3

    Now the article here expressly identifies sda3.  However, I can see from the output of blkid that sda3 is swap so e2fsck will do nothing for me as e2fsck is used to check the ext2/ext3/ext4 family of file systems.  Therefore I need to run the command against sda2 and sda4.


    Note: The nodes will be fixed automatically as we have given -y.

  7. Power off the virtual appliance.
  8. Power on the virtual appliance.

All things being equal, the photon based appliance should now start as normal.