Zen Installer: Installing Arch Linux and the Subsequently Confusing FSCK Issue

So, I recently installed Arch Linux (via the Zen Installer) and all went well. Well, until I removed the USB the OS was installed from and rebooted, that is…

systemd_fsck_dependency_failure

Plug the USB stick back in and the system would boot normally. Checked FSTAB and it looked entirely valid and was, since the system was in running state when I did.

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O.k., let’s try this again but this time check the journal (journalctl -xb) to see what’s happening.

jul 14 21:37:42 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: Starting File System Check on /dev/sdb1…
jul 14 21:37:42 [REDACTED] systemd-fsck[463]: /dev/sdb1: 17 files, 12139/130807 clusters
jul 14 21:37:42 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: Started File System Check on /dev/sdb1.
jul 14 21:37:42 [REDACTED] audit[1]: SERVICE_START pid=1 uid=0 auid=4294967295 ses=4294967295 msg=’[email protected] comm=”systemd” exe=”/usr/lib/systemd/systemd” hostname=? addr=? terminal=? res=success’
jul 14 21:37:42 [REDACTED] kernel: audit: type=1130 audit(1563133062.173:11): pid=1 uid=0 auid=4294967295 ses=4294967295 msg=’[email protected] comm=”systemd” exe=”/usr/lib/systemd/systemd” hostname=? addr=? terminal=? res=success’
jul 14 22:19:49 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: [email protected]: Succeeded.
jul 14 22:19:49 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: Stopped File System Check on /dev/sdb1.
jul 14 22:19:49 [REDACTED] audit[1]: SERVICE_STOP pid=1 uid=0 auid=4294967295 ses=4294967295 msg=’[email protected] comm=”systemd” exe=”/usr/lib/systemd/systemd” hostname=? addr=? terminal=? res=success’
jul 14 22:19:49 [REDACTED] kernel: audit: type=1131 audit(1563135589.643:55): pid=1 uid=0 auid=4294967295 ses=4294967295 msg=’[email protected] comm=”systemd” exe=”/usr/lib/systemd/systemd” hostname=? addr=? terminal=? res=success’
jul 14 22:21:44 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: dev-sdb1.device: Job dev-sdb1.device/start timed out.
jul 14 22:21:44 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: Timed out waiting for device /dev/sdb1.
jul 14 22:21:44 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: Dependency failed for File System Check on /dev/sdb1.
jul 14 22:21:44 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: [email protected]: Job [email protected]/start failed with result ‘dependency’.
jul 14 22:21:44 [REDACTED] systemd[1]: dev-sdb1.device: Job dev-sdb1.device/start failed with result ‘timeout’.

Well, that didn’t help too much, save to tell me that fsck can’t load a dependency. Wait a minute… It can’t be… Can it?

Ctrl+Alt+F1 to open the terminal. Nano’ed fstab. Changed all of the sdb to sda (since the usb was no longer plugged in) and rebooted. It worked.

So, here’s what was happening:

When the USB drive was plugged in, the HDD drive was /dev/sdb. When the USB was not plugged in, it was no longer /dev/sda but the HDD was now /dev/sda.

The ultimate work-around to prevent this from happening again? Use the UUIDs instead of the non-static drive assignments, as the kernel’s name descriptors are not persistent. (See the Arch Linux Wiki for more details.)

Obligatory desktop screenshot? Obligatory desktop screenshot.

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