Linux Mint initramfs Prompt at Boot

Created on: 29 August 2021

Linux Mint initramfs prompt appears after booting computer. A BusyBox Ubuntu built-in shell (ash) screen with initramfs prompt displays after switching on Linux Mint PC as shown in the image below. The computer does not boot up properly and instead of going straight to the login screen, drops through to a initramfs command line prompt.

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt
Linux Mint initramfs Prompt

The BusyBox initramfs prompt suggests entering ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands. When help is entered, the commands are listed as shown in the above image.

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt at Boot Problem

The problem described above has happened to me twice, both on Linux Mint 18.3 computers. Both times it happened after upgrading the Linux kernel using the Linux Mint Update Manager. Firstly it occurred on a dedicated Linux Mint laptop and then again on Linux Mint 18.3 MATE (Sylvia) running in a virtual machine using VMware Workstation 14 Player (the free for home user version of VMware Player).

Linux Mint initramfs Prompt Solution

The solution below works when Linux Mint 18.3 drops through to the (initramfs) prompt after updating the Linux kernel. There may be other instances where it does not work. Three commands must be run at the BusyBox command prompt.

1. Run the exit Command

First enter exit at the initramfs prompt.

(initramfs) exit

After typing exit and pressing the Enter key, the following appears at the prompt. The information displayed will be different for different computers.

BusyBox initramfs Prompt after exit Command
BusyBox initramfs Prompt after exit Command

Take note of the path of the file system from the above image and shown below. Your root file system name will probably be different, so use the information displayed on your system, which is used in the next command.

The root filesystem on /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root requires a manual fsck

2. Run the fsck Command

Use the fsck command with the file system path determined above. This is in the following format.

fsck <your file system path> -y

For the above example this is entered at the initramfs prompt as shown below. Be sure to use your file system path as determined above instead and end with the -y switch.

fsck /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root -y

When the fsck command runs after entering it as above, it fixes the system. Text scrolls on the screen while it is busy.

3. Run the reboot Command

Finally enter the reboot command at the (initramfs) command prompt.


This reboots the computer to the Linux Mint login prompt. Everything should now be working properly again.