Unpack centos 7 initramfs file with and without dracut skipcpio

In CentOS 7 the initramfs consists of two concatenated gzipped cpio files. If you want to check what files and probably configuration files are included you can unpack it, but you should use

the dracut tool skipcpio

/usr/lib/dracut/skipcpio <initramfs-file> | zcat | cpio -id --no-absolute-filenames

The following is the output of a CentOS 7

[root@srv ~]# mkdir initramfs-unpacked
[root@srv ~]# cd initramfs-unpacked/
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked]# /usr/lib/dracut/skipcpio /boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img | zcat | cpio -id --no-absolute-filenames
164026 blocks
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked]# ls -al
общо 52
drwxr-xr-x. 12 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 .
dr-xr-x---.  5 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 ..
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root    7  1 Apr 11,48 bin -> usr/bin
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 dev
drwxr-xr-x.  9 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 etc
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root   23  1 Apr 11,48 init -> usr/lib/systemd/systemd
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root    7  1 Apr 11,48 lib -> usr/lib
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root    9  1 Apr 11,48 lib64 -> usr/lib64
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 proc
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 root
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 run
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root    8  1 Apr 11,48 sbin -> usr/sbin
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root 3117  1 Apr 11,48 shutdown
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 sys
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 sysroot
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 tmp
drwxr-xr-x.  7 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 usr
drwxr-xr-x.  3 root root 4096  1 Apr 11,48 var
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked]# ls -al /boot/
общо 114812
dr-xr-xr-x.  6 root root     4096 30 Mar  2,36 .
dr-xr-xr-x. 19 root root     4096 30 Mar  2,37 ..
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root   151923 18 Mar 15,10 config-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64
drwxr-xr-x.  3 root root     4096 28 Jan 20,52 efi
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 30 Mar  2,29 grub
drwx------.  5 root root     4096 29 Mar 13,50 grub2
-rw-------.  1 root root 44256471 28 Jan 20,57 initramfs-0-rescue-05cb8c7b39fe0f70e3ce97e5beab809d.img
-rw-------.  1 root root 44821343 29 Mar 13,50 initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img
-rw-------.  1 root root 10982937 30 Mar  2,36 initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64kdump.img
drwx------.  2 root root    16384 29 Mar 13,46 lost+found
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root   314087 18 Mar 15,10 symvers-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.gz
-rw-------.  1 root root  3544363 18 Mar 15,10 System.map-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root  6639808 28 Jan 20,57 vmlinuz-0-rescue-05cb8c7b39fe0f70e3ce97e5beab809d
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root  6643904 18 Mar 15,10 vmlinuz-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root      171 18 Mar 15,10 .vmlinuz-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.hmac

You can see the init is handled by systemd!

Not using dracut skipcpio

early_cpio – dracut set this file at the beginning of the CentOS 7 initramfs. It contains the CPU microcode.
You can check it with “file” command and if it shows: “ASCII cpio archive (SVR4 with no CRC)” there is a microcode prepended to the initramfs file.

And here without the dracut skipcpio tool with an example:

  1. cpio the original initramfs and write down the number of blocks reported
  2. use dd to skip the first blocks from the above step
  3. Uncompress (and unpack) the file created by dd – this is the real initramfs file.

Here is how you can do it:

[root@srv ~]# file /boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img
/boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img: ASCII cpio archive (SVR4 with no CRC)
[root@srv ~]# mkdir initramfs-unpacked-3
[root@srv ~]# cd initramfs-unpacked-3
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# cat /boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img | cpio -idmv
.
early_cpio
kernel
kernel/x86
kernel/x86/microcode
kernel/x86/microcode/AuthenticAMD.bin
kernel/x86/microcode/GenuineIntel.bin
3412 blocks
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# dd if=/boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64.img of=initramfs-tmp.img bs=512 skip=3412
84129+1 records in
84129+1 records out
43074399 bytes (43 MB) copied, 0.191311 s, 225 MB/s
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# ls
early_cpio  initramfs-tmp.img  kernel
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# file initramfs-tmp.img 
initramfs-tmp.img: gzip compressed data, from Unix, last modified: Fri Mar 29 13:49:41 2019, max compression
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# zcat ./initramfs-tmp.img | cpio -idm
164026 blocks
[root@srv initramfs-unpacked-3]# ls -al
total 42128
drwxr-xr-x. 13 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 .
dr-xr-x---. 10 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 ..
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root        7 Apr  1 12:38 bin -> usr/bin
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 dev
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root        2 Mar 29 13:49 early_cpio
drwxr-xr-x.  9 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 etc
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root       23 Apr  1 12:38 init -> usr/lib/systemd/systemd
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 43074399 Apr  1 12:35 initramfs-tmp.img
drwxr-xr-x.  3 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 kernel
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root        7 Apr  1 12:38 lib -> usr/lib
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root        9 Apr  1 12:38 lib64 -> usr/lib64
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 proc
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 root
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 run
lrwxrwxrwx.  1 root root        8 Apr  1 12:38 sbin -> usr/sbin
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root     3117 Nov  2 17:40 shutdown
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 sys
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 sysroot
drwxr-xr-x.  2 root root     4096 Mar 29 13:49 tmp
drwxr-xr-x.  7 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 usr
drwxr-xr-x.  3 root root     4096 Apr  1 12:38 var

Centos 7 Server hangs up on boot after deleting a software raid (mdadm device)

We have a CentOS 7 server with a simple two hard drives setup in RAID1 of total 4 devices for boot, root, swap and storage. The storage device (/dev/md5) was removed and recreated with RAID0 for better performance, because the server was promoted as only cache server. Then the server was restarted and it never went up.
On IPMI KVM it just started loading the kernel and hanged up after several seconds without any additional information:

The kernel loads the mdadm devices and do not continue and the device md5 is missing.

main menu
CentOS 7 kernel loading the mdadm RAID devices

To boot successfully you must remove the missing device

On the Grub 2 menu press “e” and you’ll get this screen. Here you can edit all lines if you need. You must remove the last rd.md.uuid in our case or the one you deleted. Remove it and press Ctrl+x to load the kernel.

main menu
Grub 2 edit

There are two options you can do:

  • OPTION 1) Remove rd.md.uuid option of your old mdadm device
  • OPTION 2) Replace the ID in rd.md.uuid= with the new ID of the mdadm device.

Each of these two options could be used to solve the booting problem. Edit /etc/default/grub and replace or remove rd.md.uuid and generate the grub.conf.
You can find old mdadm ID in /etc/mdadm.conf (if you have not replace it there).

[root@srv ~]# cat /etc/mdadm.conf 
ARRAY /dev/md2 level=raid1 num-devices=2 metadata=0.90 UUID=9c08f218:cd5c0f8f:d96bc0d1:57b77e99
ARRAY /dev/md3 level=raid1 num-devices=2 metadata=1.2 name=2035110:swap UUID=1f74a2e0:757bfb9f:9c860e50:325f37cb
ARRAY /dev/md4 level=raid1 num-devices=2 metadata=1.2 name=2035110:root UUID=29bf4aa8:b7dae21a:45f4c188:baea4c13
ARRAY /dev/md5 level=raid1 num-devices=2 metadata=1.2 name=2035110:storage1 UUID=e6eb2590:b767be36:c76bb869:45ff0c3c
[root@srv ~]# mdadm --detail --scan
ARRAY /dev/md2 metadata=0.90 UUID=9c08f218:cd5c0f8f:d96bc0d1:57b77e99
ARRAY /dev/md3 metadata=1.2 name=2035110:swap UUID=1f74a2e0:757bfb9f:9c860e50:325f37cb
ARRAY /dev/md4 metadata=1.2 name=2035110:root UUID=29bf4aa8:b7dae21a:45f4c188:baea4c13
ARRAY /dev/md/5 metadata=1.2 name=s2035110:5 UUID=901074eb:16ba7c5b:0af69934:e9444102
[root@srv ~]# mdadm --detail --scan > /etc/mdadm.conf 

Here is our old /etc/default/grub:

[root@srv ~]# cat /etc/default/grub 
GRUB_TIMEOUT=1
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="$(sed 's, release .*$,,g' /etc/system-release)"
GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_DISABLE_SUBMENU=true
GRUB_TERMINAL="serial console"
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=115200"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="rd.md.uuid=9c08f218:cd5c0f8f:d96bc0d1:57b77e99 rd.md.uuid=1f74a2e0:757bfb9f:9c860e50:325f37cb rd.md.uuid=29bf4aa8:b7dae21a:45f4c188:baea4c13 rd.md.uuid=e6eb2590:b767be36:c76bb869:45ff0c3c console=tty0 crashkernel=auto console=ttyS0,115200 net.ifnames=1"
GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"

Here we edit our /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, replace the old uuid and generate grub.cfg (legacy BIOS):

[root@srv ~]# cat /etc/default/grub 
GRUB_TIMEOUT=1
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="$(sed 's, release .*$,,g' /etc/system-release)"
GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_DISABLE_SUBMENU=true
GRUB_TERMINAL="serial console"
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=115200"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="rd.md.uuid=9c08f218:cd5c0f8f:d96bc0d1:57b77e99 rd.md.uuid=1f74a2e0:757bfb9f:9c860e50:325f37cb rd.md.uuid=29bf4aa8:b7dae21a:45f4c188:baea4c13 rd.md.uuid=901074eb:16ba7c5b:0af69934:e9444102 console=tty0 crashkernel=auto console=ttyS0,115200 net.ifnames=1"
[root@srv ~]# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg 
Generating grub configuration file ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.10.0-957.5.1.el7.x86_64
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-3.10.0-957.5.1.el7.x86_64.img
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-0-rescue-05cb8c7b39fe0f70e3ce97e5beab809d
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-0-rescue-05cb8c7b39fe0f70e3ce97e5beab809d.img
done
[root@srv ~]# reboot

Use this for UEFI BIOS boot:
First check if /boot and /boot/efi are mounted and if not you must mount them with:

mount /boot
mount /boot/efi

Generate the grub.cfg

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/centos/grub.cfg

Bonus

In fact when the original device was removed and added a new one we formatted it as usual. But it was not possible to mount it, you just execute mount

/dev/md5 /mnt/stor1

no error, but no mount could be found, the device was not mounted and when you execute

umount /mnt/stor1

The OS told the “/mnt/stor1” was not mounted. Several more tries were made unsuccessfully to mount the “/dev/md5”, then the restart was performed and the server never went up.
Suppose the systemd just did not allow to mount the device because of the boot parameters rd.md.uuid!

Gentoo Minimal Installation CD (amd64 aka x86_64) – booting (in UEFI mode)

Here is the process of booting from a Gentoo Minimal Installation CD amd64 (x86_64) with UEFI mode enabled. This is not an installation guide!
You can download the CD from here: https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/ Here is the ISO file: http://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/autobuilds/20180911T214502Z/install-amd64-minimal-20180911T214502Z.iso or you can check it in some mirror like leaseweb – http://mirror.leaseweb.com/gentoo/releases/amd64/autobuilds/current-install-amd64-minimal/install-amd64-minimal-20180911T214502Z.iso.

Our motherboard is Asus ROG Zenith Extreme motherboard using X399 chipset https://www.asus.com/th/Motherboards/ROG-ZENITH-EXTREME/ and you’ll see the BIOS options for it, but they do not differ much with the other motherboard boot options. Here also setup the network and start up an openssh server to manage our Gentoo Linux installation – (coming soon).

SCREENSHOT 1) Starting the machine

main menu
Start up

Keep on reading!