General troubleshooting

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Notes: please use the first argument of the template to provide more detailed indications. (Discuss in Talk:General troubleshooting#)

This article explains some methods for general troubleshooting. For application specific issues, please reference the particular wiki page for that program.

Attention To Detail

In order to resolve an issue that you are having, it is absolutely crucial to have a firm understanding of how that specific system functions. How it works, and what does it need to run without error? If you cannot comfortably answer these question then it is strongly advised that you review the Archwiki article for the function that you are having troubles with. Once you feel like you've understood the specific system, it will be easier for you to pin-point the problem.

Questions / Checklist

The following gives a number of questions for you whenever dealing with a malfunctioning system. Under each question there are notes explaining how you should be answering each question, followed by some light examples on how to easily gather data output and what tools can be used to review logs and the journal.

1. What is the issue(s)?
Be as precise as possible. This will help you not get confused and/or side-tracked when looking up specific information.
2. Are there error messages? (if any)
Copy and paste full outputs that contain error messages related to your issue into a separate file, such as $HOME/issue.log. For example, to forward the output of the following mkinitcpio command to $HOME/issue.log:
$ mkinitcpio -p linux >> $HOME/issue.log 
3. Can you reproduce the issue?
If so, give exact step-by-step instructions/commands needed to do so.
4. When did you first encounter these issues and what was changed between then and when the system was operating without error?
If it occurred right after an update then, list all packages that were updated. Include version numbers, also, paste the entire update from pacman.log (/var/log/pacman.log). Also take note of the statuses of any service(s) needed to support the malfunctioning application(s) using systemd's systemctl tools. For example, to forward the output of the following systemd command to $HOME/issue.log:
$ systemctl status dhcpcd@eth0.service >> $HOME/issue.log
Note: Using >> will ensure any previous text in $HOME/issue.log will not be overwritten.

Be more specific

When attempting to resolve an issue, never approach it as:

Application X does not work.

Instead, look at it in its entirety:

Application X produces Y error(s) when performing Z tasks under conditions A and B.

Additional Support

With all the information in front of you. You should have a good idea as to what is going on with the system. And you can now start working on a proper fix.

If you require any additional support, it can be found on the Forums or IRC at irc.freenode.net #archlinux

Session permissions

Note: You must be using systemd as your init system for local sessions to work - which is required for polkit permissions and ACLs for various devices (see /usr/lib/udev/rules.d/70-uaccess.rules)

First, make sure you have a valid local session within X:

$ loginctl show-session $XDG_SESSION_ID

This should contain Remote=no and Active=yes in the output. If it does not, make sure that X runs on the same tty where the login occurred. This is required in order to preserve the logind session. This is handled by the default /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc.

A D-Bus session should also be started along with X. See D-Bus#Starting the user session for more information on this.

Basic polkit actions do not require further set-up. Some polkit actions require further authentication, even with a local session. A polkit authentication agent needs to be running for this to work. See polkit#Authentication agents for more information on this.

Single user mode

If you cannot boot due to errors caused by a daemon, display manager or Xorg, you may be able use the single user runlevel:

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:General troubleshooting#)
  1. Boot to single-user mode. For GRUB 2:
    1. In the GRUB2 boot menu, select the Arch Linux entry, and press e to edit it.
    2. Find the kernel line; it will start with linux /boot/vmlinuz-linux...
    3. Appending 1 or s to this line
    4. Press F2 to start the boot process
  2. Then disable the systemd service that is causing the problem.
  3. Change to the multi-user mode systemd target.
  4. Then try to track down the issue by running the service manually.

file: could not find any magic files!

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:General troubleshooting#)

Example: After an every-day routine update or following the installation of a package you are given the following error:

# file: could not find any magic files!

This will most likely leave your system crippled. And, any attempts made to recompile/reinstall the package(s) responsible for the breakage will fail. Also, any attempts made to try to rebuild the initramfs will result in the following:

# mkinitcpio -p linux
==> Building image from preset: 'default'
 -> -k /boot/vmlinuz-linux -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/initramfs-linux.img
file: could not find any magic files!
==> ERROR: invalid kernel specifier: `/boot/vmlinuz-linux'
==> Building image from preset: 'fallback'
 -> -k /boot/vmlinuz-linux -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/initramfs-linux-fallback.img -S autodetect
file: could not find any magic files!
@==> ERROR: invalid kernel specifier: `/boot/vmlinuz-linux'

Solution

Typically a previously installed application had placed a configuration file within /etc/ld.so.conf.d/ or it had made changes to /etc/ld.so.conf which are now invalid.

  1. Boot into the Arch Linux Live CD / Installation Media.
  2. Mount your root (/) partition to /mnt and using arch-chroot, chroot into your system.
Note: arch-chroot leaves mounting the /boot partition up to the user.
  1. Examine /etc/ld.so.conf and remove any invalid lines found.
  2. Examine the files located inside the directory /etc/ld.so.conf.d/ and remove all invalid files.
  3. Rebuild the initramfs.
# mkinitcpio -p linux
  1. Reboot back to your installed system.
  2. Once booted, reinstall the package that was responsible for leaving your system inoperable using:
# pacman -S <package>

See also