Summary: How to reload just the kernel on Solaris 5.5.1

From: David Duncanson (
Date: Mon Aug 18 1997 - 20:20:23 CDT


I would thanks all those that responded to the message. In summary
there isn't a second copy of the kernel on the boot disk unless
you have previously set one up your self. After I had booted from
CDROM, I did a file comparision between the kernel on the CDROM and
the disk nad there were no differences. So I copied the CDROM one to
the disk.

Unfortunatley after rebooting, I still had exactly the same problem
so the error must of been in one of the kernel modules, as several
people suggested.

At this stage I decided to cut my loses and reinstall solaris, because
even if I fixed the modules, I couldn't be sure that some other
configuration file had been damaged.

From: Tawanda Queen

I had a problem where the system would not reboot and everything
pointed to the kernel, do an interactive boot "boot -a" and see
how far the boot process goes. In my situation the proble was
the /kernel/fs/ufs file. I just replaced file from CDROM and all
was fine.
From: Michael Hill <>

(2) Is there a command to reload the kernel from a CDROM to the disk ?

No, but there are at least two ways to do it. One of them would be to
mount the CD-ROM and copy the file to the local disk, but that of course
requires the system to be up! The other would be to boot from the CD-ROM
as if you were installing; then halt the install after you've reached
OpenWindows (painfully slow, I know), mount the root partition (c0t3d0s0,
presumably) on /a, then "cp /kernel/unix /a/kernel" (or something close
to that), then exit & reboot.

> (3) Am I on the wrong track, and the kernel is OK ?

It's hard to tell for sure, but it could be either the kernel file is
corrupted or one of the kernel modules that it tries to load is
corrupted. The following analysis is my interpretation of the boot
sequence based on the console output:

That looks bad.
I don't think that there is a "spare" kernel.
However, if your /etc/system is corrupt, you can do a boot -a, then
specify /dev/null instead of /etc/system.
If this doesn't work, instead of reinstalling, you may be able to
boot off of CD and do an "upgrade." This isn't really an upgrade,
but it has repaired systems for me in the past. ie (all of /usr has been rm'ed)
If it works, it should return your system to normal.
From: Benjamin Cline <>

> With other UNIX flavours, I would just reboot using the vmunix.old
> but Solaris seems to be different.
> (1) Is there a second copy of the kernel on the disk ?
No. :-(

> (2) Is there a command to reload the kernel from a CDROM to the disk ?
cp, or maybe "cp -Rp".

> (3) Am I on the wrong track, and the kernel is OK ?
No, I think you're on the right track. As you may know, the Solaris 2.x
kernel isn't a single monolithic file like SunOS (or most flavours of
unix), but is instead composed of a bunch of loadable modules located in
/kernel. It sounds to me like the arp module got damaged. I would suggest
you try booting off of a CD-ROM (or the network), making a backup copy of
/kernel/drv/arp, and copy a new version over from the CD. You'll want to
re-install any aplicable kernel patches, too.

Note that /kernel/strmod/arp is a hard link to/from /kernel/drv/arp, it
should get properly replaced when you copy over the new file, but I'm
feeling awfully fuzzy on my link semantics right now.
David Duncanson, _____ _____
Information Technology Manager Adelaide, \ \ /////
Vision Systems Limited, Second Avenue, | | /////
The Levels, SA 5095, Australia. | | /////
ph +61-8-8300-4400, Fax +61-8-8349-7420 | / /////
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