Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was trying to change the default mountpoint for /usr in /etc/vfstab. I am running Solaris 10 on a Sun Fire 480R.

Unfortunately, I made an error with editing the /etc/vfstab so I could no longer access /usr. I tried booting to cdrom as single user but could not access the original /etc/vfstab from there, nor find the hard drive where the original was mounted on.

I enlisted the help of a network admin with some Solaris experience. While I watched he tinkered around and finally decided it would be best to try 'setenv set-defaults' to revert to factory settings.

I am definitely more of a software than a hardware person so I blindly agreed, figuring he ought to know more what he is doing than me.

Since we rebooted after resetting defaults, though, we can't get the display to show up. The server starts up, to the point that we can ping it and its host name resolves, but I can't SSH to it or telnet to it. We have tried to connect various monitors but none we've tried so far work. We suspect it is possibly because we need a serial port, since the machine is old enough that this could very well be the factory default.

The machine is a test server, but is still a pretty critical one as the data and services would have eventually been migrated to new hardware. So... I have some obligation to get it back up and running.

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance.

share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The answer was exactly what we suspected. We needed to connect a console, so we got a RJ45 to DB9 cable, connected to the back of the Sun Fire 480R and connected the 9pin end to a laptop. Connected via HyperTerm to COM1, then it worked.

After I fixed the /etc/vfstab issue, I realized the real problem why the display terminal didn't show up was because of a zfs mount error. I'd created a conflict between a legacy mount point in /etc/vfstab and a new zfs mountpoint I made just before my failed reboot.

I found out the hard way that starting up the usual init scripts / services relies on completing all auto mounts at boot without error first.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.