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I have a server (debian etch) that sometimes prompts the following message (right after starting/rebooting the computer):

The system is going down on <time in past>

Running a shutdown -c results in:

Cannot find pid of running shutdown.

Because of this problem normal users can no longer login, only root access is possible.
Has anyone seen this problem or has anyone a suggestion for me? thx.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Shutdown creates an /etc/nologin file when called to stop new (non root) users logging in once a shutdown is scheduled. Removing the file should allow users to login.

If shutdown is called with a delay, it creates the advisory file /etc/nologin which causes programs such as login(1) to not allow new user logins. Shutdown removes this file if it is stopped before it can signal init (i.e. it is cancelled or something goes wrong). It also removes it before calling init to change the runlevel.

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