I've been trying to create a bootdisk (something like a live-cd) which loads into memory-only without mounting the disk. My steps are listed below, but when I boot using the cd, I get:

Kernel Panic - not syncing: VFS: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (9,1)

Here's what I am doing to create the boot disk:

  1. Create a ramdisk using the mkinitrd tool, then decompress:

    mkinitrd myrd $(uname -r)
    mkdir myrdroot && cd myrdroot
    dd if=../myrd bs=1k | gunzip | cpio -id

  2. Git rid of nash, the init (nash script) and modprobe (a symlink to nash)

    rm -f init bin/nash bin/modprobe

  3. Install busybox (Busybox is default config, except it's statically linked). Busybox will create a linuxrc and an sbin/init in myrd.

    pushd ~/busybox
    make CONFIG_ROOT=/path/to/myrd install

  4. rebundle the inird:

    find . | cpio -n -o | gzip -9 > ../myrd.img

This ramdisk is then used with ISOLINUX on a CD. I copy over the kernel that matches $(uname -r), and configure ISOLINUX to boot the kernel with the ramdisk.

1 Answer 1


It looks like the problem is related to the CPIO archive format. When I create the ramdisk using ext2/gzip format, it works.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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