Linux Can't Find My Partition with /home

I booted up my distro, Grub was fine, my distro’s logo came up during the boot process as usual, then I was thrown into a tty, with the message that I was in “Emergency Mode”. I was given a few options including having a look at the journalctl log.

Trying to just ignore it and boot as normal didn’t work, the journalctl log didn’t help me much either, I suppose it might if I could read “kernel speak”.

I was able to log in as root, so that was at least something useful.

A bit of a play about and I found that Linux couln’t find the partition on my HDD that I keep /home. fstab couldn’t find the partition to mount it. This also bore out when as root, I was unable to go to my ‘user’ home directory.

I booted up into gParted from a Live USB. Which told me
“Invalid Partition table on /dev/sda – wrong signature 0”
The graphical representation of my drive in gparted showed the partition with my home directory as “unallocated”

Things that may or may not be important:

  1. I had removed this hard drive to install an updated distro on a new drive. When I put it back to check something, this happened. I am normally careful with drives (and any components) and wouldn’t have expected a problem to occur because of my handling, yet it seems rather co-incidental.

  2. I used a Yubikey to login to my user account, though this has worked flawlessly for a number of months since I set it up.

Anyone any suggestions?

Not sure what went wrong, but it sounds like you might either a drive going bad, some corruption, or something along those lines. Curious, was your /home encrypted before?

Either way, it sounds like the partition has been lost. If you have a backup of your /home, I’d run fsck and then recreate the partition and restore your data.

If you don’t have a backup and have critical files that were stored in /home, then you will need someone with more experience than I have to assist you.

Either way, I wish you luck.

what distro did you use? See if its installer left a log with info for your partition table.

The partition wasn’t “encrypted” as such, but I did have it set up to use a YubiKey to logon.

I had Linux Mint 19.3 on that drive.

My interest in restoring the partition was not to keep using that drive, but because there were a couple of directories that weren’t backed up. I was hoping to be able to access those to retrieve the information. I do have a back-up of most of the /home directory, but getting that last bit would have been really good.

@rwaltr “See if its installer left a log with info for your partition table.”
I wouldn’t know were to look, or know what to do with that info if I found it.

Do you have a external hard drive dock? That way you can have a look at the files on the hard drive, since it’s not encrypted. My guess is that you can acces the files that way and take a backup.
Maybe there’s some log files that can shed some more light on this issue.

I hope this helps.