Somehow, the wife got her laptop into this situation yesterday. The Windows
partition booted normally when selected from GRUB but os 11.3 would boot to
a command line login and pretty much everything besides CTRL-D was useless
as the root partition was ro.

I booted a live CD and found two a couple of strange things. First, the
system clock was reset to the default date/time (2007-xx-xx). I reset that.

Second, after correcting the time I ran fsck on the root and home
partitions. Both went through with no errors reported but the 20GB root
partition took a long,long time to complete while the 80GB home partition
went pretty quickly.

After doing the above, the system booted normally but both partitions
reported running the transaction log as well as forcing fsck where I had
just done that.

My question is for future reference: how does the system react to a grossly
incorrect date/time, especially where all the drive data reports being much
later than the reported system time? Would this be the reason for what I
saw?

I have no idea how the wife managed to reset the system clock, even if the
battery was totally drained but it happened. All is well now but I'd like to
be prepared for any repeat.

--
Will Honea