Article: Using a LiveCD to take over / repair an installed system

The Repair function seems to have disappeared from the install media. It could be used to repair a lot of options on an (unbootable) installed system, to get it back in a (bootable and) working state.

This short article shows how to use a LiveCD to take over / repair an installed system. It can be used the same way as described in , The procedure will: Boot from LiveCD, allow you to mount your existing openSUSE installation that does not work and execute fixes on it as if it was the active system.

  • Download a LiveCD and burn it to disc or USB medium. Note: if you run 32bit openSUSE, use a 32bit LiveCD, if you run 64bit openSUSE, use a 64bit LIveCD.
  • Boot the system from the CD / USB disk
  • Open a terminal window, and invoke the following commands
su -

You need root permissions, the root user on the LiveCD images has no password.

Next, mount the root partition, replace X by the character, # by the numeric of your the device entry that holds your root partition ( example " /dev/sda2 "

mount /dev/sdX# /mnt

Let the installed system be aware of the available hardware

mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev

Change root to the installed system, mount /proc and /sys to make it complete

chroot /mnt
mount /proc
mount /sys

  • Now you can start Yast, zypper, or whatever is needed to repair your system.

See also

If I might suggest –

The live CD needs to be the same architecture as the system being repaired.

In particular, don’t try to repair a 64 bit system with a 32bit liveCD. Some repairs might work, but others will depend on the repair system running a kernel that is compatible with the installed system.

That sounds like a good suggestion nrickert and Knurpht could make a mention of this in the article. I will say that I just don’t download anything 32 bit any more. However, A lot of magazine articles with disks often include only 32 bit versions, so a mix could happen.

Thank You,


Its safer if you disable the network first before attaining root privileges,
unless you need the network to re-install something.

Instead of cmd su -, you can also logout then login as root …
then access to both hdd /root and /home can be achieved with one click in Dolphin,
also boot files can be changed in kwrite without running into permission problems.


Hello knurpht,

i ran in trouble with mount of sys and proc:
‘no such file or directory’
Root partition is mountet and the directories are visible. Commands like yast2 are in list of suggestions but by use I get this:
‘If you are running in a chroot environment, bind-mount missing file systems.’

I’m using suse 13.1 with only little shell experience :slight_smile:


This fails for me on 13.2. I get past the mount --bind step, and there is nothing in /proc or /sys. /bin is populated.
My system is on /sda7 for sure
At this point, /mnt is empty. I just reinstalled 13.2, so these directories should be populated.