Recovery from an LED 553 in AIX 3.1 or 3.2


About this document
Causes of an LED 553
Summary of the recovery procedure
Sample /etc/inittab file for AIX 3.2

About this document

This document applies to AIX Versions 3.1 or 3.2.

Causes of an LED 553

An LED 553 occurs during an IPL if the system cannot read or run the /etc/inittab file. On early releases, this could occur when the /tmp or / (root) file system is full. On level 2004 and beyond, the cause is more likely to be a missing /bin/bsh file or a problem with one of the shell profiles.

Summary of the recovery procedure

To recover from an LED 553, check /dev/hd3 and /dev/hd4 for space problems, and erase files if necessary. Check the /etc/inittab file for corruption, and fix it if necessary. If the inittab file was not corrupted, you will need to check the shell profiles, the /bin/bsh file, and some other files.


  1. Turn the key to the Service position.

  2. With BOSboot or installation media of the same version and level as the operating system, boot the system.

    WARNING: If you boot a 3.2 system with 3.1 media, or boot a 3.1
    system with 3.2 media, then you will not be able to use
    the standard scripts (getrootfs or /etc/continue) to
    bring your workstation into full maintenance mode.

    Moreover, performing the scripts on a 3.1 system with
    3.2 boot media may actually remove some files and
    prevent your system from booting successfully in normal
    mode until missing files (/etc/mount and /etc/umount) are
    replaced on the disk.

    • For information on BOSboot diskettes, refer to the product documentation.
    • If booting from diskettes, when you see LED c07, insert the next diskette. This may be the optional display extensions diskette (required for AIX 3.2.5) or the display diskette.
    • If you have AIX 3.2.5, used a fddi network install, and selected that option for the install device, you will need the communications extensions diskette. If this diskette is not available, you can build it from another system with fddi installed or call your branch office for assistance.

    Follow the prompts to the installation/maintenance menu.

  3. Choose the maintenance shell (option 5 for AIX 3.1, option 4 for AIX 3.2).

  4. Determine the hdisk# to use with the getrootfs or /etc/continue command. If you have only one disk, then hdisk0 is the proper hdisk# to use. If you have more than one disk, do the following:

    • For AIX 3.2.4 or later:

      Execute the following command:


      The output indicates the disk that should be used with the getrootfs command in the next step.

    • For AIX 3.1 to 3.2.3e:

      Execute the following command:

         lqueryvg -Atp hdisk# | grep hd5
      for each hdisk# (hdisk0, hdisk1, etc.) until you get output similar to the following:
         00005264feb3631c.2  hd5 1
      The exact output you get will be different but will follow the form:
         large_number.x  hd5 1

      You may find more than one disk with this output. These will all be disks which belong to the rootvg volume group. Any of the disks identified to be in rootvg may be used in the following step.

  5. Now access the rootvg volume group by running /etc/continue (for AIX 3.1) or getrootfs (for AIX 3.2). (# is the number of the fixed disk, determined in step 4.)

    For AIX 3.1 only, enter:

       /etc/continue [hdisk#]

    For AIX 3.2 only, enter:

       getrootfs [hdisk#]

    If you get errors from /etc/continue or getrootfs, do not continue with this procedure. Correct the problem causing the error. If you need assistance correcting the problem causing the error, contact one of the following:

    • local branch office
    • your point of sale
    • your AIX support center

    All of the preceding avenues for assistance may be billable.

  6. For AIX 3.2.4 or greater, enter the following command:
  7. Use the df command to check for free space in /dev/hd3 and /dev/hd4.
       df  /dev/hd3
       df  /dev/hd4
  8. If df showed that either file system is out of space, erase some files from that file system. Three files you may want to erase are /smit.log, /smit.script, and /.sh_history.

  9. Next, check the /etc/inittab file for corruption. It may be empty or missing, or it may have an incorrect entry. For comparison, see the section "Sample /etc/inittab file for AIX 3.2" at the end of this document.

  10. If the inittab file is corrupt, set your terminal type in preparation for editing the file. (xxx is a terminal type, such as hft, ibm3151, or vt100.)
       export TERM

    Now use an editor to create the /etc/inittab file. For an example, see the section "Sample /etc/inittab file for AIX 3.2" at the end of this document. If your /etc/inittab file was corrupt and you recreated it, you may not need to perform any of the following steps.

  11. Use the following command to check for any modifications or problems with permission.
       ls -al /.profile /etc/environment /etc/profile
    Sample output:
       -rw-r--r--  1 root  system  158 Dec 14 1993  /.profile
       -rw-rw-r--  1 root  system 1389 Oct 26 1993  /etc/environment
       -rw-r--r--  1 root  system 1214 Jan 22 1993  /etc/profile

    One of the preceding files may contain a command that is valid only in the Korn shell. Change the command to something that is also valid in the Bourne shell. For example, change

       export PATH=/bin:/usr/bin/:/etc:/usr/ucb:.
       export PATH
  12. For AIX 3.1:

    Make sure the following files and directory are not missing or moved.

  13. For AIX 3.2:

    Check for missing or moved files with the following command:

       ls -al /bin /bin/bsh /bin/sh /bootrec /lib /u /unix
    Sample output:

    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root sys      8 Aug 5 1994 /bin -> /usr/bin
    -r-xr-xr-x 3 bin  bin 256224 Jun 4 1993 /bin/bsh
    -r-xr-xr-x 3 bin  bin 256224 Jun 4 1993 /bin/sh
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root sys     17 Aug 5 1994 /bootrec -> /usr/sbin/bootrec
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root sys      8 Aug 5 1994 /lib -> /usr/lib
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root sys      5 Aug 5 1994 /u -> /home
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root sys     18 Aug 5 1994 /unix -> /usr/lib/boot/unix

    If any of the preceding files are missing, the problem may be a missing symbolic link. Use the commands from the list below that correspond to the missing links:

       ln -s /usr/bin /bin
       ln -s /usr/lib/boot/unix /unix
       ln -s /usr/sbin/bootrec /bootrec
       ln -s /usr/lib /lib
       ln -s /home /u
  14. For AIX 3.1:

    Make sure the following are not missing or corrupt.

  15. For AIX 3.2:

    Use the following command to make sure that fsck and rc.boot are not missing or corrupt:

       ls -l /etc/fsck /sbin/rc.boot
    Sample output:

    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root system    14 Aug  5 1994 /etc/fsck -> /usr/sbin/fsck
    -rwxrwxr-- 1 root system 33760 Aug 30 1993 /sbin/rc.boot

  16. If you are running AIX 3.2, make sure the /etc/inittab file is the 3.2 version. For that version, the line that begins with brc should be:
       brc::sysinit:/sbin/rc.boot 3 >/dev/console 2>&1
    For AIX 3.1, the line reads:
       brc::sysinit:/etc/brc >/dev/console 2>&1

    See the section "Sample /etc/inittab file for AIX 3.2" at the end of this document for an example.

  17. If you have not found any obvious problems, try substituting ksh for bsh with the following series of commands. (The first command saves your bsh before you copy over it.)
       cp /bin/bsh /bin/bsh.orig
       cp /bin/ksh /bin/bsh

    If you can then reboot successfully, this indicates that one of the profiles was causing problems for bsh. Check the profiles again by running the following:

       /bin/bsh.orig /.profile
       /bin/bsh.orig /etc/profile
       /bin/bsh.orig /etc/environment
    If you receive errors with any of the preceding commands, this indicates there is a command in that profile that bsh cannot handle.

If you followed all of the preceding steps and the system still stops at an LED 553 during a reboot in Normal mode, you may want to pursue further system recovery assistance from one of the following:

All of the preceding avenues for assistance may be billable.

For reasons of time and the integrity of your AIX operating system, the best alternative at this point may be to reinstall AIX.

Sample /etc/inittab file for AIX 3.2

: @(#)49  1.28  com/cfg/etc/inittab, bos, bos320 10/3/91 10:46:51
brc::sysinit:/sbin/rc.boot 3 >/dev/console 2>&1 # Phase 3 of 
   system boot 
powerfail::powerfail:/etc/rc.powerfail 2>&1 | alog -tboot > 
rc:2:wait:/etc/rc > alog -tboot > /dev/console 2>&1 
   # Multi-User checks 
fbcheck:2:wait:/usr/lib/dwm/fbcheck > alog -tboot >/dev/console 
   # System Resource Controller 
rctcpip:2:wait:/etc/rc.tcpip > /dev/console 2> 
   &1 # Start TCP/IP daemons 
rcnfs:2:wait:/etc/rc.nfs > /dev/console 2>&1 # Start NFS Daemons 
cons:0123456789:respawn:/etc/getty /dev/console 
piobe:2:wait:/usr/lib/lpd/pio/etc/pioinit > 
   /dev/null 2>&1  # pb cleanup 
qdaemon:2:wait:/bin/startsrc -sqdaemon 
writesrv:2:wait:/bin/startsrc -swritesrv 

[ Doc Ref: 90605189414748     Publish Date: Oct. 13, 2000     4FAX Ref: 1721 ]