Solaris / Unix error messages are very short and often we need some more information about the origin of an error and a possible steps to fix the issues.
Here is a list of Solaris / Unix error messages for your reference, most of the error messages are generic Unix error messages but many are specific Solaris Error Messages. Please comment if you can provide some more details about these errors.
This is a multi part document, this part covers error messages starting from O to S,
for other parts please scroll down to related posts section.
166. Operation not applicable
167. out of memory
168. PARTIALLY ALLOCATED INODE I=N CLEAR?
169. passwd.org_dir: NIS+ servers unreachable
171. Permission denied
172. Please specify a recipient.
173. Protocol not supported
174. Protocol wrong type for socket
175. Read error from network: Connection reset by peer
176. Read-only file system
178. Recipient names must be specified
179. Reset tty pgrp from N to N
180. Resource temporarily unavailable
181. Result too large
182. rmdir: variable: Directory not empty
183. ROOT LOGIN /dev/console
184. ROOT LOGIN /dev/pts/N FROM variable
185. rx framing error
186. SCSI bus DATA IN phase parity error
187. SCSI transport failed: reason ‘reset’
188. Segmentation Fault
189. sendmail[N]: NOQUEUE: SYSERR: net hang reading from variable
190. setmnt: Cannot open /etc/mnttab for writing
191. share_nfs: /home: Operation not applicable
192. Soft error rate (N%) during writing was too high
193. Soft error rate (retries = N) during writing was too high
194. Stale NFS file handle
195. statd: cannot talk to statd at variable
196. stty: TCGETS: Operation not supported on socket
197. su: No shell
198. su: ‘su root’ failed for variable on /dev/pts/N
199. su: ‘su root’ succeeded for variable on /dev/pts/N
200. syncing file systems…
201. syslog service starting.
This error indicates that no system support exists for some
function that the application requested.
Ask the system vendor for an upgrade, or contact the vendor or
author of the application for an update.
This message indicates that no system support exists for an
operation. Many modules set this error when a programming
function is not yet implemented. If you are writing a program
that produces this message while calling a system library, try to
find and use an alternative library function. Future versions of
the system might support this operation; check system release
notes for further information.
The symbolic name for this error is ENOSYS, errno=89.
Hundreds of different programs can produce this message when the
system is running many large applications simultaneously. This
message usually means that the system has run out of swap space
See the message “Not enough space” for details. Any data
during this condition will probably be lost.
PARTIALLY ALLOCATED INODE I=N CLEAR?
During phase 1, fsck(1M) found that the specified inode was
neither allocated nor unallocated. The reason is probably that
the system crashed in the middle of a sync(2) or write(2)
Should you answer yes to this question, “UNALLOCATED”
might result during phase 2, if any directory entries point to
this inode. If you are being careful, exit fsck(1M) and run
ncheck(1M) (specifying the inode number after the -i option) to
determine which file or directory is involved here. You might be
able restore this file or directory from another system. It is
also possiblethat fsck will copy this file to the lost+found
directory in a later phase.
passwd.org_dir: NIS+ servers unreachable
This is the first of three messages thatan NIS+ client prints
when it cannot locate an NIS+ server on the network.
Password does not decrypt secret key for
This message appears at login time when a user’s password is not
identical to the user’s keylogin network password. When a system
is running NIS+, the login program firstperforms UNIX
authentication, and then attempts a keylogin(1) for secure RPC
To gain credentials for secure RPC, users can run keylogin (after
login) and type in their secret key. To stop this message from
appearing at login time, users can run the chkey -p command and
set their network password to bethe same as their NIS+ password.
If a user doesn’t remember the network password, the system
administrator should delete and re-create the user’s credentials
table entry so the user can establish a new network password with
An attempt was made to access a file in a way forbidden by the
Check the ownership and protection mode of the file (with a long
listing from the ls-l command) to see who is allowed to access
the file. Then change the file or directory permissions as
The symbolic name for this error is EACCES, errno=13.
With mailtool, this message comes up in a dialog box whenever a
user tries to deliver a message with no address in the To: field.
The requested networking protocol hasnot been configured into
the system, or no implementation for it exists. (A protocol is a
formal description of the messages to be exchanged and the rules
to be followed when systems exchange information.)
Verify that the protocol is in the /etc/inet/protocols file and
in the NIS protocols map, if applicable. If the protocol is not
listed, and you want to permit its use, configure the protocol as
documented or as required.
The symbolic name for this error is EPROTONOSUPPORT, errno=120.
Protocol wrong type for socket
This message indicates either application programming error, or
badly configured protocols.
Make sure that the /etc/protocols file corresponds number-for-
number with the NIS protocols map. It it does, ask the vendor or
author of the application for an update.
A protocol was specified that does not support the semantics of
the socket type requested. This amounts to a request for an
unsupported type of socket. Look at the source code that made
this socket request and check that it requested one of the types
The symbolic name for this error is EPROTOTYPE, errno=98.
Read error from network: Connection reset by
This message appears when a user is remotely logged into a
machine that crashes or gets rebooted during the rlogin(1) or
rsh(1) session. Any data changes that were not saved are probably
lost. Sometimes this message appears only when the user types
something, even though the system went down hours before.
Try torlogin again, perhaps after waiting a few minutes for the
system to reboot.
Files and directories on filesystems that are mounted read-only
cannot be changed.
If you only modify these files and directoriesoccasionally,
rlogin(1) to the servers from which the filesystems are mounted
and change the files or directories there. If you change these
files and directories frequently, mount(1M) the filesystems
The symbolic name for this error is EROFS, errno=30.
This message appears on the console to indicate that the machine
is booting, either after the superuser issued a reboot command,
or after a system panic if the EEPROM’s watchdog-reboot? variable
is set to true.
Allow the machine to boot itself. In case of a system panic, look
above this message for other indications of what went wrong.
Recipient names must be specified
Somebody sent mail without a valid recipient in the To: field, so
sendmail could not deliver the mail message. Using mail(1), the
recipient’s address might have been specified using spaces or
non-alphanumeric characters. The mailtool(1)and mailx(1)
commands try to prevent this by issuing “Please specify a
recipient” or “No recipients specified” messages
there is at least one valid recipient, each invalid recipient
address will generate a “User unknown” message.
Look in the sender’s dead.letter file for the automatically saved
message, andhave the originator send it again, this time
specifying a recipient.
The C shell sometimes issues this message when it clears away the
window process group after the user exits the window system. This
can happen when the window system doesn’t clean up after itself.
Proceed with your work. This message is purely informational.
Resource temporarily unavailable
This indicates that the fork(2) system call failed because the
system’s process table is full, or that a system call failed
because of insufficient memory or swap space. It is also possible
that a user is not allowed to create anymore processes.
Simply waiting often gives the system time to free resources.
However if this message occurs often on a system, reconfigure the
kernel and allow more processes. To increase the size of the
process table in Solaris 2.x, increase the value of maxusers in
the /etc/system file. The default maxusers value is the amount of
main memory in MB, minus 2.
If one user is not allowed to create any more processes, that
user has probably exceeded the memorysize limit; see the limit(1)
man page for details.
The symbolic name for this error is EAGAIN, errno=11.
This is a programming error or a data input error.
Ask the program’s author to fix this condition.
This indicates an attempt to evaluate a mathematical programming
function at a point where its value would overflow or underflow.
The value of a programming function in the math package (3M) is
not representable within machine precision. This could occur
after floating point overflow or underflow (either single or
double precision), or after total loss of numeric significance in
Note that this message can indicate “Result too small”
case of floating pointunderflow.
To help pinpoint a program’s math errors, use the matherr(3M)
The symbolic name for this error is ERANGE, errno=34.
rmdir: variable: Directory not empty
The rmdir(1) command can remove empty directories, only. The
directory whose name appears after the first colon in the message
still contains some files or directories.
Use rm(1) instead of rmdir. To remove this directory and
everything underneath it, use the rm -ir command to recursively
descend the directory, being asked if you want to delete each
element. To remove the directory and all its contents without
being asked for approval, use the rm -r command.
This syslog message indicates that someone has logged in as root
on the system console.
If you have just logged in as root, don’t worry. If this is not
you, consider the possibility of a security breach. The best
site-wide policy is for all system administrators to su instead
oflogging in as root.
ROOT LOGIN /dev/pts/N FROM variable
This syslog message indicates that someone has remote logged in
as root on a pseudo-terminal from the system specified after the
For security reasons, it is a bad idea to allow root logins from
anywhere besides the console. To restrict superuser logins to the
console, remove the comment from the CONSOLE line in
Usually this error indicates a hardware problem.
Check the Ethernet cabling and connectors to locate a problem.
A framing error occurs when the Ethernet I/O driver receives a
non-integral unit of octets, such as 63 bytes and then 3 bits.
(Ethernet specifies the use of octets.) Framing errors are caused
by corruption of the starting or ending frame delimiters. These
can be corrupted by some violation of the encoding scheme.
Framing errors are a subset of CRC errors, which are usually
caused by anomalies on the physical media.An
error” is a type of CRC error where octet boundaries do not
SCSI bus DATA IN phase parity error
The most common cause of this problem is unapproved hardware.
Some SCSI devices for thePC market do not meet the high I/O
speed requirements for the UNIX market. Other possible
this problem are improper cabling or termination, and power
fluctuations. Data corruption is possible but unlikely to occur,
because this parity error prevents data transfer.
Check that all SCSI devices on the bus are Sun approved hardware.
Then verify that all cables are no longer than six meters, total,
and that all SCSI connections are properly terminated. If power
fluctuations are occuring, invest in an uninterruptible power
SCSI transport failed: reason ‘reset’
This message indicates that the system sent data over the SCSI
bus, but the data never reached its destination because of a SCSI
bus reset. The most common cause of this condition is conflicting
SCSI targets.¤Data corruption is possible but unlikely to
occur, because this failure prevents data transfer.
Verify that all cables are no longer than six meters, total, and
that all SCSI connections are properly terminated. If power
surges are a problem, acquire a surge suppressor or
uninterruptible power supply.
A machine’s internal disk drive is usually SCSI target 3. Make
sure that external and secondary disk drives are targeted to 1,
2, or 0, and do not conflict with each other. Also make sure
that tape drives are targeted to 4 or 5, and CD drives to 6,
avoiding any conflict with each other or with disk drives. If the
targeting of the internal disk drive is in question, power off
the machine, remove all external drives, turn the power on, and
from the PROM monitor run the probe-scsi-all or probe-scsi
If SCSI device targeting is acceptable, memory configuration
could be the problem, especially for machines with the sun4c
architecture. Ensure that high-capacity memory chips (such as 4MB
SIMMs) are in lower banks, while lower-capacity memory chips
(such as 1MB SIMMs) are in the upper banks.
Note that SPARC systems do not always support third party CDROM
drives, and might generate a similar “unknown vendor”
message. Check with the CDROM vendor for specific configuration
Some third party disk drives have a read-ahead cache that
interferes with Solaris device drivers. Make sure that any
existing read-ahead cache facility is turned off.
Segmentation faults usually result from programming error. This
message is usually accompanied by a core dump, except on read-
To see which program produced a core file, run either the file(1)
command or the adb (1) command. The following examples show the
output of the file and adb commands on a core file from the
$ file core core: ELF 32-bit MSB core file SPARC Version 1, from
$ adb core core file = core — program `dtmail’ SIGSEGV 11:
segmentation violation ^D (use
Control-d to quit the adb
Ask the vendor or author of this program for a debugged version.
A process has received a signal indicating that it attempted to
access an area of memory that is protected or that does not
exist. The two most common causes of segmentation faults are
attempting to dereference a null pointer or indexing past the
bounds of an array.
sendmail[N]: NOQUEUE: SYSERR: net hang
reading from variable
This is a sendmail message that appears on the console and in the
log file /var/adm/messages. If this message occurs once for a
particular user, it is possible that a mail message from this
user ends with a partial line (having no terminating newline
character). If this message appears frequently or at busy times,
especially along with other networking errors, it could indicate
Check the user’s mail spool file to see if a message ends without
a newline character. If so, talk with the user and determine
to prevent the problem from occurring again. If these messages
are the result of network problems, you could try moving the mail
spool directory to another machine with a faster network
During the SMTP receipt of DATA phase, a message-terminating
period on a line of its own never arrived, so sendmail timed out
and produced this error.
setmnt: Cannot open /etc/mnttab for writing
The system is having problems writing to /etc/mnttab. It is
possible that the filesystem containing /etc is mounted read-
only, or is not mounted at all.
Check that this file exists and is writable by root. If so,
ensure that the /etc filesystem has been mounted, and is mounted
read-write rather than read-only.
share_nfs: /home: Operation not applicable
This message usually indicates that the system has a local
filesystem mounted on /home, which is where the automounter
usually mounts users’ home directories.
When a systemis running the automounter, do not mount local
filesystems on the /home directory. Mount them on another
directory, such as /disk2, which on most systems you will have to
create.You could also change the automounter auto_home entry,
but that is a more difficult solution.
Soft error rate (N%) during writing was too
This message from the SCSI tape drive appears when Exabyteor DAT
tapes generate too many soft (recoverable) errors. It is followed
bythe advisory “Please, replace tape cartridge” message.
errors are an indication that hard errors could soon occur,
causing data corruption.
First clean the tape head witha cleaning tape as recommended by
the manufacturer. If that doesn’t work, replace the tape
cartridge. You might need to replace the tape drive if the
problem still occurs with new tape cartridges.
Soft error rate (retries = N) during writing
was too high
This message from the SCSI tape drive appears when Archive tapes
generate too many soft (recoverable) errors. It is followed by
the advisory “Periodic head cleaning required and/or replace
cartridge” message. Soft errors are an indication that hard
errors couldsoon occur, causing data corruption.
First clean the tape head with a cleaning tape as recommended by
the manufacturer. If that doesn’t work, replace the tape
cartridge. Youmight need to replace the tape drive if the
problem still occurs with new tape cartridges.
A file or directory that was opened by an NFS client was either
removed or replaced on the server.
If you were editing this file, write it to a local filesystem
instead. Try remounting the filesystem on top of itself or
shutting down any client processes that refer to stale file
handles. If neither of these solutions works, reboot the system.
The original vnode isno longer valid. The only way to get rid of
this error is to force the NFS server and client to renegotiate
The symbolic name for this error is ESTALE, errno=151.
statd: cannot talk to statd at variable
This message comes from the NFS status monitor daemon statd,
which provides crash recovery services for the NFS lock daemon
lockd. The message indicates that statd has left old references
in the /var/statmon/sm and /var/statmon/sm.bak directories. After
a user has removed or modified a host in the hosts database,
statd might not properly purge files in these directories, which
results in its trying to communicate with a nonexistent host.
Remove the file named variable (where variable is the hostname)
from both the /var/statmon/sm and /var/statmon/sm.bak
directories. Then kill the statd daemon and restart it. If that
doesn’t get rid of the message, kill and restart lockd as well.
If that doesn’t work, reboot the machine at your convenience.
stty: TCGETS: Operation not supported on
This message results when a user tries to remote copy with rcp(1)
or remote shell with rsh(1) from one machine to another, but has
an stty(1) command in the remote
The solution is to move the stty command to the user’s .login (or
equivalent) file. Alternatively, execute the stty command in
.cshrc only when the shell is interactive. Here is a test to
if ($?prompt) stty …
The rcp andrsh commands make a connection using sockets, which
do not support stty’s TCGETS ioctl.
This message indicates that someone changed the default login
shell for root to a program missing from the system. For example,
the final colon-separated field in /etc/passwd could have been
changed from /sbin/sh to/usr/bin/bash, which does not exist in
that location. Possibly an extra space was appended at the end of
line. The outcome is that you cannot login as root or switch user
to root, and so cannot directly fix this problem.
The only solution is to reboot the system from another source,
then edit the password file to correct this problem. Invoke
sync(1M) several times, then halt the machine by typing Stop-A or
by pressing the reset button. Reboot single-user from CDROM, the
net, or diskette, such as by typing boot cdrom -s at the ok
After the system comes up and gives you a # prompt, mount the
device corresponding to the original / partition somewhere, such
as with a mount(1M) command similar to the one below. Then run an
editor on the newly-mounted system password file (use ed(1) if
terminal support is lacking):
# mount /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 /mnt # ed /mnt/etc/passwd
Use the editor to change the password file’s root entry to call
an existing shell, such as /usr/bin/csh or /usr/bin/ksh.
To keep the “No shell” problem from happening,
admintool or /usr/ucb/vipw to edit the password file. These tools
make it difficult to change password entries in ways that make
the system unusable.
su: ‘su root’ failed for variable on
The user specified after “for” tried to become
typed the wrong password.
If the user is supposed to know the root password, wait to see if
the correct password is supplied. If the user is not supposed to
know the root password, ask why he or she is attempting to become
su: ‘su root’ succeeded for variable on
The user specified after “for” just became superuser by
the root password.
If the user is supposed to know the root password, this message
is purely informational. If the user is not supposed to know the
root password, change this password immediately and ask how the
user learned it.
This indicates that the kernel is updating the super-blocks
before taking the system down, to ensure filesystem integrity.
This message appears after a halt(1M) or reboot (1M) command. It
can also appear after a system panic, in which case the system
might contain corrupted data.
If you just halted or rebooted the machine, don’t worry– this
message is normal. In case of a system panic, look up the panic
messages that appear above this one. Your system vendor might be
able to help diagnose the problem. So that you can describe the
panic to the vendor, either leave your system in its panicked
state or be sure that you can reproduce the problem.
Numbers that sometimes display after the three dots in the
message show the count of dirty pages that are being written out.
Numbers in brackets show an estimate of the number of busy
buffers in the system.
During system reboot, this message might appear and theboot
seems to hang. After starting syslogd(1M) service, the system
runs /etc/rc2.d/S75cron, which in turn calls ps(1). Sometimes
after an abrupt system crash /dev/bd.off becomes a link to
nowhere, causing the ps command to hang indefinitely.
Reboot single user (for example with boot -s) and run ls -l
/dev/bd* to see if this is the problem. If so, remove
/dev/bd.off, then run bdconfig off or reboot with the -r
This is the most commonly reported situation that causes ps to