System dropping into emergency target with "systemd-journald[<pid>]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory"

This document (7024334) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 and it's service packs
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 and it's service packs


System boots up very slowly, printing messages like:

[  124.566003] systemd-journald[627]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory
[  124.573039] systemd-journald[628]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory
[  124.579604] systemd-journald[634]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory
[  124.585817] systemd-journald[636]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory
[  124.590887] systemd-journald[640]: Failed to open runtime journal: No such file or directory

and on the console one can see that systemd-journald.service is failing multiple times

System seems to hang every now and then and does not finish booting.
It may even greet the user as "New installation" and ask for a locale to be set.
Finally it drops into emergency target asking for the root password.


Log in as root user and either create an empty file /etc/machine-id which will be populated upon next reboot, or better run:



File /etc/machine-id is missing from the system.

/etc/machine-id contains a unique identifier for the system.
Journald uses this identifier to store it's journal in /run/log/journal/<machine-id>/
systemd-journald.service fails if it can't access or create the directory.
Since journald is considered critical, boot will fail and the system ends in emergency target.

If /etc/machine-id is empty, systemd will populate it during boot, problem only exists if /etc/machine-id is missing.

Additional Information

SUSE engineering is aware of the problem and this document will be updated once a fix is available.

Regarding the "New installation" and local settings asked, this is caused by systemd-firstboot service which get's activated if machine-id is not available.


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7024334
  • Creation Date: 11-Dec-2019
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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