[ubuntu] Ubuntu 12.04 kernel panic then wont boot off of USB

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http://ubuntuforums.org – Recently had a system crash giving me ubuntu kernel panic not syncing vfs unable to mount root fs on unknown-block Tried to boot onto USB live Ubuntu, but I still end up with a frozen screen, black screen, frozen splash screen, or scrambled text and random flashing colors... I can boot into the ubuntu recovery console and have tried to upgrade the kernel with apt-get dist-upgrade, but it fails. Need to save this computer. does anyone have any ideas? I've also tried fiddling with the boot options from the grub menu, but I truly have no idea what to do with GRUB so it was futile... (Hardware)