This is really just a note for my future reference, but these details should pretty much apply to most linux servers that have a recovery mode. As is the case with several suppliers the instructions for how to mount the hard disk to fix problems are often left out or buried in the deep recesses of a FAQ somewhere. These instructions work for both the Amenworld server that this site runs on as well as 1&1's dedicated boxes.
First step is to boot the server into it's recovery/repair mode from your control panel.
Once that is done you will be navigating a basic linux install. To access your actual server you need to mount it's harddisk so you can take a look at the filesystem and fix any problems. To locate your hard drive run
fdisk -l to output the partition data.
It should look something like this
Disk /dev/hda: 80.0 GB, 80000000000 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9726 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/hda1 * 1 13 104391 83 Linux /dev/hda2 14 61 385560 82 Linux swap / Solaris /dev/hda3 62 9726 77634112+ 83 Linux
On my box I need to mount /dev/hda3 hence;
mount /dev/hda3 /mnt
chroot /mnt changes the root of the filesystem to /mnt
Once you are done follow your server's instructions to reboot your server normally.