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Production instance of 8.1.7 did not come back after cold reboot

I hope you can help. Yesterday, our database server went down and a cold reboot was the result (HP-9000, K360, HP-UX 11.00). We have both Oracle 7 and 8 on this box, and the one instance of 7 came back and our test instance of Oracle 8.1.7 did too. However, our production instance (also 8.1.7) did not. In fact, we cannot do a CONNECT INTERNAL as we are prompted for a password. We enter the SYS password, but when a STARTUP is issued, we get 'insufficient privileges'. I suspected a bad password file, so I thought I would rebuild it using orapwd. However, when I executed this command, I got: 'opw-00001 unable to open password file'. Any ideas?
Make sure that your password file is in the correct location ($ORACLE_HOME/dbs/orapw$ORACLE_SID for HPUX & 8.1.7). If you don't have privileges to write to that directory/file, then orapwd will probably complain with an error like the one you mention. Are you sure that your $ORACLE_HOME directory is still intact? Is it possible that when your server crashed, the filesystem was corrupted somehow such that your 8.1.7 ORACLE_HOME is corrupted somehow? You did mention that your test 8.1.7 instance came back okay, so I suppose things are "mostly" back, but if the password file is missing or corrupted for the production instance, something must have caused it to disappear.

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