How to Solve “Read-Only File System” Error in Ubuntu?

  • Last Created On Jan 06, 2024
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As you know, the file system is the structure and method that the operating system uses to manage and organize files and directories on the disk or partitions. Also, the file system accelerates and facilitates the identification and tracking of files, so users must interact with the file system to manage data and information. Have you ever received the “Read-Only File System” error while managing the file system in Ubuntu? If you’re a Ubuntu Linux user, you’ve probably experienced the “Read-Only File System” error while managing files and directories and interacting with the file system.

Mounting the file system in Read-Only mode is a security measure to prevent the manipulation and deletion of essential data, even some Linux users to increase security, Make File Unchangeable by using chattr command. Therefore, the display of this error can be due to the limitations set on the file to protect essential data. But otherwise, the sudden appearance of this error when working with a file system annoys many users. If you are using Ubuntu VPS and this error bothers you, don’t worry, this article will solve your problem. In this article, we will examine the causes of the “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu and will fix this error.

Causes of “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu along with solutions

As we mentioned, the “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu has various reasons; in this part of the article, we will discuss the causes of this error and methods of troubleshooting “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu Linux. Before learning how to solve Read-Only File System error, you should know that you must have sudo privileges to fix this error.

1. File System inconsistency

Any failure and inconsistency in the file system will result in the Ubuntu system remounting the file system by default in such a way that writing on the file system is not allowed. As a result, in this situation, the Ubuntu system, by default, prevents further damage to the file system, for this reason, you will receive the “Read-Only File System” error.

Solution: Check Disk and File System Errors

One of the ways to troubleshoot “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu is to check the file system using thefsckcommand to identify and fix errors:

sudo fsck -Af

Or

sudo fsck -f /dev/sda1

Replace </dev/sda1> with the appropriate disk or partition in the previous command. You can also specify the file system type in the previous command.

As a result, using this command, you can fix file system errors and any errors on the disk.

2. Incorrect File System Configuration

The /etc/fstab file is a Ubuntu Linux system configuration file that contains information about disk drives, partitions, file systems, and how they are mounted. The /etc/fstab file in Linux is a vital file that provides information such as file system type, mount options, mount point, etc. When the system boots or the Mount command runs, the Linux system uses the information in the /etc/fstab file to mount the file system in the file. In addition, if you want to interact with the file system of another device, the /etc/fstab file is used to mount remote file system.

The/etc/fstab file may have an incorrect configuration, or the file systems specified in this file are not set as read-write, and this file may contain incorrect configuration entries. Misconfiguration of the/etc/fstab file can cause problems and lead to a “Read-Only File System” error in Linux.

Solution: Check and edit /etc/fstab file

Checking the /etc/fstab file can help solve this problem. To display the contents of the /etc/fstab file, run the following command in the Linux terminal:

cat /etc/fstab

In the content of the /etc/fstab file, each line includes different fields, which each field provides information; these fields are:

  • device or file system UUID (Universally Unique Identifier)
  • mount point
  • file system type
  • Mount options (defaults, noatime, and errors=remount-ro)
  • Numerical field( 0 and 1 value) for disabling or enabling system file backup by dump
  • Numerical field for prioritizing the check of file systems (the value 1 is usually set for the root filesystem to be considered as a priority in the check.)

After carefully checking the contents of the /etc/fstab file, if you notice incorrect configuration or incorrect entries in the file, you should open the /etc/fstab file with your favorite editor, such as nano, to edit the file:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

It should be noted that you must have sudo privileges to edit the /etc/fstab file.

After editing the /etc/fstab file, save your changes by pressing the Ctrl + X and Y buttons and then press Enter.

To apply the new configuration of the /etc/fstab file, reboot or restart Ubuntu Linux in any way you know:

sudo reboot

Note: Be very careful editing the /etc/fstab configuration file because a mistake can cause irreparable damage, such as not booting the system. Therefore, make a backup copy of this vital file before making changes in the /etc/fstab file, and be cautious when editing this file.

In addition, to solve “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu, after checking the contents of the /etc/fstab file and opening it, by adding the “fsck” option in the root partition line, configure the system to check for file system errors during the boot process. for example:

sudo nano /etc/fstab
UUID=<your-uuid> / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1

Replace the UUID of your root partition with <your-uuid>, save the file, and reboot the system.

3. Mounting file system in a read-only state

Sometimes, due to the security and protection of sensitive and important data or incorrect mount options and errors in the /etc/fstab file, the system file becomes read-only; For this reason, you will get the Read-Only File System error on ubuntu.

Solution: Remount the FileSystem

If the file system is mounted as read-only, you can remount the file system in read-write mode. To remount the file system, you must execute themountcommand with the “o” option as the root user and use therwcommand to mount the file system with read and write permissions:

sudo mount -o remount,rw /

In the previous command, you can also specify the device name and mount point; for example, to remount the system file on a device named /dev/sda2 and /boot/efi mount point, run the following command:

sudo mount -o remount,rw /dev/sda2 /boot/efi

After running the previous command, reboot the Ubuntu system to apply the changes:

reboot

The Read-Only File System error should be resolved by running the previous commands as the disk errors are repaired. Otherwise, you should try other methods to fix  “Read-Only File System” error.

4. Insufficient Disk Space

if the disk is full, the system may mount the file system as read-only to prevent additional writing.

Solution: Check Disk Space

Make sure you have sufficient disk space available, for this purpose, run the following command to check disk space usage:

df -h

As a result, you can check the disk usage for all mounted file systems; if the disk is full, free up the disk space from unnecessary files and directories using rm and du commands, or if you do not want to delete files and data you can move unused files to another disk to avoid errors and problems caused by full disk space.

5. Disk or Hardware Issues

Physical disk problems, hardware failures, or storage device problems lead to a read-only file system.

Solution: Check for Disk and hardware failures

You should try any method to solve your problem; you can check and identify hardware problems using diagnostic tools like smartmontools and repair or replace the drive if needed or get help from an expert.

If you have not already installed the tool for checking disk health and its possible failures in Ubuntu, install Smartmontools through the following command:

sudo apt-get install smartmontools

Then, use the following command to check the status of the disk:

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

Replace /dev/sda with the appropriate disk identifier.

6. Linux and Windows Dual-Boot Issue

When you dual boot Windows alongside Ubuntu Linux, you may experience problems interacting with the file system if Windows is configured in fast startup mode.

Solution: Solve the Linux-windows dual boot issue

To solve the problems caused by the dual boot of Windows and Linux, first boot into your Windows system and follow the steps below:

Go to Start > power settings > additional power settings on right pane > Choose what the power buttons do> Change settings that are currently unavailable

Then, in the subsection of the “shutdown settings” section, uncheck the “Turn on fast startup” option and click the “Save changes” button.

Finally, boot into the Ubuntu system and reboot the system by running the following command:

sudo reboot

7. The file system does not support read-write mode

Some types of file systems do not support read-write mode; that’s why they are mounted read-only by default, and that’s why you see the Read-Only File System error in Ubuntu when managing the file system.

Solution: Check the file system type

If the file system type causes the read-only file system error, check the file system type:

mount | grep "^/dev"

As a result, knowing the file system type lets you check whether it supports read-write mode.

8. Permissions and Ownership Issues

Incorrect permissions and ownership on the file and directory may cause read-only file system errors.

Solution: Check permissions and ownership

To check and edit the permissions and ownership of files and directories, you can use thechmodandchowncommands, which have already been taught how to use chown command to change the ownership and permissions of files and directories.

9. Software or Kernel Bugs

Don’t ignore the problems of the software and kernel of the operating system in causing the “Read-Only File system” error because bugs and issues of the kernel and software lead to the fact that the file system is mounted in read-only mode.

Solution: Update the system

Updating the Ubuntu system to the latest patches and updates helps to fix bugs. If the read-only file system issue is not resolved after updating the system, you can check the System Logs (/var/log/syslog, /var/log/messages, or /var/log/dmesg) and check the error messages and clues regarding the read-only file system.

Conclusion

Now, don’t worry if you get a “Read-Only File System” error in Ubuntu because you learned how to fix and troubleshoot this problem. In this article, the methods of fixing the Read-Only File System error were taught so that your skills and knowledge in solving problems related to the file system in the Linux system can be improved, and you can diagnose and fix possible issues without the need of an expert and professional person. If none of the solutions taught in this article solve your problem and you continue to experience a read-only file system issue, the problem is likely caused by more serious failures in the hardware or file system, which is better to seek professional assistance to solve your problem.

In order not to experience the Read-Only File System problem, we recommend that you update your Ubuntu system regularly and check the health of your file system and hardware regularly with diagnostic tools such as Smartmontools. Always remember that backing up your data is beneficial in all situations; therefore, always make a backup copy of your data so that you do not lose your data in case of file system failure.

Thank you for choosing this article to read.

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