Aral Balkan

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Fixing read-only file system errors after do-release-upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS

I upgraded an old server from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS today and, when it restarted, I started getting “Read-only file system” errors on the root partition.


Here’s how I investigated and fixed the issue, including a list of the sites I found that helped me along the way.

Am I out of disk space?

I wasn’t sure if perhaps the installation had failed and corrupted something because I was out of disk space. So first I checked for that and saw that it wasn’t the case:

► df

Filesystem     1K-blocks     Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/vda1       61796348 44194416  14439820  76% /

Is the disk OK?

Next, I used fsck to see if the partition was all right. It was (phew):

► sudo fsck /dev/vda1

fsck from util-linux 2.27.1
e2fsck 1.42.13 (17-May-2015)
DOROOT: clean, 289048/3932160 files, 11328157/15728640 blocks

Is the mount properly configured?

Since the partition looked OK, I wanted to see if the configuration instructions for the disk were correct so I asked to see a listing of the relevant file:

► cat /etc/fstab

And eureka, it looks like the upgrade changed the configuration to use a UUID:

# / was on /dev/vda1 during installation
UUID=815063a9-c956-44a6-ab11-05e1d0bb3a58 /  ext4  errors=remount-ro  0  1

So the question was, of course, is the UUID correct? So I checked what the UUID of /dev/vda1 was:

► ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/ | grep vda1

Which resulted in:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 24 04:26 88f2ec31-89b7-4164-8fb8-c7736b549505 -> ../../vda1

So, there was our culprit. The UUIDs did not match.

Let’s fix it!

Since things were working previously with the disk specified as /dev/vda1 instead of via UUID, I thought I’d just edit the fstab file and be done with it:

► sudo nano /etc/fstab

But not so fast:

Unable to create directory /root/.nano: Read-only file system
It is required for saving/loading search history or cursor positions.


Of course, the whole issue is that the file system is read-only so how am I going to update the configuration file.

Remount the drive

Again, since things were working properly and there didn’t seem to be a file system corruption, I thought I’d just try remounting the drive using a correct identifier:

mount -o remount,rw /dev/vda1 /

And that worked!

So I then updated the mounting configuration in /etc/fstab to:

/dev/vda1 /  ext4  errors=remount-ro  0  1

Turn it off and back on again

Finally, I rebooted.

And now I once again have a properly mounted, read-write root partition.

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