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Thread: Read-only file system

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Read-only file system


    I've recently been getting weird crashes on my ubuntu system. It seems to start of with not being able to open programs, but i had a open terminal so i tried to open the programs through that:

    i've changed my username to "me" and my computer name to "mycomputer", not really sure why it just seemed that I should when I started writing this...

    me@mycomputer:~$ chromium-browser
    Failed to create temp directory for chroot: Read-only file system
    I tried the mkdir command

    me@mycomputer:~$ mkdir /test/
    mkdir: cannot create directory `/test/': Read-only file system
    me@mycomputer:~$ sudo mkdir /test/
    [sudo] password for me: 
    sudo: Can't open /var/lib/sudo/me/1: Read-only file system
    mkdir: cannot create directory `/test/': Read-only file system
    I found I was able to open the gnome calculator, but it had to be force quit. i opened it from terminal
    me@mycomputer:~$ gcalctool 
    (process:7444): Gtk-CRITICAL **: set_table: assertion `buffer->tag_table == NULL' failed
    I just noticed my computer was at running at 100% cpu (I have System Monitor on my gnome panels) i am unable to open the System Monitor application, so i ran the "top" command

    me@mycomputer:~$ top

    top - 21:07:22 up 4:25, 4 users, load average: 2.34, 2.56, 2.58
    Tasks: 194 total, 3 running, 188 sleeping, 0 stopped, 3 zombie
    Cpu(s): 66.8%us, 33.1%sy, 0.0%ni, 0.0%id, 0.0%wa, 0.0%hi, 0.2%si, 0.0%st
    Mem: 2059744k total, 1946452k used, 113292k free, 372360k buffers
    Swap: 1999868k total, 3188k used, 1996680k free, 492168k cached

    4861 me 20 0 28300 4496 3716 R 93 0.2 18:29.07 gvfsd-http
    4592 me 20 0 34820 5480 4236 R 84 0.3 55:50.49 gvfsd-smb
    2836 me 20 0 333m 67m 31m S 4 3.3 2:47.72 rhythmbox
    I don't know what gvfsd-smb & gvfsd-http but they are staying in the range of 80% and 95% of my cpu switching around of which one is on top.

    I am still able to explore the / file system except every file seems to be only have read-only permissions for example, a photo's permissions (under properties) are:

    Owner: Me - My Name
    Acess: Read and write

    Group: me
    Access: Read-only

    Access: Read-only
    when i try to change the permissions for "me" i get this:

    The permissions could not be changed.

    Sorry, could not change the permissions of "1920-x-1200.jpg": Error setting permissions: Read-only file system
    My fear is my hard drive has failed and i'm going to have to send it off (for the second time), it shouldn't cost me anything, but it would me a massive effort to get both widows and ubuntu systems back to how they are now. I'm posting this in vain hope that it isn't that and there is something I can do.


    EDIT: also another weird symptom is the search box in firefox has stopped working.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    California, USA
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Read-only file system

    Linux will remount your drive "read only" when some problem is detected. Look in your /etc/fstab and you might even see something like "errors=remount-ro"

    You can usually find out what happened if you look in /var/log/messages.

    So, what does /var/log/messages say?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Metro Boston
    Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Read-only file system

    I'd start by booting from a Live CD, opening a terminal, and running "sudo fsck /dev/sda2" or whichever partition has your Linux filesystem installed. If Linux finds a filesystem has errors, it will only mount it read-only. It's important to fix the filesystem first if you can. If you don't know which partition has Linux installed, you should try "sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda" to show all the partitions on your drive and their partition types.

    Note that you must do this from a Live CD. Do not try to fix the filesystem while it is mounted in Linux.


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