At the moment I have a / partition with btrfs and /home partition with xfs. I would like to take advantage of btrfs snapshots for certain directories under /home, e.g. /home/robert/.wines . Apparently this doesn't work out of the box:

 # btrfs subvolume create /home/robert/.wines
 Create subvolume '/home/robert/.wines'
 ERROR: cannot create subvolume  - Inappropriate ioctl for device

Is there a way to create a subvolume under /home, which is not a btrfs mount?

  • Can i ask you a question? Why you did this little "mess" with your filesystem mixing up xfs with btrfs? Why not create everything inside btrfs with subvolumes to achieve and use all the features of this filesystem? Cheers :)
    – user34720
    Mar 6, 2015 at 18:40
  • @nwildner - two reasons. 1) it was the openSUSE recommended layout. 2) I have files which don't necessarily mix well with BTRFS and COW - namely virtual machines Mar 6, 2015 at 20:32
  • 1
    Fair enough. However, one of the extended attributes of btrfs is actually disable COW. It can be done with chattr on a directory, or during the mount of a subvolume - ram.kossboss.com/btrfs-disabling-cow-file-directory-nodatacow - btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Mount_options. The nodatacow mount option on a /home subvolume could be enough for your needs ;). Cheers.
    – user34720
    Mar 6, 2015 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


Quoting the documentation:

Although in btrfs, subvolumes/snapshots are treated as directories, only subvolume/snapshot can be the source of a snapshot, snapshot can not be made from normal directories.

Since your /home dir is not a subvolume neither a snapshot, it will not be possible to create a snapshot of anything inside of it.



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