I've put together a small system with busybox, a Linux kernel, and a small file system, putting stuff in as it seemed necessary -- I don't know if I've been learning much from this, but I started out pretty clueless, so it sure hasn't been a smooth ride. So I suspect I might be missing some stuff in my filesystem, but I'm really not sure what I might need to add next.

I can boot into my system by typing in the following grub commands: set root=(hd0,msdos1) \ linux /vmlinuz root=/dev/sda1 \ boot

Once the boot messages stop, I'm left with this (I'm not sure if it's related but there's a line there that says: VFS: Mounted root (ext3 filesystem) readonly on device 8:1): boot message

I can't modify the filesystem: ln: bin/mkdir Read-only file

It's funny because I can manually mount /proc just fine: mounting /proc

Why is my file system read-only? What would I need to set up to get it to work?

  • 6
    It's not unusual for a system to boot / readonly at first and then remount it rw later on. (I think the idea is that one would like to get to binaries like the file system check e2fsck in /sbin/ without risking breaking anything.) Feb 27, 2012 at 11:33
  • 2
    maybe your filesystem is corrupt, have you tried to check it ?
    – Coren
    Feb 27, 2012 at 13:16

3 Answers 3


I had a similar issue that is not solved with the solution above. Linux may mount a drive as 'read-only' because of Fastboot on Windows 10. A shutdown with the Fastboot feature keeps the Windows kernel and session running albeit it closes all applications and logs off users. By turning off Fastboot, windows will do a cold shutdown and linux will be able to mount the drive safely. You will loose the fast windows boot as a consequence.

To turn-off fast-boot on windows 10 do the following:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Click Power Options.
  3. Choose "what the power buttons do."
  4. Click "Change settings that are currently unavailable."
  5. Find and uncheck "Turn on fast startup."
  6. Save changes.
  7. Shutdown and boot linux.

References: https://itsfoss.com/solve-ntfs-mount-problem-ubuntu-windows-8-dual-boot/ https://www.howtogeek.com/243901/the-pros-and-cons-of-windows-10s-fast-startup-mode/

  • 3
    I doubt, this is a reasonable answer for a question from 2012. But as a reader from the future, I very much appreciate the pointer into the right direction.
    – m8mble
    Apr 9, 2020 at 20:37
  • it worked like charm. Oct 16, 2020 at 13:44
  • Thanks a lot, working indeed like a charm
    – Alf
    Nov 12, 2020 at 8:24
  • Thanks a lot. This solution worked for me. Jun 11, 2021 at 4:44
  • 1
    Thanks, you saved my time. Mar 15, 2022 at 4:55

Try to search in dmesg | less.

If you would like remount it to read-write, use mount -o remount,rw /

  • 9
    I run that command but got mount: cannot remount /dev/mmcblk0p2 read-write, is write-protected.
    – SAMPro
    May 25, 2017 at 3:26
  • 2
    mmcblk0p2 sounds like an SD card. These (or micro-SD to SD adapters) often have a small physical switch on the side that sets them read-only.
    – jazzpi
    May 13, 2020 at 15:46
  • @SAMPro how did you fix this? (same question for any reader who fixed it; please help the community! I'm getting the same message Aug 16, 2020 at 21:22
  • Any found the solution for write-protected May 26, 2021 at 18:15

@Diaz Great advice, solved my issue. However, the "Turn on fast startup" didn't turn up in my Windows 10 installation. So I disabled the feature directly in the registry:


Booted Debian and voila - SDD rw again.

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