I have an SSD disk with an ext4 filesystem on it:

$ lsblk -f /dev/sdc 
NAME FSTYPE LABEL UUID                                 MOUNTPOINT
sdc  ext4         142b28fd-c886-4182-892d-67fdc34b522a 

I am attempting to mount it, but it is failing:

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/data
$ sudo mount /dev/sdc /mnt/data
mount: /mnt/data: cannot mount /dev/sdc read-only.
  • What does the error message mean?
  • How can I diagnose and fix the problem?

To add additional information pertinent to an answer below:

There is only one partition on the disk.

Here is the result of executing lsblk for the boot disk:

$ lsblk /dev/sda
sda       8:0    0   10G  0 disk 
├─sda1    8:1    0  9.9G  0 part /
├─sda14   8:14   0    4M  0 part 
└─sda15   8:15   0  106M  0 part /boot/efi

and here is the result of executing lsblk for the disk in question:

$ lsblk /dev/sdc
sdc    8:32   0   2G  1 disk 
  • @sourcejedi it is a 2GB SSD disk, in so far as it is a Google cloud storage drive being attached (read-only) to a GCE VM. Apr 2, 2019 at 21:47

3 Answers 3


I had a similar problem with a USB thumb drive which was down to the ext4 journal recovery not working. dmesg confirmed this:

[1455125.992721] EXT4-fs (sdh1): INFO: recovery required on readonly filesystem
[1455125.992725] EXT4-fs (sdh1): write access unavailable, cannot proceed (try mounting with noload)

As it suggested, mounting with noload worked:

sudo mount -o ro,noload /dev/sdh1 /mnt/drive

I was then able to backup the content:

sudo rsync -av /mnt/drive /data/tmp/

and then use fdisk to delete and recreate the partition and then create a new filesystem with mkfs.ext4.

  • noload did it for me, thanks! Nov 13, 2021 at 1:22
  • OMG, thank you! I was able to mount the partition on a corrupted SD card and recover my files. Jan 11 at 4:32
mount: /mnt/data: cannot mount /dev/sdc read-only.

The problem might be that the ext4 filesystem on the device needs journal recovery, which is inherently a write operation. You might get more information by using the dmesg command after a mount attempt.

But I don't really see how your command

sudo mount /dev/sdc /mnt/data

was turned into a request for a read-only mount. Do you have an /etc/fstab line with specific options for this filesystem? Or do you have a custom script or alias named mount in root's environment?

Nevertheless, if the dmesg command does not provide any further insight, you might try an explicit request for a read-write mount:

sudo mount -o rw /dev/sdc /mnt/data

Or you might try running a filesystem check on it first:

sudo fsck.ext4 -C0 /dev/sdc
  • lsblk shows the device is RO
    – sourcejedi
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:05
  • Oh, so the device itself is reporting it's read-only for some reason! I did not notice that. That might indicate a hardware problem of some sort: use sudo smartctl -HAf brief -l error /dev/sdc for a health check, and try sudo mount -o ro /dev/sdc /mnt/data for at least a chance to get your data out from a possibly-failing SSD.
    – telcoM
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:52
  • @telcoM the device is read-only. It is, in fact, a google cloud disk attached to a vm. I have previously mounted it read/write and populated it with data, which I now want to attach to a different VM read-only. Previously this has succeeded (with a warning saying it's mounting read-only, as I didn't provide -ro), so it seems perhaps your suggestion of journal recovery is correct? Although I managed to "fix" the problem by unattaching, reattaching it read-write, and then reattaching it read-only again, and then it worked! Perhaps a gcloud bug? Apr 2, 2019 at 21:46

If I read that correctly, you are trying to mount a non-partition. It could be a simple typo in that you should be using "/dev/sda1" or "/dev/sda2" etc.. instead of just "sda"

If that's not the case, you'll need to use a partitioning tool such as fdisk or gdisk (or a GUI based tool such as gparted) to create a partition table and a partition. Then install a filesystem in that partition using "mkfs".

  • 1
    lsblk shows that there is an ext4 filesystem on the disk. There is only 1 partition, so /dev/sdc should be sufficient Apr 2, 2019 at 2:28
  • Hmmm, I am unfamiliar if ext4 can use a raw block device without a partition table. This is a common thing with LVM2 and PV, so it may be doable.
    – 0xSheepdog
    Apr 2, 2019 at 3:53
  • 2
    @0xSheepdog: Yes, ext4 can do that. In fact, I think any Linux filesystem driver can do that.
    – telcoM
    Apr 2, 2019 at 19:12
  • 1
    I just followed the instructions on [here])cloud.google.com/compute/docs/disks/add-persistent-disk). Format the disk. You can use any file format that you need, but the most simple method is to format the entire disk with a single ext4 file system and no partition table. If you resize the zonal persistent disk later, you can resize the file system without having to modify disk partitions. sudo mkfs.ext4 -m 0 -F -E lazy_itable_init=0,lazy_journal_init=0,discard /dev/[DEVICE_ID] Apr 2, 2019 at 21:48
  • @telcoM Thought so but wasn't certain. Thanks!
    – 0xSheepdog
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:19

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