Is it possible to convert / and /boot file system from ext3 to btrfs? I have not experienced converting previously but I seen that filesystem from ext3 needs to be unmounted.

Filesystem                    Type  Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg_system-lv_root ext3  4.8G  3.6G  1.1G  78% /
/dev/sda1                     ext3  266M   92M  161M  37% /boot
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 (x86_64)

Yes, it's possible to convert an ext3 filesystem to BTRFS. Use btrfs-convert.

Yes, the filesystem needs to be unmounted; btrfs-convert uses the filesystem's free space to perform the conversion, so you can't have the free space being modified (by ext3) during this process.


I see you're using LVM to contain the filesystem. It would be best to put the BTRFS filesystem on the partition rather than on an LVM logical volume due to a potentially-catastrophic gotcha with BTRFS. In short, if you promise to never, ever, ever take a snapshot of the BTRFS filesystem, you should be OK.

  • Thanks for your inputs. If I make the / (LVM) to BTRFS and create subvolumes (/home, /opt, /boot, /usr, etc..), will it also be not advisable? Since snapshot is one of the main reasons for BTRFS use.. – Ykaly May 25 at 13:00
  • The issue with block-level copies of BTRFS filesystems, such as those created with LVM snapshots, applies to the entire filesystem. You can place your BTRFS filesystem in a partition, meaning without LVM, and create subvolumes and snapshots without issues. But, it's not possible to convert an LVM logical volume into a partition (without jumping through hoops). Because SUSE Linux includes additional support for BTRFS, namely Snapper snapshots, your best is to reinstall the OS, instead of trying to retro-fit BTRFS after-the-fact. – Emmanuel Rosa May 26 at 6:58

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