I have a Clonezilla installation on a USB stick and I'd like to make some modifications to the operating system. Specifically, I'd like to insert a runnable script into /usr/sbin to make it easy to run my own backup command to make backups less painful.

The main filesystem lives under /live/filesystem.squashfs on the USB FAT-32 partition.

How can I mount this read/write on my Linux machine in order to be able to add/remove/change files? I'm running an Ubuntu 12.04 derivative.


As root, copy filesystem.squashfs to some empty dir, e.g.:

cp /mnt/clonezilla/live/filesystem.squashfs /path/to/workdir
cd /path/to/workdir

Unpack the file then move it somewhere else (so you still have it as a backup):

unsquashfs filesystem.squashfs
mv filesystem.squashfs /path/to/backup/

Go in squashfs-root, add/modify as per your taste then recreate filesystem.squashfs:

cd /path/to/workdir
mksquashfs squashfs-root filesystem.squashfs -b 1024k -comp xz -Xbcj x86 -e boot

copy the newly created filesystem.squashfs over the existing one on your USB drive, e.g.:

cp filesystem.squashfs /mnt/clonezilla/live/

then reboot and use your LIVE USB.

Note: the above commands are part of squashfs-tools.

  • This works great, but unfortunately, I get a message for all the root directories telling me Source directory entry bin already used! - trying bin_1. Sure enough, in my output filesystem, I have a /bin and a /bin_1, rather than merging the folder. Any ideas? If I run with -noappend, the filesystem simply doesn't work. Jun 23 '13 at 19:25
  • 1
    @TKKocheran - I'm not getting any of those errors here after adding a custom script in /usr/bin and repacking with mksquashfs. USB drive boots fine and I can use my script from the live session. Make sure you no longer have the old filesystem.squashfs in the same directory with your modified squashfs-root before running mksquashfs. Jun 23 '13 at 19:53
  • 1
    @Naftuli: You seem to have skipped the "mv ... backup/" step. Jun 14 '18 at 7:14
  • Does this work not under (fake)root? Just from extracting I get the error create_inode: could not create character device squashfs-root/dev/audio, because you're not superuser!
    – Wilf
    Aug 8 '18 at 9:43
  • @Wilf - you cannot create device files (squashfs-root/dev/*) as regular user, you need root privileges. Aug 8 '18 at 10:26

If your system supports some uion-filesystem, such as aufs or overlayfs, you don't have to extract your original squashfs file.

For example the overlayfs is used( a kernel option to enable it): You can mount your squashfs.file to /fm or somewhere else first. Prepare a writable filesystem with 2 directories in it, say /to and /temp. prepare another writable directory /fin for the merged results. Mount them together as an overlayfs to your system ---

mount -t overlay -o lowerdir=/fm,upperdir=/to,workdir=/temp overlay /fin

Now you can add/modify files in /fin. Once everything done, you can mksquashfs /fin to a new squashfs file,

mksquashfs /fin newfile; umount /fin

, then clear/unmount all the other used directories as you will.

The squashfs and some unionfs are commonly used for a live-cd.

  • If you delete a file from the mounted /fin, will it be removed from the final squashfs you create?
    – localhost
    Feb 3 '18 at 12:34

Here, I found an other answer:

bash# mount dir.sqsh /mnt/dir -t squashfs -o loop
  • 8
    The above command will mount it read-only, which is better than not mounting it at all; alas, not a complete answer to the question at hand. Mar 23 '17 at 16:25
  • I agree that it is not a complete answer. Together with unix.stackexchange.com/a/377269/27328 you can build an answer where you do not need to unpack your file system to modify it - less space, less time.
    – User
    Mar 2 '19 at 19:16
  • Simplest method, worked on CentOS 7
    – Seff
    Apr 11 '19 at 6:02

Using overlayfs as shown is the best way to have pseudo "squashfs rw" ; It requires however to run on > 4.x kernel (or ubuntu >14.x trusty ).

An alternative solution when one is sitting on older live cd without any overlayfs/aufs/unionfs is to make use of squashfs'own capabilities

Important: Without unsquashfs, so this can be done on low storage system


Modify squashfs's "usr" directory

mount squashfs_file /mnt    # 1
cp -a /mnt/usr $HOME        # 2  Modify whatever $HOME/usr as needed
mksquashfs /mnt new_squashfs_file -wildcards -e usr   # 3
mksquashfs $HOME/usr new_squashfs_file -keep-as-directory # 4
umount /mnt  # 5  Cleanup

Line 3 builds temporarily squashfsfile excluding olddir_usr
Line 4 appends modified-usr-dir into new_squashfsfile

See here append squashfs

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