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Is it possible to convert btrfs to ext4 without losing data? I'm experiencing a very low speed on read/write operations on btrfs.

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I'm just going on the available tools, not experience or documentation. You might want to test this with a partition (even just an image) you don't mind losing if it all goes wrong. Don't attempt this without taking a backup.

btrfs-convert has a roll-back function to undo a conversion. I'm not sure if this works for partitions that weren't converted to btrfs with btrfs-convert.

  1. Start by unmounting the filesystem. If it's essential to the system, boot into a LiveCD.

  2. Install btrfs-tools

    sudo apt-get install btrfs-tools
  3. Roll back the conversion

    sudo btrfs-convert -r /dev/sdXn
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Note, that this will only work with converted filesystems and only if you haven't deleted the snapshot of the original ext3/4 filesystem. – htorque Apr 21 '11 at 15:19
Thank you but unfortunately this doesn't work for a btrfs partition not converted from other file systems. H guess I have to reinstall. – mFat Apr 23 '11 at 4:14
Be aware that this will discard any changes made on the filesystem since you converted it. It will be restored to the contents of the ext2/3 filesystem as it was before you converted. – poolie Jan 27 '12 at 9:07

As far as I know you cannot convert btrfs to any other filesystem.

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not true if you converted ext to btrfs! you would have a snapshot to roll back the changes – Fookatchu Mar 21 '14 at 17:55

I did this using a system with multiboot distros (Ubuntu on ext4, Xubuntu on btrfs). Running Ubuntu, I have taken the Xubuntu btrfs home partition, and archived it using fsarchiver. I was then able to restore it, again using fsarchiver, to a different partition and specify ext4 filesystem type. That seemed to work okay.

Still in Ubuntu, I mounted the Xubuntu root partition on /mnt, and edited /mnt/@/etc/fstab to change the mount for /home to point to the new ext4 partition, changing both the UUID and the fs type, and deleting the subvolume data. I saved the file, and rebooted into Xubuntu.

There was an error in booting, and booting halted. The error was that I had another partition I wanted to mount to my ~/Documents directory which failed. I selected to manually fix the problem. It turns out that my root partition mounted okay as ext4, but when I did a list command I got

#ls /home

So the original btrfs subvolume structure was still there in the ext4 filesystem. I issued the command

mount --bind /home/@home /home

I then pressed ctrl-D to continue booting, and Xubuntu continued booting and everything came up fine. I haven't done it yet, as I'm still on this initial boot, but I'm certain I could put that bind command in my fstab file. Or perhaps I could have left the subvolume info in the fstab entry, I don't know.

What I will do instead, however (this is off-topic), is take a more mature instance of a /home (ext4) partition for Xubuntu from another computer and use that instead. I've already proven that this will work.

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