I deleted two unused user accounts. Now I am unable to login even into my own account. I rebooted in recovery mode in the root shell and tried to restore the back-up of /etc/passwd. However, the filesystem is read-only!

I can only access root shell via recovery.

Can you help me?

  • @Jobin There is an existing bug for this. You may want to add your vote (the green writing near the top-left of the bug page). Feb 12, 2013 at 16:59
  • Thanks @PaddyLandau. Thought it was a security measure rather than a bug. Marked it as it affects me too :)
    – jobin
    Feb 12, 2013 at 17:06
  • Well, it used to work until (I think) 11.10. Feb 12, 2013 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


If I am not wrong, the filesystem is mounted read-only by default in Recovery mode. To mount it as read-write, go the recovery mode and choose root. Now type the following command:

mount -o rw,remount /

Note the spaces, you'll get an error if you ignore the spaces, or add extra ones too. And then you can copy as you tried earlier.

  • If your home is on an extra partition, you may also need the command mount --all. Feb 12, 2013 at 21:20
  • Any tips for "mount: special device remount does not exist"?
    – user319862
    Apr 16, 2017 at 0:11
  • Figured it out. Enabling network sets filesystem to read/write
    – user319862
    Apr 16, 2017 at 0:19

Recently on my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, I encountered error "System is running in low-graphics mode" and there is no way you can login or proceed beyond this error screen.

For me this happened when I renamed /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d directory while I was trying to solve one of the graphics related problems.


On the error window, press ctrl+alt+f3 to get to the console. Here the filesystem is mounted but in read-only mode so you can't edit to rename the directory back for correction.

To mount the filesystem in read-write mode, use following command

Command: mount -o rw,remount /

It would mount the filesystem in read-write mode. Now you can correct the name of the directory using mv command. Then, use exit command and Press Alt + multiple times till you get to the UI again.

If required, reboot the system using reboot command, now you should be able to login as usual.

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