In the past when I entered recovery-mode, the root filesystem was read-only and that was perfectly fine.

But now. after pressing enter at the prompt to drop to shell, it is mounted read-write. It is cumbersome to remount as read-only because many processes are accessing files on it.

I need root filesystem read-only when I am in recovery mode. How can I boot into recovery mode and have it read-only?

  • This is still an issue as of 18.04.3 in 2020..
    – Jarrad
    Feb 13, 2020 at 22:57

2 Answers 2


This happens because systemd (specifically, systemd-remount-fs.service) by design ignores your kernel parameter of ro. Whether this is a good or harebrained design is a matter of opinion, but for an objective workaround, you can add systemd.mask=systemd-remount-fs.service to your kernel parameters in grub, along with ro:

... systemd.mask=systemd-remount-fs.service ro

At initrd stage the root fs is in ro mode. And after systemd starts and remounts root fs into rw mode. I don't know guts of systemd well. So I tell you how to stop booting right before systemd. You need to add this line:


to the end of the kernel parameters. You'll get a command line and the root fs will be in ro mode.

  • This causes me to enter to initramfs shell which is fine for my purposes. Before I mark is correct, I will wait if somebody comes up with a solution which brings back original recovery console functionality with read-only root partition. Thanks!
    – yurtesen
    Oct 31, 2017 at 14:50

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