When your file system implodes

Ecrit le 22/04/2019

When everything falls apart on itself to the point where your file system implodes… it causes a lot of problems. I will talk about my little misadventure with a corruption that came out of nowhere from BTRFS and everything that followed… I will try to make a story that is fairly consistent with the memories I have of all this.

The day when everything went wrong

Everything was going pretty well, little update of the kernel and the rest of the machine because it’s good to stay up to date. Then reboot….

What the heck is that !?

BTRFS refused to mount my SSDs1 because it couldn’t open the checkum tree. I try again without doing anything. On a misunderstanding, you never know what it might do. Still nothing. I’m starting to wonder why and how. Glad I still had my two USB sticks: one with Xubuntu and another with ArchLinux.

All this on a Friday evening that was about to pass on its torch to a Saturday. I was tired.

Search on the web

When we said that BTRFS is still young and we don’t necessarily find everything we need. Well, I searched from top to bottom with several keywords before coming across a page of the BTRFS wiki for the btrfs-check command. I typed in the commands that I thought were useful before trying to mount and reboot.

The kernel is in the place

magic smoke

The kernel doesn’t want to know anything anymore with a kernel panic. I think I let the magic smoke escape!

A reinstallation of the kernel with the Archlinux USB live and reinstallation of the bootloader and normally we should not be too bad. Indeed, no more panic kernel at boot time and the file system is mounted correctly. I was allowed some corrupted files in the file system but… nothing serious.

What could have happened?

I don’t heckin know. The file system may have imploded. I can’t say what really happened.


  1. Two SSDs in RAID 1 BTRFS