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How To Fix the “Missing ‘lowerdir'” Boot Problem After Ubuntu 18.04 Update

Ubuntu 15

If you’ve recently updated your Ubuntu 18.04 system and encountered the error message “aufs aufs_fill_super:912:mount[1089]: no arg overlayfs: missing ‘lowerdir'”, you’re not alone. This issue can be frustrating, but there are several potential solutions. This article will guide you through the process of diagnosing and resolving this problem.

Understanding the Issue

The “missing ‘lowerdir'” error usually occurs during the boot process after a system update. It’s associated with the aufs or overlayfs file systems, which are often used in conjunction with Docker and other containerization technologies. The error message indicates that the system can’t find the ‘lowerdir’, which is a critical component of these file systems.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Insufficient Disk Space

One potential cause of this error is a lack of free space on your device. When the system doesn’t have enough space to perform necessary operations, it can result in errors like this one.

Solution: Boot into recovery mode and check for available space. You can do this by restarting your system, holding down the Shift key during boot to open the GRUB menu, and selecting ‘Advanced options for Ubuntu’ followed by ‘Recovery mode’.

Once you’re in recovery mode, select ‘root’ to open a shell prompt. Type the command df -h to display the amount of disk space used and available on all mounted filesystems. If you see that your disk space is almost full, you’ll need to free up some space.

You can do this by removing unnecessary files and packages. For example, the command sudo apt-get autoremove will remove packages that were automatically installed to satisfy dependencies for other packages and are now no longer needed.

Xorg/Nvidia Graphics Card Driver

Another potential cause is a problem with the Xorg/Nvidia graphics card driver.

Solution: Boot into recovery mode as described above. Once you’re at the shell prompt, you can try switching to the proprietary Nvidia driver with the command sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall.

Alternatively, you can try reinstalling the Linux image. Use the command sudo apt-get install --reinstall linux-image-$(uname -r). This command uses the uname -r command to get the current kernel version, and reinstalls the Linux image for that version.

Docker

In some cases, the issue may be related to Docker.

Solution: Try removing Docker with the command snap remove docker. This command uses the ‘snap’ package management system to remove Docker.

Display Manager Conflicts

The issue may also be caused by conflicts with the display manager.

Solution: Try reinstalling your display manager. For example, if you’re using lightdm, you can reinstall it with the command sudo apt-get install --reinstall lightdm. During the installation process, you’ll be asked to choose your default display manager. Try choosing a different option (e.g., gdm) to see if this resolves the issue.

Conclusion

The “missing ‘lowerdir'” boot problem can be frustrating, but there are several potential solutions. By carefully diagnosing the issue and trying different solutions, you should be able to resolve the problem and get your system back up and running. Remember to always back up your data before making any major changes to your system.

How do I boot into recovery mode in Ubuntu 18.04?

To boot into recovery mode in Ubuntu 18.04, restart your system and hold down the Shift key during boot to open the GRUB menu. Then, select ‘Advanced options for Ubuntu’ followed by ‘Recovery mode’.

How do I check the available disk space in recovery mode?

In recovery mode, you can check the available disk space by selecting ‘root’ to open a shell prompt. Then, type the command df -h to display the amount of disk space used and available on all mounted filesystems.

How can I free up disk space on my Ubuntu 18.04 system?

To free up disk space on your Ubuntu 18.04 system, you can remove unnecessary files and packages. For example, you can use the command sudo apt-get autoremove to remove packages that were automatically installed to satisfy dependencies for other packages and are no longer needed.

How do I switch to the proprietary Nvidia driver in recovery mode?

In recovery mode, you can switch to the proprietary Nvidia driver by using the command sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall.

How can I reinstall the Linux image in recovery mode?

In recovery mode, you can reinstall the Linux image by using the command sudo apt-get install --reinstall linux-image-$(uname -r). This command gets the current kernel version using uname -r and reinstalls the Linux image for that version.

How do I remove Docker in Ubuntu 18.04?

To remove Docker in Ubuntu 18.04, you can use the command snap remove docker. This command utilizes the ‘snap’ package management system to remove Docker.

How do I reinstall the display manager in Ubuntu 18.04?

To reinstall the display manager in Ubuntu 18.04, you can use the command sudo apt-get install --reinstall [display-manager-name]. For example, if you’re using lightdm, the command would be sudo apt-get install --reinstall lightdm.

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