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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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When clonezilla shows “overlayfs missing workdir” during boot, then hangs

Posted by jpluimers on 2018/01/22

Clonezilla is a nice partition cloning tool, but sometimes booting it just gives you this message on the screen:

overlayfs missing workdir

As it’s the first message during boot, searching for clonezilla “overlayfs missing workdir” returns no meaningful results towards the top of the list.

From what I could trace back from the search results is that somewhere before 2.4.x this started to happen in the “stable” branch.

There are actually two branches that in practice are stable on the

  • alternative stable (which doesn’t have a version number but a YYYYMMDD date followed by -yakketty)
  • stable (which has a version number)

I think because of the naming, people usually start downloading the stable version. That doesn’t boot on most of the physical and virtual machines I’ve tried.

In my experience however, alternative stable doesn’t suffer from the overlay missing workdir issue on all the physical and virtual machines I’ve tried booting it with so far.

So I did some digging:

  • alternative stable is often referred to a alternative but it’s an Ubuntu-based branch running the same clonezilla software as the stable branch
  • stable is the Debian-based branch.
  • Ubuntu is based on Debian but Ubuntu releases in a much faster pace than the release frequency of Debian Stable.
  • Ubuntu has support for more recent hardware than Debian

TL;DR: Use alternative stable when stable fails to boot.


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