e2fsck - check a Linux ext2/ext3/ext4 file system
e2fsck [ -pacnyrdfkvtDFV ] [ -b superblock ] [ -B blocksize ] [ -l|-L
bad_blocks_file ] [ -C fd ] [ -j external-journal ] [ -E
extended_options ] device
e2fsck is used to check the ext2/ext3/ext4 family of file systems. For
ext3 and ext4 filesystems that use a journal, if the system has been
shut down uncleanly without any errors, normally, after replaying the
committed transactions in the journal, the file system should be
marked as clean. Hence, for filesystems that use journalling, e2fsck
will normally replay the journal and exit, unless its superblock
indicates that further checking is required.
device is the device file where the filesystem is stored (e.g.
Note that in general it is not safe to run e2fsck on mounted
filesystems. The only exception is if the -n option is specified, and
-c, -l, or -L options are not specified. However, even if it is safe
to do so, the results printed by e2fsck are not valid if the filesystem
is mounted. If e2fsck asks whether or not you should check a
filesystem which is mounted, the only correct answer is ‘‘no’’. Only
experts who really know what they are doing should consider answering
this question in any other way.
-a This option does the same thing as the -p option. It is
provided for backwards compatibility only; it is suggested that
people use -p option whenever possible.
Instead of using the normal superblock, use an alternative
superblock specified by superblock. This option is normally
used when the primary superblock has been corrupted. The
location of the backup superblock is dependent on the
filesystem’s blocksize. For filesystems with 1k blocksizes, a
backup superblock can be found at block 8193; for filesystems
with 2k blocksizes, at block 16384; and for 4k blocksizes, at
Additional backup superblocks can be determined by using the
mke2fs program using the -n option to print out where the
superblocks were created. The -b option to mke2fs, which
specifies blocksize of the filesystem must be specified in order
for the superblock locations that are printed out to be
If an alternative superblock is specified and the filesystem is
not opened read-only, e2fsck will make sure that the primary
superblock is updated appropriately upon completion of the
Normally, e2fsck will search for the superblock at various
different block sizes in an attempt to find the appropriate
block size. This search can be fooled in some cases. This
option forces e2fsck to only try locating the superblock at a
particular blocksize. If the superblock is not found, e2fsck
will terminate with a fatal error.
-c This option causes e2fsck to use badblocks(8) program to do a
read-only scan of the device in order to find any bad blocks.
If any bad blocks are found, they are added to the bad block
inode to prevent them from being allocated to a file or
directory. If this option is specified twice, then the bad
block scan will be done using a non-destructive read-write test.
-C fd This option causes e2fsck to write completion information to the
specified file descriptor so that the progress of the filesystem
check can be monitored. This option is typically used by
programs which are running e2fsck. If the file descriptor
number is negative, then absolute value of the file descriptor
will be used, and the progress information will be suppressed
initially. It can later be enabled by sending the e2fsck
process a SIGUSR1 signal. If the file descriptor specified is
0, e2fsck will print a completion bar as it goes about its
business. This requires that e2fsck is running on a video
console or terminal.
-d Print debugging output (useless unless you are debugging
-D Optimize directories in filesystem. This option causes e2fsck
to try to optimize all directories, either by reindexing them if
the filesystem supports directory indexing, or by sorting and
compressing directories for smaller directories, or for
filesystems using traditional linear directories.
Even without the -D option, e2fsck may sometimes optimize a few
directories --- for example, if directory indexing is enabled
and a directory is not indexed and would benefit from being
indexed, or if the index structures are corrupted and need to be
rebuilt. The -D option forces all directories in the filesystem
to be optimized. This can sometimes make them a little smaller
and slightly faster to search, but in practice, you should
rarely need to use this option.
The -D option will detect directory entries with duplicate names
in a single directory, which e2fsck normally does not enforce
for performance reasons.
Set e2fsck extended options. Extended options are comma
separated, and may take an argument using the equals (’=’) sign.
The following options are supported:
Resolve files with shared blocks in pass 1D by
giving each file a private copy of the blocks (dup);
or replacing the shared blocks with private, zero-
filled blocks (zero). The default is dup.
Files with shared blocks discovered in pass 1D are
cloned and then left in place (preserve); cloned and
then disconnected from their parent directory, then
reconnected to /lost+found in pass 3 (lost+found);
or simply deleted (delete). The default is
Set the version of the extended attribute blocks
which e2fsck will require while checking the
filesystem. The version number may be 1 or 2. The
default extended attribute version format is 2.
A badness counter is associated with every inode,
which determines the degree of inode corruption.
Each error found in the inode will increase the
badness by 1 or 2, and inodes with a badness at or
above threshold_value will be prompted for deletion.
The default threshold_value is 7.
During pass 1, print a detailed report of any
discontiguous blocks for files in the filesystem.
-f Force checking even if the file system seems clean.
-F Flush the filesystem device’s buffer caches before beginning.
Only really useful for doing e2fsck time trials.
Set the pathname where the external-journal for this filesystem
can be found.
-k When combined with the -c option, any existing bad blocks in the
bad blocks list are preserved, and any new bad blocks found by
running badblocks(8) will be added to the existing bad blocks
Add the block numbers listed in the file specified by filename
to the list of bad blocks. The format of this file is the same
as the one generated by the badblocks(8) program. Note that the
block numbers are based on the blocksize of the filesystem.
Hence, badblocks(8) must be given the blocksize of the
filesystem in order to obtain correct results. As a result, it
is much simpler and safer to use the -c option to e2fsck, since
it will assure that the correct parameters are passed to the
Set the bad blocks list to be the list of blocks specified by
filename. (This option is the same as the -l option, except the
bad blocks list is cleared before the blocks listed in the file
are added to the bad blocks list.)
-n Open the filesystem read-only, and assume an answer of ‘no’ to
all questions. Allows e2fsck to be used non-interactively.
(Note: if the -c, -l, or -L options are specified in addition to
the -n option, then the filesystem will be opened read-write, to
permit the bad-blocks list to be updated. However, no other
changes will be made to the filesystem.) This option may not be
specified at the same time as the -p or -y options.
-p Automatically repair ("preen") the file system. This option
will cause e2fsck to automatically fix any filesystem problems
that can be safely fixed without human intervention. If e2fsck
discovers a problem which may require the system administrator
to take additional corrective action, e2fsck will print a
description of the problem and then exit with the value 4
logically or’ed into the exit code. (See the EXIT CODE
section.) This option is normally used by the system’s boot
scripts. It may not be specified at the same time as the -n or
-r This option does nothing at all; it is provided only for
-t Print timing statistics for e2fsck. If this option is used
twice, additional timing statistics are printed on a pass by
-v Verbose mode.
-V Print version information and exit.
-y Assume an answer of ‘yes’ to all questions; allows e2fsck to be
used non-interactively. This option may not be specified at the
same time as the -n or -p options.
Specify which file to use for an MDS database on a Lustre
filesystem. The mdsdb also needs to be specified when creating
an OST database with --ostdb but the mdsdb file used in a read-
Specify which file to use for an OST database on a Lustre
filesystem. A separate database file should be specified for
each OST device in the filesystem. For convenience a stub
mdsdb.hdr file is generated for use by the OST e2fsck to avoid
the need to wait for the MDS e2fsck to finish or copy the full
mdsdb to the OSTs.
The exit code returned by e2fsck is the sum of the following
0 - No errors
1 - File system errors corrected
2 - File system errors corrected, system should
4 - File system errors left uncorrected
8 - Operational error
16 - Usage or syntax error
32 - E2fsck canceled by user request
128 - Shared library error
The following signals have the following effect when sent to e2fsck.
This signal causes e2fsck to start displaying a completion bar
or emitting progress information. (See discussion of the -C
This signal causes e2fsck to stop displaying a completion bar or
emitting progress information.
Almost any piece of software will have bugs. If you manage to find a
filesystem which causes e2fsck to crash, or which e2fsck is unable to
repair, please report it to the author.
Please include as much information as possible in your bug report.
Ideally, include a complete transcript of the e2fsck run, so I can see
exactly what error messages are displayed. (Make sure the messages
printed by e2fsck are in English; if your system has been configured so
that e2fsck’s messages have been translated into another language,
please set the the LC_ALL environment variable to C so that the
transcript of e2fsck’s output will be useful to me.) If you have a
writable filesystem where the transcript can be stored, the script(1)
program is a handy way to save the output of e2fsck to a file.
It is also useful to send the output of dumpe2fs(8). If a specific
inode or inodes seems to be giving e2fsck trouble, try running the
debugfs(8) command and send the output of the stat(1u) command run on
the relevant inode(s). If the inode is a directory, the debugfs dump
command will allow you to extract the contents of the directory inode,
which can sent to me after being first run through uuencode(1). The
most useful data you can send to help reproduce the bug is a compressed
raw image dump of the filesystem, generated using e2image(8). See the
e2image(8) man page for more details.
Always include the full version string which e2fsck displays when it is
run, so I know which version you are running.
This version of e2fsck was written by Theodore Ts’o <email@example.com>.
e2fsck.conf(5), badblocks(8), dumpe2fs(8), debugfs(8), e2image(8),