How to Scan & Repair Linux Disk Errors - CentLinux

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

How to Scan & Repair Linux Disk Errors

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In this article, you will learn how to repair Linux disk errors by using fsck and xfs_repair commands.

 

Table of Contents:

 

What is FSCK?:

The system utility fsck (file system consistency check) is a tool for checking the consistency of a file system in Unix and Unix-like operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD.

Generally, fsck is run either automatically at boot time, or manually by the system administrator. The command works directly on data structures stored on disk, which are internal and specific to the particular file system in use - so an fsck command tailored to the file system is generally required. The exact behaviors of various fsck implementations vary, but they typically follow a common order of internal operations and provide a common command-line interface to the user. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Recommended Book: Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming by Mark Sobell & Matthew Helmke

Recommended Training:1Z0-409 Oracle Linux Fundamentals Certified Practice Exam

 

List Linux Disk Partitions and Types:

First of all you need to identify the disk partitions in your Linux server, their respective file systems and the path where they are being mounted.

By using a console or a ssh client, connect with your Linux server as root user.

You can execute the lsblk command with following switches at the Linux bash prompt to list the required information.

# lsblk -o NAME,FSTYPE,MOUNTPOINT
NAME        FSTYPE      MOUNTPOINT
sda
├─sda1      ext4        /boot
└─sda2      LVM2_member
  ├─cl-root xfs         /
  ├─cl-swap swap        [SWAP]
  └─cl-home xfs         /home
sr0

 

Get Last Scanned Time of a Linux Disk:

You can find the last scan time for Linux Ext4 type partitions with the help of following command.

# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep checked
Last checked:             Sun Sep 29 20:03:14 2019

 

Scan & Repair a Ext4 Type Disk Partition:

To scan a Linux disk partition, you can use fsck (File System Consistency Check) command. But you are required to unmount that partition before checking and repairing it.

# umount /dev/sda1

After successful unmount, execute fsck command at Linux bash prompt.

# fsck.ext4 /dev/sda1
e2fsck 1.45.6 (20-Mar-2020)
/dev/sda1: clean, 320/65536 files, 61787/262144 blocks

After checking and repairing your Linux disk, mount the partition again at its respective mountpoint.

For this purpose, execute following Linux command to mount all the disk partitions listed in /etc/fstab file.

# mount -a

 

Enable Scanning of Ext4 Disk Partitions at Linux Startup:

To enable disk checking at the time of Linux startup. You have to modify the Mount Count parameter for that disk partition.

# tune2fs -c 1 /dev/sda1
tune2fs 1.45.6 (20-Mar-2020)
Setting maximal mount count to 1

Reboot your Linux server now.

# reboot

Linux command fsck is now check your Ext4 disk partition on startup.

After reboot, get the Last Checked value for your disk partition, now it will show you the time of last Linux startup.

# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep checked
Last checked:             Sun Aug  1 22:50:46 2021

Set back the Mount Count parameter, or it will keep performing disk scans on each Linux boot.

# tune2fs -c -1 /dev/sda1
tune2fs 1.45.6 (20-Mar-2020)
Setting maximal mount count to -1

 

What is XFS_REPAIR?:

XFS is a high-performance 64-bit journaling file system created by Silicon Graphics, Inc (SGI) in 1993. It was the default file system in SGI's IRIX operating system starting with its version 5.3. XFS was ported to the Linux kernel in 2001; as of June 2014, XFS is supported by most Linux distributions, some of which use it as the default file system.

The xfs_repair utility is highly scalable and is designed to repair even very large file systems with many inodes efficiently. Unlike other Linux file systems, xfs_repair does not run at boot time, even when an XFS file system was not cleanly unmounted. In the event of an unclean unmount, xfs_repair simply replays the log at mount time, ensuring a consistent file system.

 

Scan & Repair a XFS Type Disk Partition:

XFS type disk partitions have their own set of commands, that are a little bit different from Ext4.

You must unmount a XFS disk partition before checking it for consistency.

# umount /dev/mapper/cl-home

We have xfs_repair command for checking and repairing the disk errors.

In some Linux distros, you may also find xfs_check command. This command only perform scanning of XFS type disk partitions and do not perform any repair.

But xfs_check command is not available in all Linux distros.

Alternatively, you can use xfs_repair command with -n switch to get the same functionality as of xfs_check.

# xfs_repair -n /dev/mapper/cl-home
Phase 1 - find and verify superblock...
Phase 2 - using internal log
        - zero log...
        - scan filesystem freespace and inode maps...
        - found root inode chunk
Phase 3 - for each AG...
        - scan (but don't clear) agi unlinked lists...
        - process known inodes and perform inode discovery...
        - agno = 0
        - agno = 1
        - agno = 2
        - agno = 3
        - process newly discovered inodes...
Phase 4 - check for duplicate blocks...
        - setting up duplicate extent list...
        - check for inodes claiming duplicate blocks...
        - agno = 0
        - agno = 1
        - agno = 2
        - agno = 3
No modify flag set, skipping phase 5
Phase 6 - check inode connectivity...
        - traversing filesystem ...
        - traversal finished ...
        - moving disconnected inodes to lost+found ...
Phase 7 - verify link counts...
No modify flag set, skipping filesystem flush and exiting.

The above command only perform disk checking and do not try to repair any error.

Now, execute the xfs_repair command without -n switch and it will perform scanning and repairing of Linux disk partitions.

# xfs_repair /dev/mapper/cl-home
Phase 1 - find and verify superblock...
Phase 2 - using internal log
        - zero log...
        - scan filesystem freespace and inode maps...
        - found root inode chunk
Phase 3 - for each AG...
        - scan and clear agi unlinked lists...
        - process known inodes and perform inode discovery...
        - agno = 0
        - agno = 1
        - agno = 2
        - agno = 3
        - process newly discovered inodes...
Phase 4 - check for duplicate blocks...
        - setting up duplicate extent list...
        - check for inodes claiming duplicate blocks...
        - agno = 0
        - agno = 1
        - agno = 2
        - agno = 3
Phase 5 - rebuild AG headers and trees...
        - reset superblock...
Phase 6 - check inode connectivity...
        - resetting contents of realtime bitmap and summary inodes
        - traversing filesystem ...
        - traversal finished ...
        - moving disconnected inodes to lost+found ...
Phase 7 - verify and correct link counts...
done

Remount the XFS partition at its original mountpoint as listed in /etc/fstab file.

# mount -a

 

Enable Scanning of XFS Disk Partitions at Linux Startup:

In some scenarios you cannot unmount a disk partition, if the disk is in use by the Linux operating system. For this reason you may have to defer the disk checking until next system boot.

To enable xfs_repair command to run on Linux startup, add "fsck.mode=force fsck.repair=yes" at the end of GRUB menu kernel command.

You can refer to our previous post about Editing GRUB menu.

After Linux startup, check the system log to verify the execution of disk repair command.

# journalctl | grep  systemd-fsck

To permanently enable disk checking at startup, you have to add "fsck.mode=force fsck.repair=yes" in GRUB configuration files.

Edit grub configuration file in vim text editor.

# vi /etc/default/grub

Locate GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX parameter and append "fsck.mode=force fsck.repair=yes" at the end of line.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="resume=/dev/mapper/cl-swap rd.lvm.lv=cl/root rd.lvm.lv=cl/swap rhgb quiet fsck.mode=force fsck.repair=yes"

Regenerate GRUB menu configurations based on new parameters.

# grub2-mkconfig

Reboot your Linux operating system to verify the new settings.

# reboot

 

Conclusion:

You have successfully performed scanning and repairing of Linux Disk partitions of Ext4 and XFS types.

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