FSCK(8) MAINTENANCE COMMANDS FSCK(8)
fsck - check and repair a Linux file system
fsck [-lsAVRTMNP] [-C [fd]] [-t fstype] [filesys...] [--] [fs-specific-options]
fsck is used to check and optionally repair one or more Linux file systems. filesys can
be a device name (e.g. /dev/hdc1, /dev/sdb2), a mount point (e.g. /, /usr, /home), or an
ext2 label or UUID specifier (e.g. UUID=8868abf6-88c5-4a83-98b8-bfc24057f7bd or
LABEL=root). Normally, the fsck program will try to handle filesystems on different phys-
ical disk drives in parallel to reduce the total amount of time needed to check all of the
If no filesystems are specified on the command line, and the -A option is not specified,
fsck will default to checking filesystems in /etc/fstab serially. This is equivalent to
the -As options.
The exit code returned by fsck is the sum of the following conditions:
0 - No errors
1 - File system errors corrected
2 - System should be rebooted
4 - File system errors left uncorrected
8 - Operational error
16 - Usage or syntax error
32 - Fsck canceled by user request
128 - Shared library error
The exit code returned when multiple file systems are checked is the bit-wise OR of the
exit codes for each file system that is checked.
In actuality, fsck is simply a front-end for the various file system checkers
(fsck.fstype) available under Linux. The file system-specific checker is searched for in
/sbin first, then in /etc/fs and /etc, and finally in the directories listed in the PATH
environment variable. Please see the file system-specific checker manual pages for fur-
-l Lock whole-disk device by exclusive flock(2). This option can be used with one
device only (e.g. -A and -l are mutually exclusive). This option is recommended
when more fsck (8) instances are executed in the same time. The option is ignored
when used for multiple devices or for non-rotating disk. The fsck does not lock
underlying devices if executed to check stacked devices (e.g. MD or DM) -- this
feature is not implemented yet.
-s Serialize fsck operations. This is a good idea if you are checking multiple
filesystems and the checkers are in an interactive mode. (Note: e2fsck(8) runs in
an interactive mode by default. To make e2fsck(8) run in a non-interactive mode,
you must either specify the -p or -a option, if you wish for errors to be corrected
automatically, or the -n option if you do not.)
Specifies the type(s) of file system to be checked. When the -A flag is specified,
only filesystems that match fslist are checked. The fslist parameter is a comma-
separated list of filesystems and options specifiers. All of the filesystems in
this comma-separated list may be prefixed by a negation operator 'no' or '!', which
requests that only those filesystems not listed in fslist will be checked. If all
of the filesystems in fslist are not prefixed by a negation operator, then only
those filesystems listed in fslist will be checked.
Options specifiers may be included in the comma-separated fslist. They must have
the format opts=fs-option. If an options specifier is present, then only filesys-
tems which contain fs-option in their mount options field of /etc/fstab will be
checked. If the options specifier is prefixed by a negation operator, then only
those filesystems that do not have fs-option in their mount options field of
/etc/fstab will be checked.
For example, if opts=ro appears in fslist, then only filesystems listed in
/etc/fstab with the ro option will be checked.
For compatibility with Mandrake distributions whose boot scripts depend upon an
unauthorized UI change to the fsck program, if a filesystem type of loop is found
in fslist, it is treated as if opts=loop were specified as an argument to the -t
Normally, the filesystem type is deduced by searching for filesys in the /etc/fstab
file and using the corresponding entry. If the type can not be deduced, and there
is only a single filesystem given as an argument to the -t option, fsck will use
the specified filesystem type. If this type is not available, then the default
file system type (currently ext2) is used.
-A Walk through the /etc/fstab file and try to check all file systems in one run.
This option is typically used from the /etc/rc system initialization file, instead
of multiple commands for checking a single file system.
The root filesystem will be checked first unless the -P option is specified (see
below). After that, filesystems will be checked in the order specified by the
fs_passno (the sixth) field in the /etc/fstab file. Filesystems with a fs_passno
value of 0 are skipped and are not checked at all. Filesystems with a fs_passno
value of greater than zero will be checked in order, with filesystems with the low-
est fs_passno number being checked first. If there are multiple filesystems with
the same pass number, fsck will attempt to check them in parallel, although it will
avoid running multiple filesystem checks on the same physical disk.
fsck does not check stacked devices (RAIDs, dm-crypt, ...) in parallel with any
other device. See below for FSCK_FORCE_ALL_PARALLEL setting. The /sys filesystem is
used to detemine dependencies between devices.
Hence, a very common configuration in /etc/fstab files is to set the root filesys-
tem to have a fs_passno value of 1 and to set all other filesystems to have a
fs_passno value of 2. This will allow fsck to automatically run filesystem check-
ers in parallel if it is advantageous to do so. System administrators might choose
not to use this configuration if they need to avoid multiple filesystem checks run-
ning in parallel for some reason --- for example, if the machine in question is
short on memory so that excessive paging is a concern.
fsck normally does not check whether the device actually exists before calling a
file system specific checker. Therefore non-existing devices may cause the system
to enter file system repair mode during boot if the filesystem specific checker
returns a fatal error. The /etc/fstab mount option nofail may be used to have fsck
skip non-existing devices. fsck also skips non-existing devices that have the spe-
cial file system type auto
-C [ fd ]
Display completion/progress bars for those filesystem checkers (currently only for
ext2 and ext3) which support them. Fsck will manage the filesystem checkers so
that only one of them will display a progress bar at a time. GUI front-ends may
specify a file descriptor fd, in which case the progress bar information will be
sent to that file descriptor.
-M Do not check mounted filesystems and return an exit code of 0 for mounted filesys-
-N Don't execute, just show what would be done.
-P When the -A flag is set, check the root filesystem in parallel with the other
filesystems. This is not the safest thing in the world to do, since if the root
filesystem is in doubt things like the e2fsck(8) executable might be corrupted!
This option is mainly provided for those sysadmins who don't want to repartition
the root filesystem to be small and compact (which is really the right solution).
-R When checking all file systems with the -A flag, skip the root file system (in case
it's already mounted read-write).
-T Don't show the title on startup.
-V Produce verbose output, including all file system-specific commands that are exe-
Options which are not understood by fsck are passed to the filesystem-specific
checker. These arguments must not take arguments, as there is no way for fsck to
be able to properly guess which arguments take options and which don't.
Options and arguments which follow the -- are treated as file system-specific
options to be passed to the file system-specific checker.
Please note that fsck is not designed to pass arbitrarily complicated options to
filesystem-specific checkers. If you're doing something complicated, please just
execute the filesystem-specific checker directly. If you pass fsck some horribly
complicated option and arguments, and it doesn't do what you expect, don't bother
reporting it as a bug. You're almost certainly doing something that you shouldn't
be doing with fsck.
Options to different filesystem-specific fsck's are not standardized. If in doubt, please
consult the man pages of the filesystem-specific checker. Although not guaranteed, the
following options are supported by most file system checkers:
-a Automatically repair the file system without any questions (use this option with
caution). Note that e2fsck(8) supports -a for backwards compatibility only. This
option is mapped to e2fsck's -p option which is safe to use, unlike the -a option
that some file system checkers support.
-n For some filesystem-specific checkers, the -n option will cause the fs-specific
fsck to avoid attempting to repair any problems, but simply report such problems to
stdout. This is however not true for all filesystem-specific checkers. In partic-
ular, fsck.reiserfs(8) will not report any corruption if given this option.
fsck.minix(8) does not support the -n option at all.
-r Interactively repair the filesystem (ask for confirmations). Note: It is generally
a bad idea to use this option if multiple fsck's are being run in parallel. Also
note that this is e2fsck's default behavior; it supports this option for backwards
compatibility reasons only.
-y For some filesystem-specific checkers, the -y option will cause the fs-specific
fsck to always attempt to fix any detected filesystem corruption automatically.
Sometimes an expert may be able to do better driving the fsck manually. Note that
not all filesystem-specific checkers implement this option. In particular
fsck.minix(8) and fsck.cramfs(8) does not support the -y option as of this writing.
Theodore Ts'o (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The fsck command is part of the util-linux package and is available from ftp://ftp.ker-
The fsck program's behavior is affected by the following environment variables:
If this environment variable is set, fsck will attempt to run all of the specified
filesystems in parallel, regardless of whether the filesystems appear to be on the
same device. (This is useful for RAID systems or high-end storage systems such as
those sold by companies such as IBM or EMC.) Note that the fs_passno value is still
This environment variable will limit the maximum number of file system checkers
that can be running at one time. This allows configurations which have a large
number of disks to avoid fsck starting too many file system checkers at once, which
might overload CPU and memory resources available on the system. If this value is
zero, then an unlimited number of processes can be spawned. This is currently the
default, but future versions of fsck may attempt to automatically determine how
many file system checks can be run based on gathering accounting data from the
PATH The PATH environment variable is used to find file system checkers. A set of sys-
tem directories are searched first: /sbin, /sbin/fs.d, /sbin/fs, /etc/fs, and /etc.
Then the set of directories found in the PATH environment are searched.
This environment variable allows the system administrator to override the standard
location of the /etc/fstab file. It is also useful for developers who are testing
fstab(5), mkfs(8), fsck.ext2(8) or fsck.ext3(8) or e2fsck(8), cramfsck(8), fsck.minix(8),
fsck.msdos(8), fsck.jfs(8), fsck.nfs(8), fsck.vfat(8), fsck.xfs(8), fsck.xiafs(8), reis-
Linux February 2009 FSCK(8)