fsck − check and repair a Linux file system


fsck [ −sACVRTNP ] [ −t fstype ] [−−] [ fsck-options ] filesys [ ... ]


fsck is used to check and optionally repair a 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). The fsck program will try to run filesystems on different physical disk drives in parallel to reduce total amount time to check all of the filesystems.

The exit code returned by fsck is the sum of the following conditions:


− No errors


− File system errors corrected


− System should be rebooted


− File system errors left uncorrected


− Operational error


− Usage or syntax error


− Shared library error

The exit code returned when all file systems are checked using the −A option 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 further details.



Serialize fsck operations. This is a good idea if you 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.)

−t fstype

Specifies the type of file system to be checked. When the −A flag is specified, only filesystems that match fstype are checked. If fstype is prefixed with no then only filesystems whose type does not match fstype are checked.

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, fsck will use the type specified by the −t option if it specifies a unique filesystem type. If this type is not available, then the default file system type (currently ext2) is used.


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 initalization 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. If there are multiple filesystems with the same pass number, e2fsck will attempt to check them in parallel, although it will avoid running multiple filesystem checks on the same physical disk. Hence, a very common configuration in /etc/fstab files is to set the root filesystem to have a fs_passno value of 1 and to set all filesystems to have a fs_passno value of 2. This will allow fsck to automatically run filesystem checkers 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 running in parallel for some reason --- for example, if the machine in question is short on memory so that excessive paging is a concern.


Display completion/progress bars for those filesystems checkers (currently only for ext2) which support them. Fsck will manage the filesystem checkers so that only one of them will display a progress bar at a time.


Don’t execute, just show what would be done.


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).


When checking all file systems with the −A flag, skip the root file system (in case it’s already mounted read-write).


Don’t show the title on startup.


Produce verbose output, including all file system-specific commands that are executed.


Any options which are not understood by fsck, or which follow the −− option are treated as file system-specific options to be passed to the file system-specific checker.

Currently, standardized file system-specific options are somewhat in flux. Although not guaranteed, the following options are supported by most file system checkers:


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 most file system checkers support.


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.


Theodore Ts’o (tytso@mit.edu)

The manual page was shamelessly adapted from David Engel and Fred van Kempen’s generic fsck front end program, which was in turn shamelessly adapted from Remy Card’s version for the ext2 file system.




fstab(5), mkfs(8), fsck.minix(8), fsck.ext2(8) or e2fsck(8), fsck.xiafs(8).