e2fsck Command: Tutorial & Examples

File System Check and Repair

e2fsck is a command-line tool in Linux systems that checks and repairs ext2, ext3, and ext4, file systems. It is similar to the fsck command, but specifically designed for ext2/ext3/ext4 file systems, the most commonly used file systems in Linux. The command works by performing several sequential phases, each addressing certain aspects of the file system's integrity.

The e2fsck command is a crucial tool for maintaining the health of your file system and as such, it should be part of your Linux toolkit. It is typically used during system boot or maintenance mode, though it can be run manually if a problem is suspected.

When to Use e2fsck

Use the e2fsck command when you suspect file system corruption, usually after a system crash or power failure.

It's also helpful in dealing with inode problems, locating bad blocks, and fixing discrepancies in directories, block counts, and more.

However, it's crucial to avoid running e2fsck on a mounted partition as it may cause severe data corruption.

Basic Usage of e2fsck

To use e2fsck, you'll need to know the device name of the file system to check. You can find this using commands like lsblk or fdisk.

Here's an example of how to use e2fsck:

e2fsck /dev/sda1

This command will run e2fsck on the file system located on the device /dev/sda1.

Advanced Usage of e2fsck

e2fsck also provides several options to customize its behavior. Here are some examples:

  • Check only, no repair (-n option): This allows you to see what e2fsck would fix, without making changes.

    e2fsck -n /dev/sda1
  • Automatically repair (-p or -a option): This option automatically repairs any issues it finds without prompting for user intervention.

    e2fsck -p /dev/sda1
  • Force checking even if the system seems clean (-f option): Normally, e2fsck skips checking a file system if it seems clean. This option forces it to perform a check anyway.

    e2fsck -f /dev/sda1

Understanding e2fsck Output

e2fsck provides feedback on its checks and repairs, such as the number of files and blocks checked, the number of errors found and fixed, and more.

For example, after running e2fsck -p /dev/sda1, you might see an output like this:

/dev/sda1: 11/100 files (0.0% non-contiguous), 130/400 blocks

This indicates that e2fsck has checked 11 out of 100 files and 130 out of 400 blocks, with no files stored non-contiguously.


The e2fsck command is a powerful tool in a Linux administrator's arsenal for checking and repairing file systems. While it can be a bit complex to master, understanding its basics can go a long way in maintaining the health and integrity of your Linux systems.

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