how does ext3 handle no communication to storage

Theodore Tso tytso at
Tue Aug 29 17:03:51 UTC 2006

On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 11:09:35AM -0400, Sev Binello wrote:
> From a strictly practical and immediate stand point,
> what is the best way to handle this situation if it should occur again in 
> the near future ?

Without any kernel patches, the best thing to do is, (a) don't restore
the path to the device, (b) unmount the filesystem, (c) Compile the
enclosed flushb program (also found in the e2fsprogs sources, but not
compiled by most or all distributions), and run it: "flushb
/dev/hdXX", and only after completing all of these steps, you can
restore the path and do fsck of the filesystem if you are feeling
sufficiently paranoid, and then remount it.

I wish I could offer you something better, but that's what we have at
the moment.

						- Ted

 * flushb.c --- This routine flushes the disk buffers for a disk
 * Copyright 1997, 2000, by Theodore Ts'o.
 * WARNING: use of flushb on some older 2.2 kernels on a heavily loaded
 * system will corrupt filesystems.  This program is not really useful
 * beyond for benchmarking scripts.
 * %Begin-Header%
 * This file may be redistributed under the terms of the GNU Public
 * License.
 * %End-Header%

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <sys/ioctl.h>
#include <sys/mount.h>

/* For Linux, define BLKFLSBUF if necessary */
#if (!defined(BLKFLSBUF) && defined(__linux__))
#define BLKFLSBUF	_IO(0x12,97)	/* flush buffer cache */

const char *progname;

static void usage(void)
	fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s disk\n", progname);
int main(int argc, char **argv)
	int	fd;
	progname = argv[0];
	if (argc != 2)

	fd = open(argv[1], O_RDONLY, 0);
	if (fd < 0) {
	 * Note: to reread the partition table, use the ioctl
	if (ioctl(fd, BLKFLSBUF, 0) < 0) {
		perror("ioctl BLKFLSBUF");
	return 0;

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