Very slow ext3 fsck

Jeremy Sanders jss at
Thu Feb 22 23:01:21 UTC 2007

Theodore Tso wrote:

> Did you run fsck out of a command-line?  It should respond to a normal
> kill or ctrl-c.  If it isn't I have to wonder whether the device
> driver is locked up for some reason.

fsck is running over an xterm (over an ssh connection). It doesn't seem to
respond to ctrl+c or kill commands (I haven't tried kill -9 yet).

> Can you login via ssh or a second console?  If so, run "ps aux" and
> "ps lx" and report back what the e2fsck ps lines shows.

The system is working fine (except for the fsck). I don't think it's paging
as the CPU usage is 100%.

xback1:~:$ ps aux|grep fsck
root      4521  0.0  0.0 51992  404 pts/0    S+   Feb19   0:00
fsck /dev/xbackup1/xback1_backup1
root      4522 91.0 43.8 2126784 446772 pts/0 RN+ Feb19 4589:42
fsck.ext2 /dev/xbackup1/xback1_backup1

xback1:~:$ ps lx  |grep fsck
0   914  5278  4990  16   0 51084  688 pipe_w S+   pts/1      0:00 grep fsck

> Also, how much memory do you have?  3.5TB is pretty big, and if you
> don't have enough memory, it could just simply be a matter of the
> system paging its brains out.

There is 1GB of memory. fsck seems resident at around 440MB, and uses 2GB
total virtual memory. There's nothing else large running on the system, so
I don't see why it wouldn't be using all the memory if it's swapping. There
is no apparent disk activity.

By the way, the system is a hyperthreading P4, running in 64 bit mode.


Jeremy Sanders <jss at>
X-Ray Group, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK.
Public Key Server PGP Key ID: E1AAE053

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