needs help, root inode gone after usb bus reset on sata disks

Jelle de Jong jelledejong at
Tue May 27 13:09:02 UTC 2008

Theodore Tso wrote:
> On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 10:56:32AM +0200, Jelle de Jong wrote:
>> I pluged in my USB to SATA converter in my harddisk that has an ext2
>> filesystem. I mounted the partition, went to a directory that had a DVD
>> image. I mounted the dvd image in the same directory and started
>> watching the movie. After 40 minutes the movie stops.
> Were you doing anything else on the computer; where there any write
> operations taking place?  If you were just reading from the
> filesystem, the fact that your filesystem was that badly damaged makes
> me deeply suspicious about your USB to SATA converter.

There was nothing else going on then watching a DVD form the disk. It 
may have been an usb issue, but I am using the same sata usb converter 
for several hours now without any problem. But an usb converter / power 
failure should not be able to create so much damage when just reading 

>> fsck.ext2 -p /dev/sdd1 did not work manual run is needed.
>> On the first 500GB disk I did an fsck.ext2 -y /dev/sdd1 did did not
>> fixed my disk it had still errors, I lost 35% of my data, but the
>> partition was mountable again, and the files where in the lost+found
>> directory.
> It looks like garbage was written into your block group descriptors,
> but since the superblock looked OK, e2fsck -y tried its best, but in
> this case it may have done more harm than good.  (In general, if you
> see e2fsck asking permission to relocate an inode table; there's
> something very wrong, and you probably want to say 'n' and do an image
> level backup of the filesystem before proceeding.)
>> I don't want this to happen with the second 750GB harddisk, I would like
>> all my data back.
> Well, there's no guarantee the same corruption will have taken place
> on your other hard drive.  Running e2fsck -n on that second hard drive
> and letting an expert examine it would be a good first step, *before*
> blindly running e2fsck -y.
> In the next version of e2fsprogs (in development in the git
> repository), e2fsck will have the ability to create an "undo" log
> which will make e2fsck -y safer, but personally I've always liked to
> individually hit return to say 'yes' to each >question.
>> fsck.ext3 -n /dev/sdd1 > fsck-crash-info.txt 2>&1
>> What should I do? What commands do you want me to run to provide more
>> info? How can i restore my root inode?
> So this is from your 500GB disk, as I understand it, right?  I'd
> really need to see the results of "e2fsck -n" *before* you ran "e2fsck
> -y" but seeing what I see there, taking an image-level backup before
> you had begun would have been really good idea.

The log is of the second hard drive. I don't have a log of the first 
hard drive, but it had very very similar outputs. Going to create an 
image and hope an expert can tell me how to try fixing the file system.

> I'm not sure there's anythign you'll be able to do about restoring
> your root inode.  But if it was just the root inode that was
> destroyed, that's actually not a big deal; you'll just have files in
> lost+found, and you can usually piece together the root directory
> fairly easily.
> The bigger problem is the other parts of the filesystem that were
> corrupted, due to what was apparently a hardware failure.  I'm
> actually really not a fan of USB as an interconnect for disks, because
> the cables can be flakey; it's not that hard for them to come lose,
> which may have been what caused your USB<->SATA converter to flake
> out, but it apparently did so in a very spectacular fashion.

The reason i used usb connections is power saving, just plug in the hard 
drive you need. I think I will have an closer look at a placing my 
harddrives in my server finding some way to hot-swap hot-powerplug 
drivers enable and disable the power to harddrivers.

> When I have time I'll have to add a better automated hueristic to
> e2fsck try to do this automatically (although even when I make e2fsck
> -y smarter, there *still* will be cases where a human with experience
> and intelligence and common sense will do better than a program), but
> for now, if you see a message about wanting to relocate an inode
> table, you'll want to look at the output of "dumpe2fs /dev/sdXX",
> "dumpe2fs -o superblock=32768 /dev/sdXX", and "dumpe2fs -o
> superblock=98304 /dev/sdXX" (these numbers are assuming a 4k
> blocksize, which is the common default).  If the location of the inode
> table blocks makes more sense when dumpe2fs is told to look at the
> backup superblock at 32768, it may be that e2fsck -b 32768 /dev/sdXX
> will do a better job of recovering the filesystem.

dumpe2fs /dev/sdXX
dumpe2fs -o superblock=32768 /dev/sdXX
dumpe2fs -o superblock=98304 /dev/sdXX
e2fsck -b 32768 /dev/sdXX

Sound like a lot of experimentation, so I am going to make a backup first.

I do not have an journaling system on my disk, would it have been a lot 
saver to have journaling on usb disk? and what about an auto sync option 
flag for usb disks?

Thank you for the information Ted,


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