power failure, boot, and fsck

Daniel Feenberg feenberg at nber.org
Mon Jul 9 11:41:41 UTC 2012

On Mon, 9 Jul 2012, Matthew Seaman wrote:

> On 09/07/2012 04:22, Patrick Donnelly wrote:
>> UFS: /dev/ad10s3f (/usr)
>> Automatic file system check failed, help!
>> error aborting boo (sending sigtem to parent)!
>> init: /bin/sh on /etc/rc terminated abnormally, going to single user mode.
>> enter full pathname of shell or RETURN for /bin/sh:
>> In single-user mode I just `fsck /dev/da0s1a` and reboot. That fixes
>> the problem. However, I would like this to be automatic on boot. It
>> would be annoying if I'm out-of-town and the server cannot recover
>> without my help. Any tips?
> fsck does run automatically when a filesystem does not get shut down
> cleanly.  However, fsck cannot fix all of the problems a filesystem can
> experience without risk of loss of data.  In those cases, there is no
> option but to stop and ask the operator to intervene.

Won't soft updates solve this problem?


The handbook says. "We recommend to use Soft Updates on all of your file 
systems." but doesn't mention booting specifically. This isn't something I 
have tried (we boot over the network).

> Your best bet is to avoid an unclean shutdown entirely.  Buy a UPS.

We have lots of UPS systems. They constitute a "single point of failure", 
a prodigous amount of hazardous waste every couple of years. I'd sure like 
to drop them - and not on my foot.

I should say that we stopped using soft updates because the background 
fsck was very slow, but that was on very large partitions. On a boot
drive with no user data, the timing would be fine.

dan feenberg

> 	Cheers,
> 	Matthew
> -- 
> Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
>                                                  Flat 3
> PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey     Ramsgate
> JID: matthew at infracaninophile.co.uk               Kent, CT11 9PW

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