How To Scan and Repair Disk Errors on Linux

Scan and Repair Disk Errors on Linux

As a Linux user, ensuring the integrity and health of your storage devices is crucial for maintaining a stable and reliable system. Disk errors, whether physical or logical, can lead to data loss, system crashes, and overall performance degradation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the importance of regularly checking and repairing disk errors on Linux systems using powerful built-in tools like fsck, badblocks, and smartmontools. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to proactively maintain your disks and minimize the risk of data loss.

Understanding Disk Errors

Before diving into the tools and techniques for scanning and repairing disk errors, it’s essential to grasp the different types of errors that can occur. Disk errors can be broadly categorized into two types: physical and logical.

Physical errors refer to issues with the hardware itself, such as bad sectors, mechanical failures, or damaged read/write heads. These errors are often caused by physical damage, manufacturing defects, or the natural wear and tear of the disk over time.

On the other hand, logical errors pertain to issues with the filesystem, such as corrupted file structures, inconsistent metadata, or improper unmounting. These errors can arise from various factors, including sudden power outages, system crashes, malware infections, or human error.

Common symptoms of disk errors include:

  • System freezes or crashes
  • Corrupt or inaccessible files
  • Unusual noises from the disk (clicking or grinding sounds)
  • Slow performance or increased disk access times
  • Input/output errors during read/write operations

By recognizing these symptoms early on, you can take proactive steps to diagnose and address disk errors before they escalate into more severe problems.

List Linux Disk Partitions and Types

Before we can scan for disk errors, we need to identify the disk partitions on our Linux system. To do this, we can use the “lsblk” command. This command will list all available disk partitions and their types.


This command will output a list of all available disk partitions, their mount points, and their types. You should see something like the following:

sda      8:0    0  1.8T  0 disk
├─sda1   8:1    0  512M  0 part /boot/efi
├─sda2   8:2    0    2G  0 part /boot
└─sda3   8:3    0  1.8T  0 part /

In this example, we can see that there is one physical disk (sda) with three partitions: sda1, sda2, and sda3.

Scanning for Disk Errors

Now that we’ve identified the disk partitions on our Linux system, we can begin scanning for disk errors. There are several tools available to help with this task, including SMART monitoring tools, badblocks command, and fsck command.

SMART Monitoring Tools

SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a technology built into most modern hard drives that monitors the drive’s health and reports any errors or issues. To access SMART data on Linux, we can use the smartctl command.

First, install the smartmontools package:

sudo apt install smartmontools

Next, use the smartctl command to check the SMART status of a disk:

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

Replace “/dev/sda” with the name of your disk. The command will output a detailed report of the disk’s SMART status, including any errors or issues.

Badblocks Command

The badblocks command is a powerful tool that can scan for and mark bad sectors on a disk. To use the badblocks command, first unmount the disk partition you wish to scan:

sudo umount /dev/sda1

Replace "/dev/sda1” with the name of your disk partition. Then, run the badblocks command:

sudo badblocks -sv /dev/sda1 > badblocks.txt

This command will scan the disk partition for bad blocks and output a list of any errors to a file named “badblocks.txt”.

Repairing Disk Errors

The fsck (File System Consistency Check) command is a powerful utility that checks and repairs errors on the Linux file system. Fsck is similar to chkdsk in Windows but more powerful.

Before running the fsck command, it’s best to unmount the file system first to avoid data corruption. You can unmount a file system by using the umount command.

To run the fsck command on a file system, use the following syntax:

sudo fsck /dev/sda1

Replace "/dev/sda1” with the name of your file system partition. You can check the partition name by running the “lsblk” command.

The fsck command will scan the file system and repair any errors it finds. Depending on the size of the partition and the number of errors, the process can take some time.

Preventing Disk Errors

Preventing disk errors is always better than fixing them after they occur. Here are some tips to prevent disk errors:

  • Regular backups: Always keep a backup of your important data on a separate storage device or cloud storage. In case of disk failure, you can restore your data from the backup.
  • Avoid sudden shutdowns: Avoid sudden shutdowns of your system. Always shut down your system properly. Abrupt power loss can damage your hard drive and result in disk errors.
  • Avoid physical damage: Keep your system and storage device in a safe place. Avoid exposing them to physical damage, such as dropping, hitting, or spilling liquid on them.
  • Regularly update your system: Always keep your system updated with the latest patches and updates. These updates not only fix known vulnerabilities but also provide bug fixes for the software.
  • Keep your system free from malware: Always keep an updated antivirus program on your system. Malware can corrupt your files and damage your hard drive, which can result in disk errors.
  • Check for hardware issues: Always keep an eye on your system’s hardware components. Check for any signs of wear and tear or any other hardware issues that may cause disk errors.

By following the above tips, you can minimize the chances of disk errors occurring on your Linux system.


In conclusion, disk errors can occur on any operating system, including Linux. But Linux provides several tools to scan and repair disk errors. You can use tools like fsck, badblocks, smartctl, and other GUI tools to scan and repair disk errors.

Always take preventive measures to avoid disk errors from occurring in the first place. Regular backups, avoiding sudden shutdowns, avoiding physical damage, keeping your system updated and free from malware, and checking for hardware issues can help prevent disk errors.

In case of disk errors, take immediate action and follow the steps mentioned in this guide to scan and repair disk errors on your Linux system. Remember, a healthy disk means a healthy system.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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