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I have a server which has 4 drives which are each mounted to different areas. I have 2 drives which are giving me trouble and would like to run fsck on them. Can I unmount those drives, run fsck on the partitions without stopping access to the other 2 drives from other users?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sure, that's no problem. It's not an uncommon maintenance operation, you just need to make sure everyone knows what's going on (so they don't try to use the partition), and any services that use that mount are stopped.

Assuming you don't have odd block device permissions, nobody will be able to access and modify the block device (partition) itself -- so you can't damage the filesystem. There could, in theory, be issues with users trying to do things with the mount point while it's unmounted, but there shouldn't be any files in there, and if the mount point's permissions are what they usually are (root:root), nobody (other than root, which shouldn't be a problem) will be able to write to the mount point.

So, the only remaining possible problem is users trying (and failing) to write, and then calling the helpdesk (which you can manage with proper notifications) and automated processes and services attempting to write, which you manage by disabling those while the fsck is going on.

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Lets say someone tries to access the partitions original mount location while it's unmounted. Is that going to cause any issues while running the fsck? – David Aug 24 '11 at 9:12
If someone manages to access the partition while it's unmounted, you've got bigger problems. – womble Aug 24 '11 at 9:15
sorry, edited. users will be trying to access it's mount location, not the partition. So '/media/usbdisk1', not '/dev/sda1' is that a problem? – David Aug 24 '11 at 9:17
Answer updated. – womble Aug 24 '11 at 9:27

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