My Ubuntu 11.04 machine uses LUKS encryption for root, swap and home. A routine fsck -n revealed a set of errors I need to repair. fsck requires to unmount the partitions. Before luks I would simply boot from a USB stick and fix run fsck from there. What are the steps to do that for LUKS encrypted partitions?


The exact method depends on how you have setup luks, and if you have LVM on top of luks or if you just have a filesystem within the luks volume.

If you don't have LVM in addition to luks then you would probably do something like this.

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/rawdevice somename
fsck /dev/mapper/somename

# or

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 _dev_sda2
fsck /dev/mapper/_dev_sda2

If you used the LVM on LUKS option providied by the Debian/Ubuntu installer, then you'll need to start up LVM. So vgchange -aly after opening the encrypted volume, then run fsck against the /dev/mapper/lvname.

(If commands are missing, you may need to do apt-get install cryptsetup first. Similarly if you need vgchange do apt-get install lvm.)

  • For whatever reason cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/rawdevice somename wasn't working out to give me something to run fsck on, although it was showing up with vgscan just fine after vgchange -ay as 'active'... I had to create the raw devices manually with vgscan --mknodes and then fsck on the logical volume showing up in vgscan with fsck /dev/cryptVG/root - Hope this helps someone else out there – Dmitri DB Nov 2 '14 at 18:30
  • Hm, no matter if I use cryptsetup or cryptdisk_start, I get the same result when I try fsck: /dev/mapper/ext_crypt is in use. I checked mount and it is not mounted anywhere. – Nikodemus RIP May 14 '16 at 8:27

You need to open the LUKS volume first.

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/(whatever) someName

This'll ask you for the password, then create /dev/mapper/someName, which is the plaintext device that you can run fsck on. When you're done,

cryptsetup luksClose someName

will remove the /dev/mapper/someName plaintext device, .


The procedure should be the same.

Using a Debian (7.7.0 amd64 netinst, in my case) USB stick, one can go into rescue mode, which should identify the LUKS partition, prompt for a password, and map it. It also identifies and maps any LVM partitions contained therein. If you don't mount the root partition, from the shell prompt you can just e2fsck -f -c /dev/system_name/partition_name, etc.

This question is four years old, but I don't think that the procedure has changed.

I should point out, though, that doing a fsck -n on a mounted filesystem is almost sure to report errors that won't actually exist when you fsck it unmounted!

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