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What is the difference between the linux disk error-checking tools fsck and e2fsck?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

fsck is just the original name. When they came out with new file systems they would need a specific tool for each one, efsck for ext, e2fsck for ext2, dosfsck, fsckvfat. So they made fsck the front end that just calls whichever is the appropriate tool.

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Hmm, so apparently you can use the fsck "front-end" for some common tasks, but not for everything? For example the -c option (superuser.com/questions/20010/…) is mentioned in e2fsck man page but in that of fsck. –  Jonik Aug 13 '09 at 7:45
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fsck is a wrapper for the filesystem-specific fsck.* family of tools. They can be used interchangeably with one caveat (from the fsck manpage):

Options which are not understood by fsck are passed to the filesystem-specific checker. These arguments must not take arguments, as there is no way for fsck to be able to properly guess which arguments take options and which don’t.

Options and arguments which follow the -- are treated as file system-specific options to be passed to the file system-specific checker.

Please note that fsck is not designed to pass arbitrarily complicated options to filesystem-specific checkers. If you’re doing something complicated, please just execute the filesystem-specific checker directly. If you pass fsck some horribly complicated option and arguments, and it doesn’t do what you expect, don’t bother reporting it as a bug. You’re almost certainly doing something that you shouldn’t be doing with fsck.

However, fsck will handle most of the normal operations on a file system.

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