After running out of space in the $HOME i found some of my scripts failing, leaving corrupted files arround. I'll explain with an example:

I'm using Ubuntu 12.04, the / partition is ext4 with the $HOME in the same partition and the encrypted home dir option(asked on installation) active.

When no more free space available, if I try to create a file

$  touch last-successful
touch: cannot touch `last-successful': No space left on device

Even thought, I found that the file has been created but the metadata is unreadable for some reason (question marks).

The file is also unusable. No read/write possible.

$ ls -lah
ls: cannot access last-successful: No such file or directory
drwxrwxr-x 2 user1 user1 4.0K Oct 28 12:10 .
drwxrwxr-x 3 user1 user1 4.0K Oct 28 12:01 ..
-????????? ? ?       ?          ?            ? last-successful
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user1 user1  189 Jul 12 12:09 README

Even after free space becomes available, it can't be altered or deleted (and the error messages doesn't make much sense), take a look:

$  echo "hi" >> last-successful
bash: last-successful: File exists

$  rm last-successful 
rm: cannot remove `last-successful': No such file or directory

After the rm, I still seeing the same listing as before (with the file 'last-successful' on it and with question marks)

Only after reboot the files can be listed with no question marks.

$  ls -lah
drwxrwxr-x 2 user1 user1 4.0K Oct 28 12:10 .
drwxrwxr-x 3 user1 user1 4.0K Oct 28 12:01 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user1 user1    0 Oct 27 00:02 last-successful
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user1 user1  189 Jul 12 12:09 README

but read/write still doesn't work:

$  cat last-successful 
cat: last-successful: Input/output error

$  echo "hi" > last-successful 
bash: last-successful: Input/output error

I can only delete it (this time works), and then everything seems to start working normally again.

Here a list of my mountpoints:

$  mount

/dev/sda1 on / type ext4 (rw,errors=remount-ro) 
/home/user1/.Private on /home/user1 type ecryptfs (ecryptfs_check_dev_ruid,ecryptfs_cipher=aes,ecryptfs_key_bytes=16,ecryptfs_unlink_sigs,ecryptfs_sig=49b949f48cc35f84,ecryptfs_fnek_sig=66c15b8e5a4f2c6b)

Can someone point me in some direction what is going on here? Has something to do with eCryptfs?

  • It has to do with letting your filesystem become 100% full. Avoid that, and it's a non-issue. The specific behavior when you've managed to fill the system is not all that relevant - it's not expected to work right then, so do what you have to do to make space and remove the detritus, then move on and remember to check free space in the future.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 28 '13 at 13:19

This was indeed an eCryptfs problem, in the way eCryptfs handled full disk situations. Thake a look at:


This bug has already been fixed. A kernel update should get rid of the problem.

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