System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems

Duplicate Block Checks

Each inode contains a list, or pointers to lists (indirect blocks), of all the blocks claimed by the inode. Because indirect blocks are owned by an inode, inconsistencies in indirect blocks directly affect the inode that owns the indirect block.

The fsck command compares each block number claimed by an inode to a list of allocated blocks. If another inode already claims a block number, the block number is put on a list of duplicate blocks. Otherwise, the list of allocated blocks is updated to include the block number.

If duplicate blocks are found, the fsck command makes a second pass of the inode list to find the other inode that claims each duplicate block. The fsck command cannot determine with certainty which inode is in error. So, the fsck command prompts you to choose which inode should be kept and which inode should be cleared. Note that a large number of duplicate blocks in an inode might be caused by an indirect block not being written to the file system.