System Administration Guide, Volume 1

Free Block Checks

Free blocks are stored in the cylinder group block maps. fsck checks that all the blocks marked as free are not claimed by any files. When all the blocks have been accounted for, fsck checks to see if the number of free blocks plus the number of blocks claimed by the inodes equal the total number of blocks in the file system. If anything is wrong with the block allocation maps, fsck rebuilds them, leaving out blocks already allocated.

The summary information in the superblock contains a count of the total number of free blocks within the file system. The fsck program compares this count to the number of free blocks it finds within the file system. If the counts do not agree, fsck replaces the count in the superblock with the actual free-block count.