inaccesible files even with root

Posted: July 31, 2006 in linux

have you ever had a file, or lots of files, that even root can’t touch? in fact, not a single user can. supposedly this shouldn’t happen. if root can’t touch it, how in the world will you be able to manage such a file?

well i’ve had this problem on 2 of my previous Suse Linux installs. first it happened on my 9.1 install, and then it happened again on my 9.3. i’ve asked lots of pips on how this could have happened, that even root is powerless to read,edit or delete such a file. nobody was really able to answer it. but by some sheer luck i was able to solve my problem.

the main reason, as i saw it, on why the files became “inaccessible” is that the filesystem got corrupted. as to how the files, mostly system critical files, got corrupted, i can only surmise. the last thing i did before this problem occurred on both installs is that i transferred my harddrives and ran both 9.1 and 9.3 from one machine to another. yes, these machines had different processors – intel and AMD – and other different hardware from the ones were the original installs where made.

doing a mere fsck on boot or at maintenance mode won’t really tell much about a corrupt filesystem. fsck is merely a wrapper. so what i did was to use reiserfsck. (i won’t have to go into the details on the options i used with this utility. this is not a how-to after all.) then when it found out that part of my filesystem is corrupted, i proceeded to rebuild the whole filesystem tree. it shouldn’t take too long on a fast system.

problem solved! happy me! 😀

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