fstab barrier=1/ext3 questions

After a lockup/hard shutdown and subsequent problems with various files & programs that were open during the time I was roaming the web and ran into various thoughts on if opensuse has barrier=1 on HDDs using fs:ext3.

I didn’t see a barrier option in the fstab entries so I added it and got a message during bootup to the effect of: “unable to sync disk, barrier disabled.”

This has been a “beater” install so far so I’m looking at re-installing sometime after the weekend. For ext3, is barrier=1 the default? If so and my fs got corrupted anyways is there a better filesystem for disks that get fair amount of i/o action of various sizes & types?

Also, I have a LVM that I’m currently using ext3, but according to some things I read, the barrier option is not available for LVMs. Would another filesystem be better suited for this? The LVM is a storage area that only occasionally gets written to, and files are very rarely deleted. Mainly just read.

As an aside, is there a way to drop out of the desktop to init 3 during a lockup? Or at worst do I need to setup a remote console option so I don’t have to hard shutdown?


barrier is on by default and is set so in the kernel configuration, so you adding barrier=1 to it won’t do much as it’s on by default

Not really, IMHO, XFS tends to screw things up a bit more than ext3, same thing for reiserfs. If you want “absolute” protection, then run ext3 with data=journaled but do note that this will slow down stuff considerably, though in specific cases it can also speed it up, but generally, it’s slower.

If system lockups, there’s no way to drop to anything as nothing will respond.

I don’t think other FSes support barriers for LVM too. I may be wrong though

btw, if you can afford it, get yourself a small UPS :wink:


To go to console ctrl+alt+F1 to go back to desktop ctrl+alt+F7


this won’t work if system completely locks up and keyboard isn’t responding either :wink:

From my experience phenomena like this don’t come out of nothing. Most of the times I was confronted with unrecoverable file system errors this was an indication of a failing disk.
These days, if I meet errors like this, I replace the disk a.s.a.p.
If a reinstall solves all, I would still monitor the disk, to see if new errors appear.

Thanks, guys.

When I re-install, I’ll definitely try “data=journaled.”

The ctrl+alt+F1/F7, ironically proved very useful when it turned out only the mouse had locked. But there have been times everything appeared to lock.

Knurpht: You may be right, but considering these are new disks I certainly hope not. I actually think the whole problem is coming from VirtualBox which apparently has at least one thread with people talking about similar lock-up problems. My 'SUSE box at work has been rock solid (sans VB), so at least there’s a positive baseline of what to expect.