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I noticed once when I shut down my home server while my desktop was connected via NFS that I kept getting "stale NFS handle warning" when entering my home dir, this caused issues with some programs that looked in those folders.

How do I resolve this issue without restarting my machine?

Debian Squeeze/Wheezy

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What OS and/or distribution are you running? – Jodie C Apr 12 '12 at 11:36
I am using Debian Squeeze – yakamok Apr 12 '12 at 11:39

Try this shell script. Works good for me:

# Purpose:
# Detect Stale File handle and remove it
# Script created: July 29, 2015 by Birgit Ducarroz
# Last modification: --

# Detect Stale file handle and write output into a variable and then into a file
mounts=`df 2>&1 | grep 'Stale file handle' |awk '{print ""$2"" }' > NFS_stales.txt`
# Remove : ‘ and ’ characters from the output
sed -r -i 's/://' NFS_stales.txt && sed -r -i 's/‘//' NFS_stales.txt && sed -r -i 's/’//' NFS_stales.txt

# Not used: replace space by a new line
# stales=`cat NFS_stales.txt && sed -r -i ':a;N;$!ba;s/ /\n /g' NFS_stales.txt`

# read NFS_stales.txt output file line by line then unmount stale by stale.
#    IFS='' (or IFS=) prevents leading/trailing whitespace from being trimmed.
#    -r prevents backslash escapes from being interpreted.
#    || [[ -n $line ]] prevents the last line from being ignored if it doesn't end with a \n (since read returns a non-zero exit code when it encounters EOF).

while IFS='' read -r line || [[ -n "$line" ]]; do
    echo "Unmounting due to NFS Stale file handle: $line"
    umount -fl $line
done < "NFS_stales.txt"
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Based on my experience it it seems to be a 50:50 change for this not to be enough, and a machine reboot being needed. I am looking forward to see a better script, maybe one to put in the crontab. We encounter this kind of problem very often, with more than one machine per day. – sorin Jan 26 at 17:38

I would usually issue those commands (as root):

service nis restart
service autofs restart
service nfs restart
service portmap restart

You may not need all of those, depending on how your system works.

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Which Distro is this for? – yakamok Apr 14 '12 at 8:02
up vote 0 down vote accepted

On Debian Squeeze/Wheezy:

Force unmount the local mount

umount -f /mnt/dir

Then restart nfs

/etc/init.d/nfs-common restart
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I'd be surprised if you can force the unmount of a filesystem - so I doubt the above will work. – TheGingerDog Mar 24 '13 at 18:36

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