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When fsck runs, it should first try to locate the superblock of a filesystem to begin traversing the filesystem's structure in order to validate it. Since the /dev/sda device corresponds to whole drive, the first portion of the disk will likely contain the partition table or Master Boot Record and fsck will not be able to locate the superblock for a ...


It won't work, if the filesystem was installed in a partition (e. g. sda1). fsck and its brethren are tools for performing maintenance on filesystems (hence the name: filesystem ccheck), not of block devices. It is, I suppose, theoretically possible to put a filesystem directly onto a block device by way of something like mke2fs -j /dev/sda, but this is ...

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