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I am on Linux Mint 18 and would like to fully check the root filesystem.

My current idea is to boot into initramfs and run fsck -f /dev/sdb2

I am able to get to recovery console, and therefore grub.

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This should be possible, for example if your initrd was created using dracut:

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_debug_Dracut_problems

Additional dracut boot parameters

The following boot parameters are also available to further assist with debugging boot issues.

rd.shell Drop to a shell, if the initramfs fails.

rd.break=[cmdline|pre-udev|pre-trigger|initqueue|pre-mount|mount|pre-pivot|cleanup]

Drop the shell on defined breakpoint (use egrep 'rd.?break' /usr/lib/dracut/modules.d/99base/init.sh to find the breakpoints supported by your dracut version)

However, since initrd is usually very limited and uncomfortable I would install a rescue image, like SystemRescueCd and boot it via additional bootloader entry:

https://www.system-rescue-cd.org/Sysresccd-manual-en_Easy_install_SystemRescueCd_on_harddisk

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  • Booting from an alternate medium (CD,USB) is indeed far more user-comfortable...but not always available: in the case of desktops, you can hit a locked down boot sequence, in small devices (RPi), an alternative boot method may not exist. Initramfs can save you in such cases (in this case, if it even contains fsck; mostly it will, but it's not automatically there). Mar 6, 2019 at 9:26

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