How do I get a list of:

  • Pathnames currently being watched by inotify, and
  • PID of the process watching

I ask because I have found that syncthing's inotify watches were preventing my disk from being unmounted.

As can be seen below, nothing appears in lsof or fuser listings.

I guessed well with syncthing... How do I remove the guesswork in future if a disk won't unmount due to inotify?

# umount /media/backup
umount: /media/backup: target is busy.
# lsof +f -- /media/backup/
# echo $?
# fuser -vmM /media/backup/
                     USER        PID ACCESS COMMAND
/media/backup:       root     kernel mount /media/backup
# systemctl stop syncthing@ravi
# umount /media/backup
# echo $?

2 Answers 2


Maybe the fdinfo for the fd of the watch can be useful:

$ readlink /proc/$(pgrep inotify)/fd/3
$ cat /proc/$(pgrep inotify)/fdinfo/3
pos:    0
flags:  00
mnt_id: 11
inotify wd:1 ino:357a sdev:700000 mask:fff ignored_mask:0 fhandle-bytes:8 fhandle-type:1 f_handle:7a35000000000000

The sdev seems to be the major:minor device number combination, as seen in the output of lsblk, for example:

$ lsblk | grep 7
loop0    7:0    0  80.5M  1 loop /snap/core/2462

(I was indeed monitoring /snap/core/2462.)

For my /dev/sda1 which is 8:1, the output looked like so:

pos:    0
flags:  00
mnt_id: 11
inotify wd:1 ino:aae1b sdev:800001 mask:fff ignored_mask:0 fhandle-bytes:8 fhandle-type:1 f_handle:1bae0a0038e16969

This should be sufficient to find out what's blocking unmounting, even though the specific directories or files being watched aren't listed.

  • Great lead. Using mnt_id as an index into /proc/[pid]/mountinfo would give the mountpoint directory. How to efficiently perform this check for all processes (irrespective of name)?
    – Tom Hale
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 8:50
  • 1
    man proc(5) says sdev: The ID of the device where the target file resides (in hexadecimal). It also explains mnt_id and the mountinfo file.
    – Tom Hale
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 8:59

(WIP Answer)

Thanks to muru's answer for the kickstart.

Using the information in /proc/[pid]/fdinfo/[fd#]:

Possibly lsof: list only files of a particular type with a_inode.

Too slow as a shell script with all the greping. Perhaps system call interface to /proc information.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .