Linux Data Loss Caused by Block Group Descriptor

Ext3 or the third extended file system is the most popular file system with many Linux distributions. Ext3 is a journaled file system and stores data by dividing the Linux hard drive into different blocks of bytes. Furthermore, the blocks are managed in block groups and all the information about each block group is defined in the Group Descriptor. Moreover, the information is indexed in the group descriptor table. In case, if the block group descriptors get damaged, the whole Linux system becomes inaccessible and you have to run any Linux data recovery software to recover the data back.

In the situations, when the group descriptor table has been corrupted, you may encounter error messages suggesting the same, following which the Linux system fails to boot. The error message may read as below:

“EXT3-fs error: ext3_check_descriptors / group descriptors corrupted”

When you boot your Linux system, the operating system fetches the information from the Group Descriptor Table and thereby you manage to access the data from various system locations. Hence, when the Group Descriptor gets damaged, the operating system even fails to start-up, as the entire file system becomes unavailable.

The reason behind the corruption can be anything including a virus/malware attack, application malfunctioning or a sudden system shut-down etc. Whatever be the reason behind, it is your important data that has been inaccessible and techniques like Linux data recovery can help you recover them back.

In order to resolve the above issue, try using the command-line utility ‘fsck’, which can check the file system for possible file system corruptions and repair the same. Sometimes, if the damage/corruption to the file system is severe, ‘fsck’ fails to repair and terminates without doing anything. As Linux duplicates the file descriptor table and stores at different locations of the hard drive, if you are an advance user, you can input the location or the size of alternate super-block to the ‘fsck’, which can eventually fetch the information from there.

In case, if you failed to resolve the issue with ‘fsck’, you are left with only choice to format the drive and make a fresh installation. After that, you can restore your data from a valid backup file. In case, backup of data is not available or you failed to restore data from the backup, you can still recover all your valuable data back by using any Linux data recovery utility.

Leave a Reply