Scrub free disk blocks

Patrick O'Callaghan pocallaghan at
Sat Aug 28 13:22:54 UTC 2010

On Fri, 2010-08-27 at 21:53 -0700, JD wrote:
> On 08/27/2010 09:25 PM, JD wrote:
> >  Is there a Linux util to scrub free disk blocks and keep everything 
> > else intact ??
> >
> Someone (not on this list) described a simple way to do this.
> Scrubbing files to be deleted is easy enough - there are utils for it 
> already.
> But scrubbing existing free space is slower and requires patience.
> cd to the root of the partition.
> sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=ZERO bs=20M
> When the dd program fails to write any further, you
> have grabbed and zeroed all available free disk blocks
> in the partition.
> Now all you do is use the command scrub to scrub the file ZERO
> and when done  the file is deleted.

>From scrub(1):

-X, --freespace
              Create  specified  directory and fill it with files until write returns ENOSPC (file system full),
              then scrub the files as usual.  The size of each file can be set with -s, otherwise it will be the
              maximum file size creatable given the user’s file size limit or 1g if umlimited.

However note that neither of these methods guarantees to scrub indirect
blocks in the filesystem that were used to create the space-filling
files. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, it's not clear.


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