Posts Tagged ‘sector size’

How to check Linux OS install date / How long ago was Linux installed

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

If you're sysadmin who inherited a few hundreds of Linux machines from a previous admin and you're in process of investigating how things were configured by the previous administrator one of the crucial things to find out might be

How Long ago was Linux installed?

Here is how to check the Linux OS install date.

The universal way nomatter the Linux distribution is to use fullowing command:


root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'
Filesystem created:       Thu Sep  6 21:44:22 2012



Above command assumes the Linux's root partition / is installed on /dev/sda1 however if your case is different, e.g. the primary root partition is installed on /dev/sda2 or /dev/sdb1 / dev/sdb2 etc. just place the right first partition into the command.

If primary install root partition is /dev/sdb1 for example:

root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sdb1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'


To find out what is the root partition of the Linux server installed use fdisk command:




root@pcfreak:~# fdisk -l


Disk /dev/sda: 465,8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00051eda

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048 965193727 965191680 460,2G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2       965195774 976771071  11575298   5,5G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5       965195776 976771071  11575296   5,5G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/sdb: 111,8 GiB, 120034123776 bytes, 234441648 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000


Other ways to check the Linux OS install date on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. deb. based GNU / Linux


Deban based Linux distributions do create an initial /var/log/installer directory containing various install information such as hardware-summary, partition, initial installed deb packages, exact version of Linux distribution, and the way it was installed either it was installed from an ISO image, or it was network install etc.


root@pcfreak:~# ls -al /var/log/installer/
total 1228
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 ./
drwxr-xr-x 72 root root  12288 окт 22 06:26 ../
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 cdebconf/
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  17691 sep  6  2012 hardware-summary
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    163 sep  6  2012 lsb-release
-rw——-  1 root root 779983 sep  6  2012 partman
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  51640 sep  6  2012 status
-rw——-  1 root root 363674 sep  6  2012 syslog


If those directory is missing was wiped out by the previous administrator, to clear up traces of his previous work before he left job another possible way to find out exact install date is to check timestamp of /lost+found directory;

root@pcfreak:~# ls -ld /lost+found/
drwx—— 2 root root 16384 sep  6  2012 /lost+found//


Check OS Linux install date on (Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Oracle and other Redhat RPM based Distros)


[root@centos: ~]# rpm -qi basesystem
Name        : basesystem
Version     : 10.0
Release     : 7.el7
Architecture: noarch
Install Date: Mon 02 May 2016 19:20:58 BST
Group       : System Environment/Base
Size        : 0
License     : Public Domain
Signature   : RSA/SHA256, Tue 01 Apr 2014 14:23:16 BST, Key ID     199e2f91fd431d51
Source RPM  : basesystem-10.0-7.el7.src.rpm
Build Date  : Fri 27 Dec 2013 17:22:15 GMT
Build Host  :
Relocations : (not relocatable)
Packager    : Red Hat, Inc. <>
Vendor      : Red Hat, Inc.
Summary     : The skeleton package which defines a simple Red Hat Enterprise Linux system
Description :
Basesystem defines the components of a basic Red Hat Enterprise Linux
system (for example, the package installation order to use during
bootstrapping). Basesystem should be in every installation of a system,
and it should never be removed.


How to check any filesystem for bad blocks using GNU / Linux or FreeBSD with dd

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Check any filesystem partition for BAD BLOCKS with DD on GNU Linux and FreeBSD

Have you looked for a universal physical check up tool to check up any filesystem type existing on your hard drive partitions?
I did! and was more than happy to just recently find out that the small UNIX program dd is capable to check any file system which is red by the Linux or *BSD kernel.

I’ll give an example, I have few partitions on my laptop computer with linux ext3 filesystem and NTFS partition.
My partitions looks like so:

noah:/home/hipo# fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x2d92834c
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 721 5786624 27 Unknown
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2 * 721 9839 73237024 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3 9839 19457 77263200 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 9839 12474 21167968+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 12474 16407 31593208+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 16407 16650 1950448+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda8 16650 19457 22551448+ 83 Linux

For all those unfamiliar with dddd – convert and copy a file this tiny program is capable of copying data from (if) input file to an output file as in UNIX , the basic philosophy is that everything is a file partitions themselves are also files.
The most common use of dd is to make image copies of a partition with any type of filesystem on it and move it to another system
Looking from a Windows user perspective dd is the command line Norton Ghost equivalent for Linux and BSD systems.
The classic way dd is used to copy let’s say my /dev/sda1 partition to another hard drive /dev/hdc1 is by cmds:

noah:/home/hipo# dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/hdc1 bs=16065b

Even though the basic use of dd is to copy files, its flexibility allows a “trick” through which dd can be used to check any partition readable by the operating system kernel for bad blocks

In order to check any of the partitions listed, let’s say the one listed with filesystem HPFS/NTFS on /dev/sda2 using dd

noah:/home/hipo# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M

As you can see the of (output file) for dd is set to /dev/null in order to prevent dd to write out any output red by /dev/sda2 partition. bs=1M instructs dd to read from /dev/sda2 by chunks of 1 Megabyte in order to accelerate the speed of checking the whole drive.
Decreasing the bs=1M to less will take more time but will make the bad block checking be more precise.
Anyhow in most cases bs of 1 Megabyte will be a good value.

After some minutes (depending on the partition size), dd if, of operations outputs a statistics informing on how dd operations went.
Hence ff some of the blocks on the partition failed to be red by dd this will be shown in the final stats on its operation completion.
The drive, I’m checking does not have any bad blocks and dd statistics for my checked partition does not show any hard drive bad block problems:

71520+1 records in
71520+1 records out
74994712576 bytes (75 GB) copied, 1964.75 s, 38.2 MB/s

The statistics is quite self explanatory my partition of s size 75 GB was scanned for 1964 seconds roughly 32 minutes 46 seconds. The number of records red and written are 71520+1 e.g. (records in / records out). This means that all the records were properly red and wrote to /dev/null and therefore no BAD blocks on my NTFS partition 😉