Rescuing Your Dell PowerEdge Server with a Filesystem Check using Virtual Console

In the realm of data storage, system administrators have to regularly face the reality of filesystem inconsistencies and corruptions. This could be due to several factors such as sudden power loss, hardware problems, or even software errors. Fortunately, in Linux systems, we have a tool called fsck (filesystem check) that comes to our rescue in such situations. This article aims to guide you through the process of running a filesystem check on a Dell PowerEdge Server using the virtual console.


Before we begin, it is important to remember that running fsck on a mounted filesystem can lead to data corruption. It is therefore advisable to boot your server into a rescue or single-user mode before attempting this operation. It’s also vital to ensure you have a recent and reliable backup of all important data before running fsck.

Booting Into Rescue Mode with CentOS NetInstall Image

Dell PowerEdge Servers come with an integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) which provides a way to remotely manage and administer your server. Using iDRAC, you can mount a virtual console and boot your server from a network ISO image. Here, we will be using a CentOS 7 NetInstall image.

Firstly, download the CentOS 7 NetInstall image from the CentOS website or a mirror. You will need to locate a file that follows the naming convention CentOS-7-x86_64-NetInstall-YYYY.iso.

After downloading the image, use iDRAC to mount it as a virtual CD/DVD. This can be done by logging into iDRAC, going to the Virtual Console Preview, and then selecting ‘Launch Virtual Console’. From the Virtual Console window, go to ‘Virtual Media’ and then ‘Connect Virtual Media’. Next, you should choose ‘Map CD/DVD’ and upload the downloaded ISO file.

Once the ISO is mounted, reboot your server and during the startup, press F11 to enter the Boot Manager. From the Boot Manager, select the option ‘Virtual Optical Drive’ under ‘Virtual Devices’.

Your server will now boot from the CentOS NetInstall image. Choose the ‘Troubleshooting’ option from the menu and then select ‘Rescue a CentOS system’.

Running the Filesystem Check

With your server now booted into the rescue system, it’s time to perform the filesystem check. Start by identifying your root partition. This can be done by using the lsblk or fdisk -l commands:



These commands will show a list of devices and their associated partitions. The root filesystem is often something like /dev/sda1 or /dev/nvme0n1p1, but the exact name can vary depending on your setup.

fdisk -l

Once you’ve identified your root partition, you can run the fsck command. Here, we will use the -y option to automatically answer ‘yes’ to all questions, and the -C0 option to show progress (if supported by the filesystem):

fsck -C0 -y /dev/sdXN

Replace /dev/sdXN with the actual name of your device and partition number.


After fsck completes, you should see a report of any actions it took. At this point, you can reboot your server and it should boot up normally. Remember, running fsck can be a high-stakes operation, especially when performed on a production system. Always ensure you have a reliable backup of your data before attempting this operation and perform such operations during a maintenance window to minimize impact.

In case you are still encountering issues after running fsck, there might be a more serious problem, such as a hardware failure or deeper filesystem corruption, and you might need to restore from a backup or take other recovery actions.

Through this guide, we hope you have gained a clearer understanding of how to perform a filesystem check on a Dell PowerEdge Server using a virtual console. With careful handling and a thoughtful approach, even daunting tasks like a filesystem check can be handled smoothly and efficiently.

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