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Subject[PATCH 5.4 167/177] ext4: work around deleting a file with i_nlink == 0 safely
From: Theodore Ts'o <>

commit c7df4a1ecb8579838ec8c56b2bb6a6716e974f37 upstream.

If the file system is corrupted such that a file's i_links_count is
too small, then it's possible that when unlinking that file, i_nlink
will already be zero. Previously we were working around this kind of
corruption by forcing i_nlink to one; but we were doing this before
trying to delete the directory entry --- and if the file system is
corrupted enough that ext4_delete_entry() fails, then we exit with
i_nlink elevated, and this causes the orphan inode list handling to be
FUBAR'ed, such that when we unmount the file system, the orphan inode
list can get corrupted.

A better way to fix this is to simply skip trying to call drop_nlink()
if i_nlink is already zero, thus moving the check to the place where
it makes the most sense.

Signed-off-by: Theodore Ts'o <>
Reviewed-by: Andreas Dilger <>
Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>

fs/ext4/namei.c | 11 +++++------
1 file changed, 5 insertions(+), 6 deletions(-)

--- a/fs/ext4/namei.c
+++ b/fs/ext4/namei.c
@@ -3182,18 +3182,17 @@ static int ext4_unlink(struct inode *dir
if (IS_DIRSYNC(dir))

- if (inode->i_nlink == 0) {
- ext4_warning_inode(inode, "Deleting file '%.*s' with no links",
- dentry->d_name.len, dentry->;
- set_nlink(inode, 1);
- }
retval = ext4_delete_entry(handle, dir, de, bh);
if (retval)
goto end_unlink;
dir->i_ctime = dir->i_mtime = current_time(dir);
ext4_mark_inode_dirty(handle, dir);
- drop_nlink(inode);
+ if (inode->i_nlink == 0)
+ ext4_warning_inode(inode, "Deleting file '%.*s' with no links",
+ dentry->d_name.len, dentry->;
+ else
+ drop_nlink(inode);
if (!inode->i_nlink)
ext4_orphan_add(handle, inode);
inode->i_ctime = current_time(inode);

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