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Subject[PATCH 3.16 107/148] ext4: work around deleting a file with i_nlink == 0 safely
3.16.82-rc1 review patch.  If anyone has any objections, please let me know.


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 <>
[bwh: Backported to 3.16: Log message and function are different]
Signed-off-by: Ben Hutchings <>
--- a/fs/ext4/namei.c
+++ b/fs/ext4/namei.c
@@ -2830,19 +2830,18 @@ static int ext4_unlink(struct inode *dir
if (IS_DIRSYNC(dir))

- if (!inode->i_nlink) {
- ext4_warning(inode->i_sb,
- "Deleting nonexistent file (%lu), %d",
- inode->i_ino, inode->i_nlink);
- set_nlink(inode, 1);
- }
retval = ext4_delete_entry(handle, dir, de, bh);
if (retval)
goto end_unlink;
dir->i_ctime = dir->i_mtime = ext4_current_time(dir);
ext4_mark_inode_dirty(handle, dir);
- drop_nlink(inode);
+ if (inode->i_nlink == 0)
+ ext4_warning(inode->i_sb,
+ "Deleting nonexistent file (%lu), %d",
+ inode->i_ino, inode->i_nlink);
+ else
+ drop_nlink(inode);
if (!inode->i_nlink)
ext4_orphan_add(handle, inode);
inode->i_ctime = ext4_current_time(inode);
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