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badblocks is a small program for stress testing block devices. Similar to memtest86+, badblocks reads and writes small patterns of bytes to block devices.



badblocks comes as part of the sys-fs/e2fsprogs package and should be available as part of the default system profile.



user $badblocks
Usage: /sbin/badblocks [-b block_size] [-i input_file] [-o output_file] [-svwnf]
       [-c blocks_at_once] [-d delay_factor_between_reads] [-e max_bad_blocks]
       [-p num_passes] [-t test_pattern [-t test_pattern [...]]]
       device [last_block [first_block]]

Test a drive

To test a drive with visual progress use the -s and -w options followed by the path to the block device. -b flag is added as a precaution and to support large drives.

All data on the device will be completely overwritten and destroyed; be sure to create backups as needed to preserve data that should be saved!
root #badblocks -s -w -b `blockdev --getbsz /dev/<device>` /dev/<device>

Replace <device> in the command above with the block device that is to be tested. badblocks should run through a series of four tests and return output similar to the following:

Testing with pattern 0xaa: done
Reading and comparing: done
Testing with pattern 0x55: done
Reading and comparing: done
Testing with pattern 0xff: done
Reading and comparing: done
Testing with pattern 0x00: done
Reading and comparing: done

badblocks also supports a non-destructive read-write mode when using the -n option instead of -w. Users are advised to create backups nonetheless.

See also

  • Memtest86+ — memory test software based on the commercially available (from Passmark) memtest86 program.

External resources