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Date:   Sat, 21 Aug 2021 14:54:50 +0800
From:   Zhang Yi <>
To:     <>
CC:     <>, <>, <>,
        <>, <>
Subject: [PATCH v3 4/4] ext4: prevent getting empty inode buffer

In ext4_get_inode_loc(), we may skip IO and get an zero && uptodate
inode buffer when the inode monopolize an inode block for performance
reason. For most cases, ext4_mark_iloc_dirty() will fill the inode
buffer to make it fine, but we could miss this call if something bad
happened. Finally, __ext4_get_inode_loc_noinmem() may probably get an
empty inode buffer and trigger ext4 error.

For example, if we remove a nonexistent xattr on inode A,
ext4_xattr_set_handle() will return ENODATA before invoking
ext4_mark_iloc_dirty(), it will left an uptodate but zero buffer. We
will get checksum error message in ext4_iget() when getting inode again.

  EXT4-fs error (device sda): ext4_lookup:1784: inode #131074: comm cat: iget: checksum invalid

Even worse, if we allocate another inode B at the same inode block, it
will corrupt the inode A on disk when write back inode B.

So this patch postpone the initialization and mark buffer uptodate logic
until shortly before we fill correct inode data in ext4_do_update_inode()
if skip read I/O, ensure the buffer is really uptodate.

Signed-off-by: Zhang Yi <>
Reviewed-by: Jan Kara <>
 fs/ext4/inode.c | 27 ++++++++++++++++++++++++---
 1 file changed, 24 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/fs/ext4/inode.c b/fs/ext4/inode.c
index 8323d3e8f393..000abb5696b0 100644
--- a/fs/ext4/inode.c
+++ b/fs/ext4/inode.c
@@ -4367,9 +4367,12 @@ static int __ext4_get_inode_loc(struct super_block *sb, unsigned long ino,
 		if (i == start + inodes_per_block) {
-			/* all other inodes are free, so skip I/O */
-			memset(bh->b_data, 0, bh->b_size);
-			set_buffer_uptodate(bh);
+			/*
+			 * All other inodes are free, skip I/O. Return
+			 * uninitialized buffer immediately, initialization
+			 * is postponed until shortly before we fill inode
+			 * contents.
+			 */
 			goto has_buffer;
@@ -5028,6 +5031,24 @@ static int ext4_do_update_inode(handle_t *handle,
 	gid_t i_gid;
 	projid_t i_projid;
+	/*
+	 * If the buffer is not uptodate, it means all information of the
+	 * inode is in memory and we got this buffer without reading the
+	 * block. We must be cautious that once we mark the buffer as
+	 * uptodate, we rely on filling in the correct inode data later
+	 * in this function. Otherwise if we left uptodate buffer without
+	 * copying proper inode contents, we could corrupt the inode on
+	 * disk after allocating another inode in the same block.
+	 */
+	if (!buffer_uptodate(bh)) {
+		lock_buffer(bh);
+		if (!buffer_uptodate(bh)) {
+			memset(bh->b_data, 0, bh->b_size);
+			set_buffer_uptodate(bh);
+		}
+		unlock_buffer(bh);
+	}

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