Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #21

It seems like now is a good time to write another article about the site itself, because I’ve not done a meta article in over two months. Yeah, it has been that long since I last did a check-in to let folks know how things are going. Every time I’ve thought about writing a meta article, I’ve decided to write something else.

The thing is, there’s not much to write about. Things are going very, very well. At least I think things are going well. It’s quite amazing how far this site has come and I have you, the regular readers, to thank for that. I have you, those who have contributed, to thank for that.

When you point out a problem in an article, you make the site better. If you choose to comment, it provides motivation. Those who voice their appreciation give me the confidence to continue. Without you, I’d have long since run out of any shred of desire to write.

Thank you! Really, thank you!

So, what do I mean when I say that things are going well?

Some Numbers:

In November, more than 17,500 unique visitors visited the site and did so more than 26,000 times.

I remember when I was stoked to see 20 visits in a day.

Once upon a time, I didn’t have to pay extra for bandwidth. In November, this site went through nearly 70 GB of traffic. LOL If you want to donate, that’s where your donations go – into paying the CDN. Fortunately, the bills aren’t that high.

Advanced Web Statistics claimed that I showed about 1,300,000 pages – but that seems unrealistic. I’m pretty sure that’s counting bots. Bots account for a bunch of my bandwidth, but the stats I share with you do their best to only include real human visitors.

This will be article #482.

I’ve not missed a day yet, though I remain convinced that I will – and I’m okay with that. So far, I’ve just been lucky. Eventually, Mother Nature and my infrastructure will cause me to miss an article. So far, there has been at least one article every other day. That was the schedule I decided upon when I started the site. That is the schedule I’ve followed.


I get so many requests to link to this or that. People constantly request that I allow them to write a ‘guest’ article. They do this because they want a link on my site and that helps with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) goals.

If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see a new link up there. Those are the rules and fees for me sharing an article or a link. I have intentionally priced them high. I mostly formalized this so that I can just respond to those emails with a link.

Man… So many SEO link requests… Most of them don’t even seem to know what the site is about. It’s like they just shotgun requests and hope for desperate blog authors. I am not desperate.

If you want to legitimately write an article that’s not to promote your site, feel free to do so. I’ll happily accept those. If you’re not doing it for SEO reasons, that’s fine by me.

Speaking of SEO, I’ve paid some attention to it lately. I’ve been learning more about SEO and trying new things. The site ranks pretty well for some keywords and phrases.

Search Engines:

I’m finally listed in Bing.

Bing sends me maybe 1% of my traffic…

I get traffic from all the major search engines – and some of the not-so-major search engines. Like, I get a few people from Ecosia. Weirdly, Duck Duck Go sends me the second-most amount of search engine traffic. The first is Google, of course. Bing and Yandex are respectively next, after “Unknown Search Engine”. That’s followed mostly by the regional Google instances, such as or

As mentioned above, I’ve done some on-site SEO work. They care about things like links, readability, load time, and stuff like that. This site ranks well in all those categories, as a general rule.

If you search for “ask a good support question”, you’ll likely find this site at the top of the list. Sadly, the people who most need that information will never search for that information. I’d call it irony, but it really isn’t ironic. It’s just a statement of the human condition, I suppose.

The site also ranks well for terms like ‘screenfetch vs neofetch‘, ‘Prevent SSH Root Login‘, ‘ls -l format‘, ‘restart teamviewer‘, and ‘sudo apt purge‘.

It’s a weird assortment. I have a hard time knowing what articles will be the most appreciated by Google. They tell me that I should know that before I even start writing an article, but I don’t worry about it.

Also, writing these meta articles takes more time and effort than writing regular articles. Search engines don’t even like these articles!

What Can You Do?

You can keep reading and keep commenting – even if nobody ever comments here. 99% of the comments here have got to be spam. I’m not kidding. I’ll get a dozen spam attempts a day – and that’s AFTER automatic filtering.

Bots can’t easily spam the site, so these are real humans wasting their time. I can’t imagine being so poor that I’d undergo a task with so little chance of success. I sort of feel sorry for these people, but not enough to let them spam the site.

You can donate of course. As I said, all the donations go straight to paying for bandwidth. You don’t have to. I’ve long since concluded that I’ll pay the bills regardless of how high they go. The site is not currently at risk of going under. Still, it’s an option.

You can unblock ads. I appreciate it if you do, but I understand if you do not. If you do unblock the ads, please only click on ads that you’re legitimately interested in. Clicking a bunch of ads is a nice gesture, but that makes Google angry. I do not like it when Google is angry! Google has been angry before. 


Like I said, these meta articles take me longer to write than it takes me to write the average article. They’re kind of a pain in the butt and I almost regret doing the first few as that now makes me feel obligated to keep doing them. They may disappear entirely, but I’ll keep going for now.

The first few were easy, as I didn’t have much to say. Now, I have hundreds of facts and figures that I could share, but I’m not going to invest the time and effort to do so. If you have any questions about this sort of stuff, feel free to ask me. I just don’t want to invest that much time and effort into some article that’s going to be read by maybe 50 interested parties.

As always…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Repair Your Filesystem With FSCK

Over the years, we’ve covered the fsck command fairly extensively but I’ve never really written an article about how you repair your filesystem with fsck. This may very well be the last time we have an fsck article on this site. It seems like I’ve covered everything you need to know.

This article is about using fsck when you’re booted into your operating system. You can’t run fsck against a mounted drive. So, if you want to check and repair your root filesystem, the following article may be of assistance:

Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD

That’s a fairly popular article, as it ranks well in search engines. I’ve also recently authored this article:

Enable fsck On System Start

This article will be fairly simple and reasonably short. We’ll see if that turns out to be true, ’cause I wrote this before I finished the article! We shall see!

The Tools:

You’ll only need a couple of tools to repair your filesystem with fsck. First and foremost, you’ll need a terminal. I’ll assume you have a terminal. All the tools in this article will require an open terminal. You can usually press CTRL + ALT + T to open your default terminal.

You will also need…


The lsblk application is the first tool we’ll be using. Using lsblk is how we’ll identify your partitions. You almost certainly won’t need to install anything as this is one of those tools installed by default. You can verify that lsblk is installed by running:

If you check the man page, you’ll see that this is indeed the tool for the job.

lsblk – list block devices

See? We want to list block devices – that will show us the partitions and various filesystems.


The next tool we’ll use is the umount command. You can’t run fsck against a mounted filesystem, so we’ll need first to unmount the devices before we can repair them with fsck. You can verify that umount is installed with this command:

Again, we’ll check the man page to ensure that this is the correct tool for the job.

umount – unmount filesystems

See? I wouldn’t steer you wrong. This is the tool we need to unmount filesystems before we use fsck, the next tool, to repair filesystem errors.


This is the tool we’ll be using. We’re going to repair your filesystem with fsck, assuming your filesystem needs to be repaired. This must be a Linux filesystem, meaning Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, etc… You’ll need other tools for filesystems otherwise formatted. Once again, you can verify that fsck is installed with the following command:

Again, if we check the man page, you’ll see that this is the right tool for the job.

fsck – check and repair a Linux filesystem

I’d say that these are the best tools we can use for today’s task.

Repair Your Filesystem With FSCK:

I gave instructions above that told you how you can usually open your terminal. That keyboard combination is not true with every distro and I don’t know why. It seems to me that it should be a standard. If you’re using such a distro, you can open your terminal from the application menu.

With your terminal open, we first need to identify your filesystems. You can do that with the following command:

You’ll get an output similar to this one:

You can also run:

That has the added benefit of showing limited information and which filesystems are identified as Linux filesystems. I use lsblk above because I use that often and want a consistent set of directions across the site. However, an example output from the above command would contain information like this:

You can run that command if you prefer. You may have to scroll up to see all of the information. In the output I shared above, you’ll notice that it didn’t include any information about /dev/sda* filesystems. As those are mounted and need to be mounted (in my case) it doesn’t matter.

At this point, you need to identify the filesystem you want to check. If you use the first command, you’ll need to remember to add /dev to the front. So, it’s not sdb2, it’s /dev/sdb2. If you use the second command, it gives you that information.

Now, we’re just going to automatically check for problems and repair them with fsck, but first you need to unmount the filesystem. To do that, you just run the following command:

Then, you can just run fsck against the filesystem’s device ID, like so:

For example, I could run:

With the -p flag enabled, it will automatically check the filesystem for errors and repair them – unless they’re really serious. If they’re serious errors, it will ask you what to do.


Unfortunately, I don’t have any filesystems that need to be repaired. Linux is rather robust and our filesystems are usually fairly healthy. If you suffer from random reboots without properly shutting down, you might have a different experience.

When you’re done with this, you can remount the filesystems you checked for errors. Frankly, that’s a whole other article. If you open your file manager, the GUI one, you can often mount filesystems right from there. You can also unmount them, but we did that right there in the terminal.

Again, you can’t unmount your root partition or any other important partitions. If you use separate partitions like /home or /dev, you’ll need to use a live USB to repair those mounted filesystems. This command will only work with Linux filesystems. It is not going to work with FAT, EXFAT, NTFS, etc., it will only work with Linux filesystems.

That might be a good reason to run the 2nd command ( sudo fsck -l) where you’ll get an output like this:

Look at /dev/sda1, where it properly identifies the type as an “EFI System”. That means that it’s not a supported filesystem and fsck will do you no good when you target it. I figure you’re smart enough to know the differences and what you have used, so lsblk is easier – and more consistent as we use that command frequently here on


Well, it turns out that I was mistaken. I thought this was going to be a quick and easy article. I think it’s easy enough, but it wasn’t very quick. It has been a mixed bag lately as I play around with the formatting of various articles. This often makes them longer, but I’m okay with that. Plus, I type quickly!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Automatically Enable Num Lock In Linux Mint

Sometimes I write articles that scratch my own and this time around it’s how to automatically enable Num Lock in Linux Mint. If you’re using a full-size keyboard and want to automatically enable Num Lock, this just might be the article for you. This article shouldn’t be all that long – and it won’t be very complicated. 

I should explain…

So, I misfired a dd command and hosed my root partition. I then decided to do something I’ve not done in a long time. For a change of pace and a fresh start, I decided not to restore (much of my) data from backups. Sure, I imported passwords, Thunderbird, ~/bash_aliases, and remained logged into browsers, but I didn’t import all my settings, my million browser tabs, or anything like that.

It has been fun! I haven’t done this in a long time. If I hose an OS, I just install and copy my /home directory into the freshly installed OS and I’m good to go.

As an aside, I’m quite grateful that I’ve written these articles. They’ve come in handy while rebuilding my system. I find myself referring to this site quite often. After all, I tend to write about what I know. These are often articles of things I do. This time around, it’s simply how you can automatically enable Num Lock in Linux Mint. This shouldn’t take long.

If you’re interested in this article, you might be interested in this other article:

Disable The Caps Lock Key In Linux Mint

Automatically Enable Num Lock In Linux Mint:

You don’t need an open terminal for this, but we’ll use the terminal because it’s easier for me to do this in the terminal. You can start by pressing CTRL + ALT + T to open your terminal.

With your terminal now open, we’re going to install an application called numlockx.  This is required if you want to use this method of enabling Num Lock automatically. 

If you check the man page, you’ll see that this is the tool we want for this task.

numlockx – Control the state of NumLock

Sure enough, that’s what we want to do! The rest is all in the GUI.

Open your menu and search for “login”. You’ll see an application called Login Window. Open that and then click on the Settings tab. With that Settings tab open, tick the slider to automatically enable Num Lock when you log into the system. It looks like this:

it's easy to automatically enable num lock in Linux Mint
That’s really all there is to it, so long as you first install numlockx. See? I told you it was easy!

That is what your screen should look like to enable Num Lock. This is it at the login window portion of the boot. This means you’ll have the Num Lock enabled and won’t have to remember to press the button when you use it.


See? I told you this one would be quick and easy. Like I said, I’m just scratching my own itch. I prefer the Num Lock key to be enabled all the time. It’s just a habit for me and I do use the number pad fairly often. I figured I’d share it, seeing as it was something that was on my mind.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Unzip .gz Files With gunzip

You can just as easily do this in a GUI, but we’ll be using the Linux terminal to unzip .gz files with gunzip. Why? Because we can! You never know when you’ll be limited to a terminal and need to extract the files found in a .gz file.

If you do some searching around the web, you’ll see that .gz files are made with gzip. If you do some more digging, you’ll learn that gzip is both a file type and the name of the application. The .gz files are referred to as gzip files.

While you may encounter just plain .gz files, you’ll often find them as ‘tar.gz’ files, meaning they’ve been prepared for tape archives. You can read about that here:

Let’s Decompress A File (tar.gz) In The Terminal

You won’t need to install anything for this article. The tools will be installed on any major distro – and even on most minor distros. Gzip has been around for more than 30 years, at the time of this writing, and is widely used – even though there are many other compression tools out there. The .gz format is not patent encumbered, nor is it proprietary.

We’ll be using gunzip to unzip .gz files. If you check the man page, you’ll see:

gzip, gunzip, zcat – compress or expand files

As you can see, that means it is the right tool for the job. You can just as easily use ‘file-roller’ in your GUI to unzip .gz files. You have choices!

It’s currently a Sunday evening and my last few articles have been quite long. I think we’ll keep this one short. I might as well…

Unzip .gz Files With gunzip:

As I mentioned earlier, you can do this with a GUI application. We’ll be unzipping .gz files in the terminal. Just press CTRL + ALT + T to get your terminal open and we can begin.

The first thing you need is a .gz file.

Download example.gz here: Link

With that freshly downloaded, you can use cd to get to your ~/Downloads directory (or whichever directory you used):

Now, you can simply extract the contents, like so:

If you want to extract multiple .gz files at one time, try this:

If you want to extract all the .gz files in a folder, try this command:

There you have it. That’s all you need to know if you want to unzip .gz files with gunzip. It’s not even a little complicated. Anyone can figure this one out.


I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d keep this one short. There’s no reason to make it all that long and it’s a weekend. It’s also a holiday weekend and you got a lovely article on Saturday. This one is just a simple task, for those who might want to unzip ..gz files with gunzip – in the Linux terminal. It’s pretty easy!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Enable fsck On System Start

If you ever want to check your filesystem’s health in Linux, you might have wanted to enable fsck on system start. This is some maintenance work that we should probably consider performing regularly. Verifying the health of our data is not a bad thing and it doesn’t even take that long.

When you run fsck, you’re not checking the hardware’s integrity. That’s something done with S.M.A.R.T. and is something else you might want to check regularly. This is checking the integrity of our data, the health of your partitions, and that sort of thing.

I’m inept and didn’t remember to write this ahead of time, so this was written after eating way too much and a few glasses of wine. You have been warned.

Anyhow, I’ve written about fsck before:

Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD
How To: Check A Disk For Errors
A Couple More Ways To Find Your File System Type

If you get a minute, those articles might interest you.

What Is fsck:

You won’t need to install anything in this article. If you hunt around the ‘net, you’ll find that fsck somehow stands for ‘file system consistency check’. Please don’t blame me, I didn’t name anything. You’ll find that fsck is installed by default on most anything UNIX-like, including the BSD family and MacOS.

You can run fsck manually against unmounted partitions. In this case, we’ll make that easier by running fsck during the boot process. We’ll be telling fsck to run during the startup process. This means it’ll run automatically when you reboot.

If you check the man page for fsck, you’ll see it’s described like so:

fsck – check and repair a Linux filesystem

So, this is the correct tool for the job. If you look further, you’ll also come across this bit of information:

fsck is used to check and optionally repair one or more Linux filesystems.

You can verify that fsck is installed with this command:

The output from that command will tell you the version and the bit about ‘util-linux’ will let you know why I can assume that fsck is installed by default.

We’ll also be using the following tool…

What is tune2fs:

The tune2fs application is the tool we’ll be using to schedule the fsck command. The syntax is quite simple and you’ll be a professional in no time. If you were to check the man page, you’d see it described like this:

tune2fs – adjust tunable file system parameters on ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems

NOTE: It’s important to realize that this is only going to work if you’re using one of those three formats. If you’re not using an ext* formatted partition, this isn’t going to work for you. There are other tools. This one is not for you.

The tune2fs application is almost certainly installed by default. If you check the man page it says it’s an invalid option – but it does tell you the version. Which means you can ensure that it is installed. However, you can just as easily verify that tune2fs is installed with this command:

While that won’t give you a version number, you don’t need to know the version. This is one of those applications that are robustly finished, for lack of a better term. It’ll work with your system.


We will also be using lsblk. We’ve used this command many times. Several other commands will get you the same information, but lsblk is a nice and easy example. If you check the man page, you’ll see that lsblk is described as:

lsblk – list block devices

Which, as you can see, is exactly the right tool for the job. Block devices are, in this case, drives and partitions. We’re interested in the partitions for this exercise. It’s a basic Linux utility and will be installed by default. You can verify that lsblk is installed by default with this command:

If any of these tools aren’t installed by default, please leave a comment. I don’t think I can recall a server or desktop distro that doesn’t have these basic tools installed by default. You shouldn’t need any additional tools for this exercise.

Enable fsck On System Start:

If it’s not obvious, fsck is a tool usually called from the terminal. I’m sure a GUI frontend exists somewhere, but that’s not covered in this article. So, press CTRL + ALT + T and let’s get started learning how to enable fsck when you start your system up.

First, let me cover another method. If you want to run fsck on the next boot and against your root partition, you can skip all of this and just run this command:

I think I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention that. The next time you reboot the device, it will run fsck on the root partition. It will clean itself up afterward and only run it that once, assuming all goes to plan.

What we’ll be doing is using tune2fs to schedule running fsck. We’ll specify the disk name and the frequency at which fsck is run. You’ll have options with the tune2fs method. I’ll explain them as well as I can.

Enable fsck With tune2fs:

With that open terminal, we need first to find the name of the partition you want to check. For that, we’ll use the lsblk command. The syntax is easy.

An example output from that command would be:

We are interested in the name section, which is sda* and we’ll be adding /dev to that name.

In this instance, we can see that there’s an efi partition and that efi isn’t an ext* formatted partition. So, that leaves us with sda2. As you learned earlier in this article, we could just run fsck against the root (the / partition) easily enough. So, in this article, we’re going to refer to sdb1 and you’ll apply it to your personal needs.

The syntax to enable fsck on system start is quite simple. I’ll give you an example:

So, let’s say we want to run fsck on sdb1 the next time we reboot. The command would look like this:

If I want to run this command every tenth time the system reboots, I can do that easily. I’d run this modified command:

You can schedule fsck easily this way, and apply it to different partitions without much additional effort. If you want to set it to check every 25 times, you can do that. You can just set it and forget it and then you’d have a slower boot time every 25 system starts because the system would be checking the drive(s) for errors.

When you’re done, you can disable this command easily enough. Just change the frequency to zero. If I were to disable fsck from running at system startup, I’d run this command:

That’s all there is to it. I’m sure you can manage. Hopefully, those directions are clear enough. If not, you can always ask questions!


Well, I didn’t expect I’d write a long article tonight. I expected it to be a short and easy article. You can see how that turned out. Though, if you ever need to enable fsck on system start, you now know how you can go about doing so.

Best of all, assuming I’ve done my job well enough, you’ll be able to do so easily and without mistakes. However, mistakes with just this won’t be too worrisome. I suppose the worst case is that you check your filesystem’s health more often than you want to. Even then, that’s easily corrected. 

You might want to write down how to cancel it or remember this page so that you can return to remind you how to disable it. It’s not complicated and might even be stored in your bash history file so that you can reference it easily.

Either way, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving – if you celebrate. If you do not celebrate, I hope you had a happy Thursday! As for me and mine, it was a pretty good day. I have no complaints, other than there wasn’t a giant snowstorm to make things interesting.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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