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Disable H-Tree Indexing on an ext3 Filesystem

This document (7011432) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11


In certain situations it is beneficial/necessary to disable H-Tree indexing on your EXT3 file system.


To disable H-Tree indexing on an ext3 file system, it is advisable to disable this feature at filesystem creation time.  H-Tree indexing can be removed after, but extensive testing has not been done as to system stability and reliability after doing this.

Situation 1: Disabling H-Tree Indexing During Install

During SLES installation do the following:

1. On the "Installation Settings" screen click Change... and choose Partitioning.

2. Choose "Custom Partitioning (for experts)".

3. At this point it is possible to create a custom partitioning scheme, or to just edit the default scheme.

4. If choosing to just edit the default partitioning scheme, highlight the partition that you wish to disable H-Tree Indexing on and click "Edit".

5. Under Formatting options choose "Format Partition", select ext3 filesystem type, and then click "Options".

6. On the file system options screen make sure that the "Directory Index Feature" is unchecked.

7. Click "Finish" and then "Accept".

8. Now proceed with the Install as normal.

Situation 2: Disabling H-Tree Indexing on an already created filesystem

To disable H-Tree indexing the partition in question must be unmounted.  If the partition is not the system volume, then this can be done from inside the operating system, if it is the root partition then the only way to do this will be to boot into Rescue Mode off the SLES media to affect the changes.

With the partition unmounted:

1. Use tune2fs to make the changes:

     tune2fs -O ^dir_index /dev/sdXY, where sdXY is your device.

2. Run a fsck on the file system to affect the changes.  Depending on the size of the partition this may take a while.

     e2fsck -fDvy /dev/sdXY
A bunch of messages looking like:

     "inode nnnnn has INDEX_FL flag ... without htree support. Clear htree index? yes"
will appear.  This is ok.  After this has finished, it is safe to either remount the partition if performing this on a partition that is not the root partition, or to reboot the server if done on the root partition.

Additional Information


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7011432
  • Creation Date: 28-Nov-2012
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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