e2image - Save critical ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem metadata to a file


   e2image [ -r|Q ] [ -fr ] device image-file
   e2image -I device image-file
   e2image  -ra  [  -cfnp  ] [ -o src_offset ] [ -O dest_offset ] src_fs [
   dest_fs ]


   The e2image program will save critical ext2, ext3, or  ext4  filesystem
   metadata  located  on  device  to  a file specified by image-file.  The
   image file may be examined by dumpe2fs and debugfs,  by  using  the  -i
   option  to  those  programs.   This  can assist an expert in recovering
   catastrophically corrupted filesystems.  In the future, e2fsck will  be
   enhanced  to  be  able  to  use  the image file to help recover a badly
   damaged filesystem.

   When saving an e2image for debugging purposes, using either the  -r  or
   -Q  options,  the filesystem must be unmounted or be mounted read/only,
   in order for the  image  file  to  be  in  a  consistent  state.   This
   requirement  can  be  overridden using the -f option, but the resulting
   image file is very likely not going to be useful.

   If image-file is -, then the output of e2image will be sent to standard
   output,  so  that  the  output can be piped to another program, such as
   gzip(1).  (Note that this is currently only supported when  creating  a
   raw  image  file  using  the -r option, since the process of creating a
   normal image file, or QCOW2 image currently requires random  access  to
   the  file,  which  cannot  be done using a pipe.  This restriction will
   hopefully be lifted in a future version of e2image.)

   It is a very good idea to create image files for all of filesystems  on
   a  system  and  save the partition layout (which can be generated using
   the fdisk -l command) at regular intervals ---  at  boot  time,  and/or
   every  week  or so.  The image file should be stored on some filesystem
   other than the filesystem whose data it contains, to ensure  that  this
   data  is  accessible  in  the  case where the filesystem has been badly

   To save disk space, e2image creates the image file as a sparse file, or
   in QCOW2 format.  Hence, if the sparse image file needs to be copied to
   another location, it should either be compressed first or copied  using
   the  --sparse=always  option  to  the GNU version of cp.  This does not
   apply to the QCOW2 image, which is not sparse.

   The size of an ext2 image file depends primarily on  the  size  of  the
   filesystems  and how many inodes are in use.  For a typical 10 gigabyte
   filesystem, with 200,000 inodes in use out of 1.2 million  inodes,  the
   image  file will be approximately 35 megabytes; a 4 gigabyte filesystem
   with 15,000 inodes in use out of 550,000 inodes  will  result  in  a  3
   megabyte  image  file.   Image  files tend to be quite compressible; an
   image file taking up 32 megabytes  of  space  on  disk  will  generally
   compress down to 3 or 4 megabytes.


   The  -I option will cause e2image to install the metadata stored in the
   image file back  to  the  device.   It  can  be  used  to  restore  the
   filesystem metadata back to the device in emergency situations.

   WARNING!!!!  The -I option should only be used as a desperation measure
   when other alternatives have failed.  If  the  filesystem  has  changed
   since  the  image file was created, data will be lost.  In general, you
   should make a full image backup of the filesystem first,  in  case  you
   wish to try other recovery strategies afterwards.


   The  -r  option  will create a raw image file instead of a normal image
   file.  A raw image file differs from a normal image file in  two  ways.
   First, the filesystem metadata is placed in the proper position so that
   e2fsck, dumpe2fs, debugfs, etc. can be run directly on  the  raw  image
   file.   In order to minimize the amount of disk space consumed by a raw
   image file, the file is created as a sparse file.  (Beware  of  copying
   or  compressing/decompressing  this  file  with  utilities  that  don't
   understand how to create sparse files; the file will become as large as
   the  filesystem  itself!)   Secondly,  the raw image file also includes
   indirect blocks and directory blocks, which  the  standard  image  file
   does not have, although this may change in the future.

   Raw  image  files  are  sometimes  used when sending filesystems to the
   maintainer as part of bug reports to  e2fsprogs.   When  used  in  this
   capacity,  the recommended command is as follows (replace hda1 with the
   appropriate device):

        e2image -r /dev/hda1 - | bzip2 > hda1.e2i.bz2

   This will only send the metadata information, without any data  blocks.
   However,  the  filenames  in  the  directory  blocks  can  still reveal
   information about the contents of the filesystem that the bug  reporter
   may  wish to keep confidential.  To address this concern, the -s option
   can be specified.   This  will  cause  e2image  to  scramble  directory
   entries and zero out any unused portions of the directory blocks before
   writing the image file.  However, the -s option will  prevent  analysis
   of problems related to hash-tree indexed directories.

   Note that this will work even if you substitute "/dev/hda1" for another
   raw disk image, or QCOW2 image previously created by e2image.


   The -Q option will create a QCOW2 image file instead of  a  normal,  or
   raw  image  file.   A  QCOW2 image contains all the information the raw
   image does, however unlike the raw image it is not  sparse.  The  QCOW2
   image  minimize  the  amount  of  disk space by storing data in special
   format with pack data closely  together,  hence  avoiding  holes  while
   still minimizing size.

   In  order  to send filesystem to the maintainer as a part of bug report
   to e2fsprogs, use following commands (replace hda1 with the appropriate

        e2image -Q /dev/hda1 hda1.qcow2
        bzip2 -z hda1.qcow2

   This  will only send the metadata information, without any data blocks.
   However, the  filenames  in  the  directory  blocks  can  still  reveal
   information  about the contents of the filesystem that the bug reporter
   may wish to keep confidential.  To address this concern, the -s  option
   can  be  specified.   This  will  cause  e2image  to scramble directory
   entries and zero out any unused portions of the directory blocks before
   writing  the  image file.  However, the -s option will prevent analysis
   of problems related to hash-tree indexed directories.

   Note that QCOW2 image created by e2image is regular QCOW2 image and can
   be  processed  by tools aware of QCOW2 format such as for example qemu-

   You can convert a qcow2 image into a raw image with:

        e2image -r hda1.qcow2 hda1.raw

   This can be useful to write a qcow2 image  containing  all  data  to  a
   sparse image file where it can be loop mounted, or to a disk partition.
   Note that this may not work with qcow2 images not generated by e2image.


   Normally e2image only includes fs metadata, not regular file data.  The
   -a  option  can  be  specified  to include all data.  This will give an
   image that is suitable to use to clone the  entire  FS  or  for  backup
   purposes.   Note  that  this  option  only  works with the raw or QCOW2
   formats.  The -p switch may be given to show  progress.   If  the  file
   system is being cloned to a flash-based storage device (where reads are
   very fast and where it is desirable  to  avoid  unnecessary  writes  to
   reduce  write wear on the device), the -c option which cause e2image to
   try reading a block from the destination to see if it is  identical  to
   the  block which e2image is about to copy.  If the block is already the
   same, the write can be skipped.  The -n option will cause  all  of  the
   writes to be no-ops, and print the blocks that would have been written.


   Normally  a  filesystem  starts  at  the  beginning of a partition, and
   e2image is run on the partition.  When working with  image  files,  you
   don't have the option of using the partition device, so you can specify
   the offset where the filesystem starts directly  with  the  -o  option.
   Similarly  the  -O option specifies the offset that should be seeked to
   in the destination before writing the filesystem.

   For example, if you have a dd image of a whole hard drive that contains
   an  ext2  fs  in  a  partition starting at 1 MiB, you can clone that fs

        e2image -aro 1048576 img /dev/sda1

   Or you can clone a fs into an image file, leaving room in the first MiB
   for a partition table with:

        e2image -arO 1048576 /dev/sda1 img

   If you specify at least one offset, and only one file, an in-place move
   will be performed, allowing you to safely move the filesystem from  one
   offset to another.


   e2image was written by Theodore Ts'o (tytso@mit.edu).


   e2image  is  part  of  the  e2fsprogs  package  and  is  available from


   dumpe2fs(8), debugfs(8)

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