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@c man begin SYNOPSIS
@command{qemu-img} [@var{standard} @var{options}] @var{command} [@var{command} @var{options}]
@c man end
@end example
@c man begin DESCRIPTION
qemu-img allows you to create, convert and modify images offline. It can handle
all image formats supported by QEMU.
@b{Warning:} Never use qemu-img to modify images in use by a running virtual
machine or any other process; this may destroy the image. Also, be aware that
querying an image that is being modified by another process may encounter
inconsistent state.
@c man end
@c man begin OPTIONS
Standard options:
@table @option
@item -h, --help
Display this help and exit
@item -V, --version
Display version information and exit
@item -T, --trace [[enable=]@var{pattern}][,events=@var{file}][,file=@var{file}]
@findex --trace
@include qemu-option-trace.texi
@end table
The following commands are supported:
@include qemu-img-cmds.texi
Command parameters:
@table @var
@item filename
is a disk image filename
@item --object @var{objectdef}
is a QEMU user creatable object definition. See the @code{qemu(1)} manual
page for a description of the object properties. The most common object
type is a @code{secret}, which is used to supply passwords and/or encryption
@item --image-opts
Indicates that the @var{filename} parameter is to be interpreted as a
full option string, not a plain filename. This parameter is mutually
exclusive with the @var{-f} and @var{-F} parameters.
@item fmt
is the disk image format. It is guessed automatically in most cases. See below
for a description of the supported disk formats.
@item --backing-chain
will enumerate information about backing files in a disk image chain. Refer
below for further description.
@item size
is the disk image size in bytes. Optional suffixes @code{k} or @code{K}
(kilobyte, 1024) @code{M} (megabyte, 1024k) and @code{G} (gigabyte, 1024M)
and T (terabyte, 1024G) are supported. @code{b} is ignored.
@item output_filename
is the destination disk image filename
@item output_fmt
is the destination format
@item options
is a comma separated list of format specific options in a
name=value format. Use @code{-o ?} for an overview of the options supported
by the used format or see the format descriptions below for details.
@item snapshot_param
is param used for internal snapshot, format is
'[ID],[NAME]' or '[ID_OR_NAME]'
@item snapshot_id_or_name
is deprecated, use snapshot_param instead
@item -c
indicates that target image must be compressed (qcow format only)
@item -h
with or without a command shows help and lists the supported formats
@item -p
display progress bar (compare, convert and rebase commands only).
If the @var{-p} option is not used for a command that supports it, the
progress is reported when the process receives a @code{SIGUSR1} signal.
@item -q
Quiet mode - do not print any output (except errors). There's no progress bar
in case both @var{-q} and @var{-p} options are used.
@item -S @var{size}
indicates the consecutive number of bytes that must contain only zeros
for qemu-img to create a sparse image during conversion. This value is rounded
down to the nearest 512 bytes. You may use the common size suffixes like
@code{k} for kilobytes.
@item -t @var{cache}
specifies the cache mode that should be used with the (destination) file. See
the documentation of the emulator's @code{-drive cache=...} option for allowed
@item -T @var{src_cache}
specifies the cache mode that should be used with the source file(s). See
the documentation of the emulator's @code{-drive cache=...} option for allowed
@end table
Parameters to snapshot subcommand:
@table @option
@item snapshot
is the name of the snapshot to create, apply or delete
@item -a
applies a snapshot (revert disk to saved state)
@item -c
creates a snapshot
@item -d
deletes a snapshot
@item -l
lists all snapshots in the given image
@end table
Parameters to compare subcommand:
@table @option
@item -f
First image format
@item -F
Second image format
@item -s
Strict mode - fail on different image size or sector allocation
@end table
Parameters to convert subcommand:
@table @option
@item -n
Skip the creation of the target volume
@end table
Command description:
@table @option
@item bench [-c @var{count}] [-d @var{depth}] [-f @var{fmt}] [--flush-interval=@var{flush_interval}] [-n] [--no-drain] [-o @var{offset}] [--pattern=@var{pattern}] [-q] [-s @var{buffer_size}] [-S @var{step_size}] [-t @var{cache}] [-w] @var{filename}
Run a simple sequential I/O benchmark on the specified image. If @code{-w} is
specified, a write test is performed, otherwise a read test is performed.
A total number of @var{count} I/O requests is performed, each @var{buffer_size}
bytes in size, and with @var{depth} requests in parallel. The first request
starts at the position given by @var{offset}, each following request increases
the current position by @var{step_size}. If @var{step_size} is not given,
@var{buffer_size} is used for its value.
If @var{flush_interval} is specified for a write test, the request queue is
drained and a flush is issued before new writes are made whenever the number of
remaining requests is a multiple of @var{flush_interval}. If additionally
@code{--no-drain} is specified, a flush is issued without draining the request
queue first.
If @code{-n} is specified, the native AIO backend is used if possible. On
Linux, this option only works if @code{-t none} or @code{-t directsync} is
specified as well.
For write tests, by default a buffer filled with zeros is written. This can be
overridden with a pattern byte specified by @var{pattern}.
@item check [-f @var{fmt}] [--output=@var{ofmt}] [-r [leaks | all]] [-T @var{src_cache}] @var{filename}
Perform a consistency check on the disk image @var{filename}. The command can
output in the format @var{ofmt} which is either @code{human} or @code{json}.
If @code{-r} is specified, qemu-img tries to repair any inconsistencies found
during the check. @code{-r leaks} repairs only cluster leaks, whereas
@code{-r all} fixes all kinds of errors, with a higher risk of choosing the
wrong fix or hiding corruption that has already occurred.
Only the formats @code{qcow2}, @code{qed} and @code{vdi} support
consistency checks.
In case the image does not have any inconsistencies, check exits with @code{0}.
Other exit codes indicate the kind of inconsistency found or if another error
occurred. The following table summarizes all exit codes of the check subcommand:
@table @option
@item 0
Check completed, the image is (now) consistent
@item 1
Check not completed because of internal errors
@item 2
Check completed, image is corrupted
@item 3
Check completed, image has leaked clusters, but is not corrupted
@item 63
Checks are not supported by the image format
@end table
If @code{-r} is specified, exit codes representing the image state refer to the
state after (the attempt at) repairing it. That is, a successful @code{-r all}
will yield the exit code 0, independently of the image state before.
@item create [-f @var{fmt}] [-o @var{options}] @var{filename} [@var{size}]
Create the new disk image @var{filename} of size @var{size} and format
@var{fmt}. Depending on the file format, you can add one or more @var{options}
that enable additional features of this format.
If the option @var{backing_file} is specified, then the image will record
only the differences from @var{backing_file}. No size needs to be specified in
this case. @var{backing_file} will never be modified unless you use the
@code{commit} monitor command (or qemu-img commit).
The size can also be specified using the @var{size} option with @code{-o},
it doesn't need to be specified separately in this case.
@item commit [-q] [-f @var{fmt}] [-t @var{cache}] [-b @var{base}] [-d] [-p] @var{filename}
Commit the changes recorded in @var{filename} in its base image or backing file.
If the backing file is smaller than the snapshot, then the backing file will be
resized to be the same size as the snapshot. If the snapshot is smaller than
the backing file, the backing file will not be truncated. If you want the
backing file to match the size of the smaller snapshot, you can safely truncate
it yourself once the commit operation successfully completes.
The image @var{filename} is emptied after the operation has succeeded. If you do
not need @var{filename} afterwards and intend to drop it, you may skip emptying
@var{filename} by specifying the @code{-d} flag.
If the backing chain of the given image file @var{filename} has more than one
layer, the backing file into which the changes will be committed may be
specified as @var{base} (which has to be part of @var{filename}'s backing
chain). If @var{base} is not specified, the immediate backing file of the top
image (which is @var{filename}) will be used. For reasons of consistency,
explicitly specifying @var{base} will always imply @code{-d} (since emptying an
image after committing to an indirect backing file would lead to different data
being read from the image due to content in the intermediate backing chain
overruling the commit target).
@item compare [-f @var{fmt}] [-F @var{fmt}] [-T @var{src_cache}] [-p] [-s] [-q] @var{filename1} @var{filename2}
Check if two images have the same content. You can compare images with
different format or settings.
The format is probed unless you specify it by @var{-f} (used for
@var{filename1}) and/or @var{-F} (used for @var{filename2}) option.
By default, images with different size are considered identical if the larger
image contains only unallocated and/or zeroed sectors in the area after the end
of the other image. In addition, if any sector is not allocated in one image
and contains only zero bytes in the second one, it is evaluated as equal. You
can use Strict mode by specifying the @var{-s} option. When compare runs in
Strict mode, it fails in case image size differs or a sector is allocated in
one image and is not allocated in the second one.
By default, compare prints out a result message. This message displays
information that both images are same or the position of the first different
byte. In addition, result message can report different image size in case
Strict mode is used.
Compare exits with @code{0} in case the images are equal and with @code{1}
in case the images differ. Other exit codes mean an error occurred during
execution and standard error output should contain an error message.
The following table sumarizes all exit codes of the compare subcommand:
@table @option
@item 0
Images are identical
@item 1
Images differ
@item 2
Error on opening an image
@item 3
Error on checking a sector allocation
@item 4
Error on reading data
@end table
@item convert [-c] [-p] [-n] [-f @var{fmt}] [-t @var{cache}] [-T @var{src_cache}] [-O @var{output_fmt}] [-o @var{options}] [-s @var{snapshot_id_or_name}] [-l @var{snapshot_param}] [-S @var{sparse_size}] @var{filename} [@var{filename2} [...]] @var{output_filename}
Convert the disk image @var{filename} or a snapshot @var{snapshot_param}(@var{snapshot_id_or_name} is deprecated)
to disk image @var{output_filename} using format @var{output_fmt}. It can be optionally compressed (@code{-c}
option) or use any format specific options like encryption (@code{-o} option).
Only the formats @code{qcow} and @code{qcow2} support compression. The
compression is read-only. It means that if a compressed sector is
rewritten, then it is rewritten as uncompressed data.
Image conversion is also useful to get smaller image when using a
growable format such as @code{qcow}: the empty sectors are detected and
suppressed from the destination image.
@var{sparse_size} indicates the consecutive number of bytes (defaults to 4k)
that must contain only zeros for qemu-img to create a sparse image during
conversion. If @var{sparse_size} is 0, the source will not be scanned for
unallocated or zero sectors, and the destination image will always be
fully allocated.
You can use the @var{backing_file} option to force the output image to be
created as a copy on write image of the specified base image; the
@var{backing_file} should have the same content as the input's base image,
however the path, image format, etc may differ.
If the @code{-n} option is specified, the target volume creation will be
skipped. This is useful for formats such as @code{rbd} if the target
volume has already been created with site specific options that cannot
be supplied through qemu-img.
@item info [-f @var{fmt}] [--output=@var{ofmt}] [--backing-chain] @var{filename}
Give information about the disk image @var{filename}. Use it in
particular to know the size reserved on disk which can be different
from the displayed size. If VM snapshots are stored in the disk image,
they are displayed too. The command can output in the format @var{ofmt}
which is either @code{human} or @code{json}.
If a disk image has a backing file chain, information about each disk image in
the chain can be recursively enumerated by using the option @code{--backing-chain}.
For instance, if you have an image chain like:
base.qcow2 <- snap1.qcow2 <- snap2.qcow2
@end example
To enumerate information about each disk image in the above chain, starting from top to base, do:
qemu-img info --backing-chain snap2.qcow2
@end example
@item map [-f @var{fmt}] [--output=@var{ofmt}] @var{filename}
Dump the metadata of image @var{filename} and its backing file chain.
In particular, this commands dumps the allocation state of every sector
of @var{filename}, together with the topmost file that allocates it in
the backing file chain.
Two option formats are possible. The default format (@code{human})
only dumps known-nonzero areas of the file. Known-zero parts of the
file are omitted altogether, and likewise for parts that are not allocated
throughout the chain. @command{qemu-img} output will identify a file
from where the data can be read, and the offset in the file. Each line
will include four fields, the first three of which are hexadecimal
numbers. For example the first line of:
Offset Length Mapped to File
0 0x20000 0x50000 /tmp/overlay.qcow2
0x100000 0x10000 0x95380000 /tmp/backing.qcow2
@end example
means that 0x20000 (131072) bytes starting at offset 0 in the image are
available in /tmp/overlay.qcow2 (opened in @code{raw} format) starting
at offset 0x50000 (327680). Data that is compressed, encrypted, or
otherwise not available in raw format will cause an error if @code{human}
format is in use. Note that file names can include newlines, thus it is
not safe to parse this output format in scripts.
The alternative format @code{json} will return an array of dictionaries
in JSON format. It will include similar information in
the @code{start}, @code{length}, @code{offset} fields;
it will also include other more specific information:
@itemize @minus
whether the sectors contain actual data or not (boolean field @code{data};
if false, the sectors are either unallocated or stored as optimized
all-zero clusters);
whether the data is known to read as zero (boolean field @code{zero});
in order to make the output shorter, the target file is expressed as
a @code{depth}; for example, a depth of 2 refers to the backing file
of the backing file of @var{filename}.
@end itemize
In JSON format, the @code{offset} field is optional; it is absent in
cases where @code{human} format would omit the entry or exit with an error.
If @code{data} is false and the @code{offset} field is present, the
corresponding sectors in the file are not yet in use, but they are
For more information, consult @file{include/block/block.h} in QEMU's
source code.
@item snapshot [-l | -a @var{snapshot} | -c @var{snapshot} | -d @var{snapshot} ] @var{filename}
List, apply, create or delete snapshots in image @var{filename}.
@item rebase [-f @var{fmt}] [-t @var{cache}] [-T @var{src_cache}] [-p] [-u] -b @var{backing_file} [-F @var{backing_fmt}] @var{filename}
Changes the backing file of an image. Only the formats @code{qcow2} and
@code{qed} support changing the backing file.
The backing file is changed to @var{backing_file} and (if the image format of
@var{filename} supports this) the backing file format is changed to
@var{backing_fmt}. If @var{backing_file} is specified as ``'' (the empty
string), then the image is rebased onto no backing file (i.e. it will exist
independently of any backing file).
@var{cache} specifies the cache mode to be used for @var{filename}, whereas
@var{src_cache} specifies the cache mode for reading backing files.
There are two different modes in which @code{rebase} can operate:
@table @option
@item Safe mode
This is the default mode and performs a real rebase operation. The new backing
file may differ from the old one and qemu-img rebase will take care of keeping
the guest-visible content of @var{filename} unchanged.
In order to achieve this, any clusters that differ between @var{backing_file}
and the old backing file of @var{filename} are merged into @var{filename}
before actually changing the backing file.
Note that the safe mode is an expensive operation, comparable to converting
an image. It only works if the old backing file still exists.
@item Unsafe mode
qemu-img uses the unsafe mode if @code{-u} is specified. In this mode, only the
backing file name and format of @var{filename} is changed without any checks
on the file contents. The user must take care of specifying the correct new
backing file, or the guest-visible content of the image will be corrupted.
This mode is useful for renaming or moving the backing file to somewhere else.
It can be used without an accessible old backing file, i.e. you can use it to
fix an image whose backing file has already been moved/renamed.
@end table
You can use @code{rebase} to perform a ``diff'' operation on two
disk images. This can be useful when you have copied or cloned
a guest, and you want to get back to a thin image on top of a
template or base image.
Say that @code{base.img} has been cloned as @code{modified.img} by
copying it, and that the @code{modified.img} guest has run so there
are now some changes compared to @code{base.img}. To construct a thin
image called @code{diff.qcow2} that contains just the differences, do:
qemu-img create -f qcow2 -b modified.img diff.qcow2
qemu-img rebase -b base.img diff.qcow2
@end example
At this point, @code{modified.img} can be discarded, since
@code{base.img + diff.qcow2} contains the same information.
@item resize @var{filename} [+ | -]@var{size}
Change the disk image as if it had been created with @var{size}.
Before using this command to shrink a disk image, you MUST use file system and
partitioning tools inside the VM to reduce allocated file systems and partition
sizes accordingly. Failure to do so will result in data loss!
After using this command to grow a disk image, you must use file system and
partitioning tools inside the VM to actually begin using the new space on the
@item amend [-p] [-f @var{fmt}] [-t @var{cache}] -o @var{options} @var{filename}
Amends the image format specific @var{options} for the image file
@var{filename}. Not all file formats support this operation.
@end table
@c man end
@c man begin NOTES
Supported image file formats:
@table @option
@item raw
Raw disk image format (default). This format has the advantage of
being simple and easily exportable to all other emulators. If your
file system supports @emph{holes} (for example in ext2 or ext3 on
Linux or NTFS on Windows), then only the written sectors will reserve
space. Use @code{qemu-img info} to know the real size used by the
image or @code{ls -ls} on Unix/Linux.
Supported options:
@table @code
@item preallocation
Preallocation mode (allowed values: @code{off}, @code{falloc}, @code{full}).
@code{falloc} mode preallocates space for image by calling posix_fallocate().
@code{full} mode preallocates space for image by writing zeros to underlying
@end table
@item qcow2
QEMU image format, the most versatile format. Use it to have smaller
images (useful if your filesystem does not supports holes, for example
on Windows), optional AES encryption, zlib based compression and
support of multiple VM snapshots.
Supported options:
@table @code
@item compat
Determines the qcow2 version to use. @code{compat=0.10} uses the
traditional image format that can be read by any QEMU since 0.10.
@code{compat=1.1} enables image format extensions that only QEMU 1.1 and
newer understand (this is the default). Amongst others, this includes zero
clusters, which allow efficient copy-on-read for sparse images.
@item backing_file
File name of a base image (see @option{create} subcommand)
@item backing_fmt
Image format of the base image
@item encryption
If this option is set to @code{on}, the image is encrypted with 128-bit AES-CBC.
The use of encryption in qcow and qcow2 images is considered to be flawed by
modern cryptography standards, suffering from a number of design problems:
@itemize @minus
@item The AES-CBC cipher is used with predictable initialization vectors based
on the sector number. This makes it vulnerable to chosen plaintext attacks
which can reveal the existence of encrypted data.
@item The user passphrase is directly used as the encryption key. A poorly
chosen or short passphrase will compromise the security of the encryption.
@item In the event of the passphrase being compromised there is no way to
change the passphrase to protect data in any qcow images. The files must
be cloned, using a different encryption passphrase in the new file. The
original file must then be securely erased using a program like shred,
though even this is ineffective with many modern storage technologies.
@end itemize
Use of qcow / qcow2 encryption is thus strongly discouraged. Users are
recommended to use an alternative encryption technology such as the
Linux dm-crypt / LUKS system.
@item cluster_size
Changes the qcow2 cluster size (must be between 512 and 2M). Smaller cluster
sizes can improve the image file size whereas larger cluster sizes generally
provide better performance.
@item preallocation
Preallocation mode (allowed values: @code{off}, @code{metadata}, @code{falloc},
@code{full}). An image with preallocated metadata is initially larger but can
improve performance when the image needs to grow. @code{falloc} and @code{full}
preallocations are like the same options of @code{raw} format, but sets up
metadata also.
@item lazy_refcounts
If this option is set to @code{on}, reference count updates are postponed with
the goal of avoiding metadata I/O and improving performance. This is
particularly interesting with @option{cache=writethrough} which doesn't batch
metadata updates. The tradeoff is that after a host crash, the reference count
tables must be rebuilt, i.e. on the next open an (automatic) @code{qemu-img
check -r all} is required, which may take some time.
This option can only be enabled if @code{compat=1.1} is specified.
@item nocow
If this option is set to @code{on}, it will turn off COW of the file. It's only
valid on btrfs, no effect on other file systems.
Btrfs has low performance when hosting a VM image file, even more when the guest
on the VM also using btrfs as file system. Turning off COW is a way to mitigate
this bad performance. Generally there are two ways to turn off COW on btrfs:
a) Disable it by mounting with nodatacow, then all newly created files will be
NOCOW. b) For an empty file, add the NOCOW file attribute. That's what this option
Note: this option is only valid to new or empty files. If there is an existing
file which is COW and has data blocks already, it couldn't be changed to NOCOW
by setting @code{nocow=on}. One can issue @code{lsattr filename} to check if
the NOCOW flag is set or not (Capital 'C' is NOCOW flag).
@end table
@item Other
QEMU also supports various other image file formats for compatibility with
older QEMU versions or other hypervisors, including VMDK, VDI, VHD (vpc), VHDX,
qcow1 and QED. For a full list of supported formats see @code{qemu-img --help}.
For a more detailed description of these formats, see the QEMU Emulation User
The main purpose of the block drivers for these formats is image conversion.
For running VMs, it is recommended to convert the disk images to either raw or
qcow2 in order to achieve good performance.
@end table
@c man end
@setfilename qemu-img
@settitle QEMU disk image utility
@c man begin SEEALSO
The HTML documentation of QEMU for more precise information and Linux
user mode emulator invocation.
@c man end
@c man begin AUTHOR
Fabrice Bellard
@c man end
@end ignore