Mounting QCOW2 (KVM/QEMU) directly

First, the tools you need

apt-get install qemu-utils

Now, enable NBD

modprobe nbd max_part=8

Once that is enabled, connect the file as a block device

qemu-nbd --connect=/dev/nbd0 /hds/usb/virts/Windows/main.qcow2

Now, the block device should appear like any other, alongside the partitions inside !

fdisk -l

On my machine, this resulted in

Disk /dev/nbd0: 95 GiB, 102005473280 bytes, 199229440 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0xc5324c42

Device      Boot     Start       End   Sectors  Size Id Type
/dev/nbd0p1 *         2048    104447    102400   50M  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/nbd0p2         104448 198138958 198034511 94.4G  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/nbd0p3      198139904 199225343   1085440  530M 27 Hidden NTFS WinRE

This disk was around 40GB, but fdisk will see the number corresponding to the largest allowed size, 100GB in this case ! let us mount the drive

mount /dev/nbd0p2 /hds/loop

Now, in this case in particular, like any other block device that held the windows operating system, more often than not, you will get the message saying

The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
Falling back to read-only mount because the NTFS partition is in an
unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown Windows fully (no hibernation
or fast restarting.)
Could not mount read-write, trying read-only

The solution to that is simple, follow the following two steps to remedy the issue and then force mount the file by using remove_hiberfile

ntfsfix /dev/nbd0p2
mount -t ntfs-3g -o remove_hiberfile /dev/nbd0p2 /hds/loop

The result of NTFSFIX was

Mounting volume... The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
FAILED
Attempting to correct errors...
Processing $MFT and $MFTMirr...
Reading $MFT... OK
Reading $MFTMirr... OK
Comparing $MFTMirr to $MFT... OK
Processing of $MFT and $MFTMirr completed successfully.
Setting required flags on partition... OK
Going to empty the journal ($LogFile)... OK
Checking the alternate boot sector... OK
NTFS volume version is 3.1.
NTFS partition /dev/nbd0p2 was processed successfully.

And the following mount command worked as you would expect, silently

Mounting unclean NTFS windows drive in Linux

Whenever i get the following message

mount /dev/sdd1 /hds/sgt2tb
The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
Falling back to read-only mount because the NTFS partition is in an
unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown Windows fully (no hibernation
or fast restarting.)
Could not mount read-write, trying read-only

The command

ntfsfix /dev/sdd1

resolves the issue, and produces the following message

Mounting volume... The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
FAILED
Attempting to correct errors...
Processing $MFT and $MFTMirr...
Reading $MFT... OK
Reading $MFTMirr... OK
Comparing $MFTMirr to $MFT... OK
Processing of $MFT and $MFTMirr completed successfully.
Setting required flags on partition... OK
Going to empty the journal ($LogFile)... OK
Checking the alternate boot sector... OK
NTFS volume version is 3.1.
NTFS partition /dev/sdd1 was processed successfully

The same mount command you see here will now work flawlessly

mount /dev/sdd1 /hds/sgt2tb

I am still unsure what process from the mentioned above is responsible, as this oftentimes pops up on drives that were never system drives, so there is no hibernation file problem

Force mount hibernated NTFS volume

This problem is one i face often, because of how older versions functioned, the answers online no longer apply, online, you will find that

ntfsfix /dev/sdc2

should do the trick, in reality, it will not as you will see the following error

Mounting volume... OK
Processing of $MFT and $MFTMirr completed successfully.
Checking the alternate boot sector... OK
NTFS volume version is 3.1.
NTFS partition /dev/sdc1 was processed successfully.

The solution in reality is asking ntfs-3g’s mount to remove the hiberfile

WHAT YOU NEED – YOU WILL LOSE THE HIBERFILE

mount -t ntfs-3g -o remove_hiberfile /dev/sdc2 /hds/intelssd

Without the remove_hiberfile instruction, you will probably get an error message such as

Windows is hibernated, refused to mount.
Failed to mount '/dev/sdc2': Operation not permitted
The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown
Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting), or mount the volume
read-only with the 'ro' mount option.

Where you can actually mount it as read only if you do not want to write to it with the line

 mount -o ro /dev/sdc1 /hds/intelssd

DD_RESCUE ( GDDRESCUE’s ddrescue ) for disks with Advanced Format ( AF ) 4KiB sectors 4096 byte

1- Before using dd, ddrescue, or dd_rescue, you need to know which disk is which, you can do that by simply using the command “fdisk -l” in my case, the old disk turned out to be /dev/sdb and the new un-partitioned disk is /dev/sdc.

So, i have been cloning a 2TB hard drive ( WD20EARS ) to a WD20EARX, same disk, but with a few differences

WD20EARS is sata 2 and the other is sata 3, another difference is that using “hdparm -I /dev/sdb” the older WD20EARS reports (And should not be true)

WD20EARS

Logical/Physical Sector size:           512 bytes

wile with “hdparm -I /dev/sdc” the newer WD20EARX reports

        Logical  Sector size:                   512 bytes
        Physical Sector size:                  4096 bytes
        Logical Sector-0 offset:                  0 bytes

The first clone did not work for a reason unknown to me, i cloned my NTFS disk with ddrescue (gddrescue) on a linux (because i don’t know how to clone on windows) and then plugged it into windows, where it simply did not work, and in disk management reported the disk as un-partitioned space, so now i want to do the thing again, but i don’t want that slow performance, so i increased block size to 4KiB. (UPDATE: THE NEW COPY WITH 4KiB DID WORK BUT I DONT KNOW IF THE 4KiB SIZE IS RELEVANT, MAYBE YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOOK AT THE SECOND DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DISKS UP AT THE BEGINNING OF THE POST)

For now, i will try the cloning with the command (Only change the block level for advanced format hard drives)

Note, block size no longer works, and it is called sector-size, but the short letter for it -b is still the same, so we will change this to the line below it
ddrescue --block-size=4KiB /dev/sdb /dev/sdc rescue2.log
ddrescue -b=4KiB /dev/sdb /dev/sdc rescue2.log

And if all of your data is important, you can ask ddrescue to retry every bad block 3 times (or as many times as you wish) with the -r command

ddrescue --block-size=4KiB -r3 /dev/sdb /dev/sdc rescue2.log
ddrescue -b=4KiB -r3 /dev/sdb /dev/sdc rescue2.log

And what do you know, the disk now works on my WINDOWS machine 😀 no errors and no nothing, great, so now to some details about the copy

The result up to now is that i am reading at a maximum of 129MB while the average (in the first 60 GBs is 93018 kB/s), if this continues, i will be done in less than 6 hours.

The part that does not make any sense to me is that western digital states clearly in the specs that the maximum (Host to/from drive (sustained)) is 110 MB/s for both drives, it must be that i need to wait a bit more and see what that actually means.

rescued:         0 B,  errsize:       0 B,  errors:       0
Current status
rescued:    74787 MB,  errsize:       0 B,  current rate:     119 MB/s
   ipos:    74787 MB,   errors:       0,    average rate:   93018 kB/s
   opos:    74787 MB,     time from last successful read:       0 s
Copying non-tried blocks...

Now, once done, you can have the OS reload the partition table without having to restart, you can simply use the command partprobe

partprobe
or
partprobe /dev/sdc

To use partprobe, you need to install parted

apt-get install parted

If it were a linux drive, an advanced format drive would not have it’s first sector on sector 63 but rather on sector 2048, which is at exactly 2KiB, it could (but usually does not) start at any other value divisible by 8.

Windows probably does something similar for our AF Disk, so asking parted about our ntfs disk, this is what parted says

Model: ATA WDC WD20EARS-00M (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 2000GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  2000GB  2000GB  primary  ntfs

1049kB is 1074176 bytes, Which when divided by 8 is 134272 (divisible by 8).

NOTES:
-There is a tool specifically for cloning ntfs volumes called ntfsclone, i am not sure what extra features it provides that are specific to ntfs, i have never used it before, with my disk that has bad blocks, i can only rely on gddrescue.
-A block is 512 on regular drives, and 4096 on newer ones, if you want to backup the hard drive’s geometry, you can do one of the following
Backup the first 63 blocks (MBR + Bootloader). on a “non advanced format” drive

dd if=/dev/sda of=/mnt/storage/sda.vbr bs=512 count=63

On an advanced format drive, we can try

dd if=/dev/sda of=/mnt/storage/sda.vbr bs=4096 count=63

Which, will make us read 258048 bytes rather than the traditional 32256 bytes (around 250K rather than 32K)

Rescueing data of a failed hard drive

I accedientally pulled the power plug of a PC from the socket, and that PC was just starting to boot. The seagate hard drive inside stopped working, and the bad sectors turned out to affect the partition table, in any case, i slaved it on a windows vista PC, then into the Computer management, disk management panel, and what do you know, as if it has no paritions…

The solution to detect the boundaries of the 4 partitions it had is software called XXXX

Ran the software (The analyze option) , and what do you know, my partions exactly, 100MB made by Windows 7, a 479 GB partition for Windows, a 1GB swap partition for linux and an EXT3 partition for Linux…

So happily i asked the software to write the partitioning info to the disk, but the disk won’t hold the data, the bad sectors are where Windows writes the partition information

So, i ran down to the computer shop (In our building), and got the same exact drive (Seagate 500GB Model number xxx)

Mounted both on a Linux machine as slaves, both the damaged and the target.

To find out which one is SDC and which one is SDB, i watched as the linux machine booted, and as it booted, it threw in errors saying SDB all the time, so i know that SDB is the busted drive !

Installed gddrescue (apt-get install gddrescue), and ran it with the following command

ddrescue /dev/sdb /dev/sdc resumelog.log

(The additional log file helps us resume in case of interruption)

Once that is done, i put the new hard drive in a Windows machine, still can not see any partition info

1- Ran xxxx, it can see the 4 partitions, write changes… and what do you know, the partitions stick, we are good to go, i restart, but still, Windows can now see the partitions, but thinks drive G is not formated !

So i opened the command prompt (Elevated), then ran the command

chkdsk g: /f

the /f stands for fix, the thing took some time, but after the restart drive G works fine, all files are in there, and no one wants to kill me no more 🙂