systemd-dissect — Dissect file system OS images
systemd-dissect is a tool for introspecting and interacting with file system OS disk images. It supports four different operations:
Show general OS image information, including the image's os-release(5) data, machine ID, partition information and more.
Mount an OS image to a local directory. In this mode it will dissect the OS image and mount the included partitions according to their designation onto a directory and possibly sub-directories.
Copy files and directories in and out of an OS image.
The tool may operate on three types of OS images:
OS disk images containing a GPT partition table envelope, with partitions marked according to the Discoverable Partitions Specification.
OS disk images containing just a plain file-system without an enveloping partition table. (This file system is assumed to be the root file system of the OS.)
OS disk images containing a GPT or MBR partition table, with a single partition only. (This partition is assumed to contain the root file system of the OS.)
OS images may use any kind of Linux-supported file systems. In addition they may make use of LUKS
disk encryption, and contain Verity integrity information. Note that qualifying OS images may be booted
--image= switch, and be used as root file system for system service using the
RootImage= unit file setting, see
Note that the partition table shown when invoked without command switch (as listed below) does not
necessarily show all partitions included in the image, but just the partitions that are understood and
considered part of an OS disk image. Specifically, partitions of unknown types are ignored, as well as
duplicate partitions (i.e. more than one per partition type), as are root and
partitions of architectures not compatible with the local system. In other words: this tool will display
what it operates with when mounting the image. To display the complete list of partitions use a tool such
If neither of the command switches listed below are passed the specified disk image is opened and general information about the image and the contained partitions and their use is shown.
Mount the specified OS image to the specified directory. This will dissect the image, determine the OS root file system — as well as possibly other partitions — and mount them to the specified directory. If the OS image contains multiple partitions marked with the Discoverable Partitions Specification multiple nested mounts are established. This command expects two arguments: a path to an image file and a path to a directory where to mount the image.
To unmount an OS image mounted like this use umount(8)'s
-R switch (for recursive operation), so that the OS image and all nested partition
mounts are unmounted.
When the OS image contains LUKS encrypted or Verity integrity protected file systems appropriate volumes are automatically set up and marked for automatic disassembly when the image is unmounted.
The OS image may either be specified as path to an OS image stored in a regular file or may refer to block device node (in the latter case the block device must be the "whole" device, i.e. not a partition device). (The other supported commands described here support this, too.)
All mounted file systems are checked with the appropriate fsck(8)
implementation in automatic fixing mode, unless explicitly turned off (
read-only operation is requested (
This is a shortcut for
Copies a file or directory from the specified OS image into the specified location on
the host file system. Expects three arguments: a path to an image file, a source path (relative to
the image's root directory) and a destination path (relative to the current working directory, or an
absolute path, both outside of the image). If the destination path is omitted or specified as dash
-"), the specified file is written to standard output. If the source path in the
image file system refers to a regular file it is copied to the destination path. In this case access
mode, extended attributes and timestamps are copied as well, but file ownership is not. If the source
path in the image refers to a directory, it is copied to the destination path, recursively with all
containing files and directories. In this case the file ownership is copied too.
Copies a file or directory from the specified location in the host file system into
the specified OS image. Expects three arguments: a path to an image file, a source path (relative to
the current working directory, or an absolute path, both outside of the image) and a destination path
(relative to the image's root directory). If the source path is omitted or specified as dash
-"), the data to write is read from standard input. If the source path in the host
file system refers to a regular file, it is copied to the destination path. In this case access mode,
extended attributes and timestamps are copied as well, but file ownership is not. If the source path
in the host file system refers to a directory it is copied to the destination path, recursively with
all containing files and directories. In this case the file ownership is copied
--mount file system checks are implicitly run before the copy
The following options are understood:
Operate in read-only mode. By default
--mount will establish
writable mount points. If this option is specified they are established in read-only mode
Turn off automatic file system checking. By default when an image is accessed for
--copy-to) the file systems contained in the
OS image are automatically checked using the appropriate fsck(8)
command, in automatic fixing mode. This behavior may be switched off using
Turn off automatic growing of accessed file systems to their partition size, if
marked for that in the GPT partition table. By default when an image is accessed for writing (by
--copy-to) the file systems contained in the OS image
are automatically grown to their partition sizes, if bit 59 in the GPT partition flags is set for
partition types that are defined by the Discoverable Partitions Specification. This
behavior may be switched off using
--growfs=no. File systems are grown automatically
on access if all of the following conditions are met:
The file system is mounted writable
The file system currently is smaller than the partition it is contained in (and thus can be grown)
The image contains a GPT partition table
The file system is stored on a partition defined by the Discoverable Partitions Specification
Bit 59 of the GPT partition flags for this partition is set, as per specification
--growfs=no option is not passed.
If combined with
--mount the directory to mount the OS image to is
created if it is missing. Note that the directory is not automatically removed when the disk image is
Takes one of "
crypto". If "
disabled" the image is
accessed with empty block discarding turned off. If "
loop" discarding is enabled if
operating on a regular file. If "
crypt" discarding is enabled even on encrypted file
systems. If "
all" discarding is unconditionally enabled.
Configure various aspects of Verity data integrity for the OS image. Option
--root-hash= specifies a hex-encoded top-level Verity hash to use for setting up the
Verity integrity protection. Option
--root-hash-sig= specifies the path to a file
containing a PKCS#7 signature for the hash. This signature is passed to the kernel during activation,
which will match it against signature keys available in the kernel keyring. Option
--verity-data= specifies a path to a file with the Verity data to use for the OS
image, in case it is stored in a detached file. It is recommended to embed the Verity data directly
in the image, using the Verity mechanisms in the Discoverable Partitions Specification.
Do not pipe output into a pager.
Do not print the legend, i.e. column headers and the footer with hints.
Shows output formatted as JSON. Expects one of "
short" (for the
shortest possible output without any redundant whitespace or line breaks), "
(for a pretty version of the same, with indentation and line breaks) or "
off" (to turn
off JSON output, the default).
On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.