Disk extraction

This document describes ways to retrieve a disk image from a target that is running fuchsia.


Run time state of storage software is split between in-memory and on-disk structures. Crash or core dumps of the affected process allows you to inspect in-memory state and dumping disk image helps you debug on-disk state.

Accessing a disk is easier if the developer has full control of the environment (physical device or a VM) in which the issue is seen and has the ability to log into the system to run debug commands.

If you do not have full control over the environment, the disk extractor library and tool can help extract relevant information. The minfs extractor only retrieves information such as the filesystem metadata of the storage without including personally identifiable (PII). Blobfs extractor can dump metadata as well as corrupted blob data. Blobfs metadata will include the superblock, nodemap, bitmap, and the journal. The Fvm extractor dumps two copies of metadata. Each Fvm metadata copy includes the header, the partition table, and the allocation table. By only extracting relevant portions of the storage, the size of the extracted image remains small.

Current state

At the moment, minfs, blobfs, and fvm disk image extraction are supported.

Extraction over serial

When storage is corrupted, the system might not boot or sshd won’t come up because the partition containing binary or keys are corrupted. To help extract such corrupted storage, fshost host has an option to extract filesystem metadata and log it to serial log. If the device has serial access, you may get serial log and get access to the extracted disk image.

Extraction over serial is only enabled for MinFS on userdebug builds for certain boards. You can enable extraction for a certain board or build by setting extract_minfs_metadata_on_corruption to true.

Symptom of a storage issue

It is difficult to tell if the filesystems of a device have gone bad by just looking at the device. If your device boots into recovery mode or displays a gray screen and a power cycle does not resolve the issue, this may indicate a bad filesystem. However, this process doesn't always indicate a problem.

Steps for users to report an issue

Please do not factory reset or flash the device if you suspect a storage related issue. The following can be done to collect logs:

  • Power off the target.
  • Attach target to a host over serial.
  • Run fx serial in a terminal and choose the right device when prompted. Read usage details with fx serial --help.
  • Power on the target
  • Wait for a few minutes so that the target stops dumping extracted image to serial.
  • Send the output of fx serial to the local storage team.
  • Wait for confirmation from someone in local storage before resetting or flashing the device.

Scraping the log

The extracted disk image is dumped to log as a series of ASCII characters. This can lead to a large log for the dump. syslog and serial on the target device may drop a few log messages due to rate limit. This makes gathering artifacts prone to errors. So make sure that you have all the data that you need before asking users to reset or flash their devices.

There is an extension for fx, disk-extract-serial-log which might help you scrape the extract disk image from the serial log with the following command which rebuilds extracted disk image from serial.log that contains the serial log and writes the image to extracted-disk.img.

fx disk-extract-serial-log --input serial.log --output extracted-disk.img

Run fx disk-extract-serial-log --help for usage details.

Things to keep in mind if you are manually scraping logs:

  • Messages may arrive out of order.
  • Messages may get dropped for various reasons.
  • Two or more messages might be appear on same line.
  • Each extraction log message contains a string “EIL”. See DumpMetadataOptions
  • Extraction logs start with message that read “EIL: Extracting minfs to serial.”
  • Extraction ends with message that read “EIL: Done extracting minfs to serial”
  • Pay attention to a line the describes the format of the log message that reads something like “EIL: Compression:off Checksum:on Offset:on bytes_per_line:64”. What that means is
    • Extracted image is not compressed before dumping to logs.
    • You should see a checksum of the extracted image just before the end of the logs.
    • Number of bytes dumped per line is 64. So there should be 128 hex-characters per line.


If you have control over the device environment, you can extract the disk image by running disk-extract. This particular workflow is for minfs but you can substitute in blobfs or fvm for minfs.

NOTE: Before starting, ensure that your fx set includes //src/storage:tools to get access to the disk-extract tool.

# Determine path of block device with fuchsia$ lsblk # Assuming minfs block device is at /dev/class/block/001, on fuchsia fuchsia$ disk-extract extract --type minfs --disk /dev/class/block/001 --image /tmp/img.ext # Copy the extracted image on to the host (say linux or mac) host$ fx scp "[$(fx get-device-addr)]:/tmp/img.ext" /tmp/img.ext # Deflate the extracted image host$ out/core.x64/host_x64/disk-extract deflate --verbose --input_file /tmp/img.ext --output_file /tmp/img.deflate # Optionally attach the deflated image to fuchsia qemu to debug the image host$ fx qemu -s 8 -Nk -- -drive file=/tmp/img.deflate # In fuchsia you can try to debug it with disk-inspect or try to mount it (if it is a non-fvm # image). Assuming the attached file showed up as 008 block device fuchsia$ mkdir /tmp/x fuchsia$ mount /dev/class/block/008 /tmp/x


The extractor library is generic enough to be useful to extract any filesystem or fvm metadata. You need to write a plugin that understands target storage's disk layout and dumps relevant information. See an example for the MinFS extractor at /src/storage/extractor/cpp/minfs_extractor.cc.

Future work

Only minfs, blobfs, and fvm support extraction. Extraction can be added to ftl and fxfs.