Accessing VirtualBox Disks

I was looking to directly access VirtualBox vdi virtual disks without starting a virtual machine (VM).

Some nominal searching found the vboximg-mount command. This is a Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) mount tool for Linux and MacOS systems. The tool recognizes VirtualBox snapshots. The VirtualBox user manual contains a section about using the command.

To list all devices:

vboximg-mount --list

To list the attributes of a specific VM disk requires a full path or the disk UUID. Be sure not to confuse the VM UUID and disk UUID.

    vboximg-mount --list --image /full/path/to/the.vdi
    vboximg-mount --list --image UUID

The output is like fdisk.

With the output notice any parenthetical numbers in the partition column. Those numbers are important.

To mount the virtual disk, create two mount points.

“Mount” the vdi to the first mount point. This step is somewhat akin to BIOS AHCI hot plugging or using the rescan-sci-bus command.

vboximg-mount --image /full/path/to/the.vdi /first/mountpoint

List the disk contents:

ls -la /first/mountpoint

The partitions will be labeled as vol[0-X] where X will match the previously noted parenthetical numbers.

Find the desired partition to mount using the parenthetical numbers in the list partition column.

Mount the desired partition:

mount /first/mountpoint/volX /second/mountpoint

By default the partition is mounted read-only and respective file date stamps do not change.

When finished browsing the partition contents, unmount the second mount point with umount and the first mount point with fusermount -u.

The user manual mentions a -p parameter, but the option does not seem to work and vboximg-mount --help does not mention the option.

Thus far I have been unable to successfuly use the read-write option. Any changes I made are not persistent after unmounting.

Virtualbox encryption and raw disks are not unsupported.

A potentially useful tool. I hope development continues and the read-write issues are resolved.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Virtual Machines

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