dd is an utility which is primarily used for low-level copying of data from storage devices.

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25
votes
4answers
9k views

Is there a way to determine the optimal value for the bs parameter to dd?

On occasion I've seen comments online along the lines of "make sure you set 'bs=' because the default value will take too long," and my own extremely-unscientific experiences of, "well that seemed to ...
50
votes
7answers
7k views

dd vs cat — is dd still relevant these days?

I recently realized we can use cat as much as dd, and it's actually faster than dd I know that dd was useful in dealing with tapes where block size actually mattered in correctness, not just ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

When is dd suitable for copying data? (or, when are read() and write() partial)

Short version: In what circumstances is dd safe to use for copying data, safe meaning that there is no risk of corruption due to a partial read or write? Long version — preamble: dd is often used to ...
11
votes
3answers
849 views

saving data from a failing drive

An external 3½" HDD seems to be in danger of failing — it's making ticking sounds when idle. I've acquired a replacement drive, and want to know the best strategy to get the data off of the dubious ...
46
votes
8answers
21k views

How do I know if dd is still working?

I've not used dd all that much, but so far it's not failed me yet. Right now, I've had a dd going for over 12 hours - I'm writing an image back to the disk it came from - and I'm getting a little ...
4
votes
2answers
260 views

Create random data with dd and get “partial read warning”. Is the data after the warning now really random?

I create a 1TB file with random data with dd if=/dev/urandom of=file bs=1M count=1000000. Now I check with kill -SIGUSR1 <PID> the progress and get the following: 691581+0 Datensätze ein ...
9
votes
1answer
14k views

How do I mount an `img` created with /bin/dd of a hard drive?

I used dd to backup a 80GB drive dd if=/dev/sdb of=~/sdb.img Now I need to access some files on that drive, but I don't want to copy the ".img" back over the drive. mount ~/sdb.img /mnt/sdb ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Clone whole partition or hard drive to a sparse file

I like to clone a whole partition or a whole hard drive onto a larger external disk but like to create a sparse file. I often use dd for cloning, but it doesn't support sparse files. As a workaround I ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does dd from /dev/random give different file sizes?

I am running the following command on an ubuntu system: dd if=/dev/random of=rand bs=1K count=2 However, every time I run it, I end up with a file of a different size. Why is this? How can I ...
10
votes
5answers
602 views

Is it safe to take the drive image of the current working drive?

I have to backup my hard disk. I want to use dd and put the image on an external hdd. Can I do this using dd from the OS that resides on the hdd itself or do I have to boot from another device, for ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Unpack files and directories from an image created by dd?

I created an image of an NTFS partition using dd. I wonder if I can unload/unpack the files and directories in the image to any partition whose size is larger than the image size, so that I can ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

How to write repeated free-form strings to a file, as fast as 'dd'?

dd can write repeating \0 bytes to a file very fast, but it can't write repeating arbitary strings. Is there a bash-shell method to write repeating arbitary strings equally as fast as 'dd' (including ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

How do I resize a disk image device?

I'm trying to reduce the size of a backup drive image. Original disk had these partitions: Model: ST916082 1A (scsi) Disk /dev/sde: 160GB Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B Partition Table: ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How to write a file at various offsets to a filesystem partition with dd command

Requirement I want to write a file at various offsets into the partition Partition /dev/part2 is mounted at /mypart I tried the command below: dd if=/dev/urandom of=/mypart/aaa bs=1024 seek=0 ...
11
votes
3answers
550 views

Read the middle of a large file

I have a 1 TB file. I would like to read from byte 12345678901 to byte 19876543212 and put that on standard output on a machine with 100 MB RAM. I can easily write a perl script that does this. ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Use `dd` to cut file end part

There is probably simple trick to do this, but I can't figure from man page. How do I cut last 1MB from file with undetermined size for example, by using dd?
5
votes
2answers
760 views

Linux/GParted can see partition table but dd bs=512 count=1 can't

I have an MBR formatted sd card and when connect to a Linux machine (xubuntu 12.04) it can mount a partition and parse the file system (as can GParted). However, when I try to read the MBR from the ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How to clone linux installation onto an external harddisk?

I see a lot of dd related questions, but could not find answers to the following. If question/answers already exist, please point to them, then flag to close, delete or merge. Can a working linux ...