I've used the tool fmem for creating a memory dump dd-file. That works fine.

But how can I access this image? I've tried it with mount but it says I have to specify a filesystem. But non of the given possibilities works (ext4, vfat etc).

  • What does the command file dd-file say about this file? Also try tune2fs -l dd-file as well as fdisk -l dd-file. – slm Jun 8 '14 at 19:35
  • 1
    I would try sudo mount -o loop -t auto dd-file /mnt. – slm Jun 8 '14 at 19:41

fmem is a memory snapshotting tool. It creates an image of the contents of RAM.

While this may be useful for forensics or low-level debugging, it is not a filesystem image and cannot be mounted by any means.


In trying this out myself this file is not anything other than a raw data dump/snapshot of memory. So you can examine it using any hex editor or a tool such as hexdump, or an appropriate forensic analysis tool.

Downloading and compiling

I found the latest version of fmem here:

After unpacking it you can compile it like so:

$ make
rm -f *.o *.ko *.mod.c Module.symvers Module.markers modules.order \.*.o.cmd \.*.ko.cmd \.*.o.d
rm -rf \.tmp_versions
make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build SUBDIRS=`pwd` modules
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/kernels/3.14.4-100.fc19.x86_64'
  CC [M]  /home/saml/Downloads/fmem/fmem_1.6-0/lkm.o
  LD [M]  /home/saml/Downloads/fmem/fmem_1.6-0/fmem.o
  Building modules, stage 2.
  MODPOST 1 modules
  CC      /home/saml/Downloads/fmem/fmem_1.6-0/fmem.mod.o
  LD [M]  /home/saml/Downloads/fmem/fmem_1.6-0/fmem.ko
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/kernels/3.14.4-100.fc19.x86_64'

To load the fmem kernel module you can run the included run.sh script with the archive:

$ sudo ./run.sh 
Module: insmod fmem.ko a1=0xffffffff81090ca0 : OK
Device: /dev/fmem
----Memory areas: -----
reg01: base=0x000000000 (    0MB), size= 2048MB, count=1: write-back
reg02: base=0x080000000 ( 2048MB), size= 1024MB, count=1: write-back
reg03: base=0x100000000 ( 4096MB), size= 4096MB, count=1: write-back
reg04: base=0x200000000 ( 8192MB), size= 1024MB, count=1: write-back
reg05: base=0x23c000000 ( 9152MB), size=   64MB, count=1: uncachable
reg06: base=0x0bc000000 ( 3008MB), size=   64MB, count=1: uncachable
!!! Don't forget add "count=" to dd !!!

You can then collect ~10MB of data, into file tst.dd:

$ sudo dd if=/dev/fmem of=tst.dd bs=1MB count=10
10+0 records in
10+0 records out
10000000 bytes (10 MB) copied, 0.0541226 s, 185 MB/s

Examining the resulting file

If we throw the typical gamut of tools at this file you'll see that it doesn't contain anything other than raw binary data.


$ file tst.dd 
tst.dd: data


$ fdisk -l tst.dd

Disk tst.dd: 9 MB, 9999872 bytes, 19531 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


$ hexdump -C tst.dd  | head -10
00000000  53 ff 00 f0 53 ff 00 f0  c3 e2 00 f0 53 ff 00 f0  |S...S.......S...|
00000010  53 ff 00 f0 54 ff 00 f0  c9 a3 00 f0 53 ff 00 f0  |S...T.......S...|
00000020  a5 fe 00 f0 87 e9 00 f0  9f 11 00 f0 9f 11 00 f0  |................|
00000030  9f 11 00 f0 9f 11 00 f0  57 ef 00 f0 49 f5 00 f0  |........W...I...|
00000040  14 00 00 c0 4d f8 00 f0  41 f8 00 f0 9f c7 71 e1  |....M...A.....q.|
00000050  39 e7 00 f0 59 f8 00 f0  99 66 71 e1 d2 ef 00 f0  |9...Y....fq.....|
00000060  57 ff 00 f0 f2 e6 00 f0  6e fe 00 f0 53 ff 00 f0  |W.......n...S...|
00000070  53 ff 00 f0 a4 f0 00 f0  c7 ef 00 f0 01 9b 00 c0  |S...............|
00000080  9f 11 00 f0 9f 11 00 f0  9f 11 00 f0 9f 11 00 f0  |................|


$ tune2fs -l tst.dd 
tune2fs 1.42.7 (21-Jan-2013)
tune2fs: Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open tst.dd
Couldn't find valid filesystem superblock.


$ sudo mount -o loop -t auto tst.dd /mnt/
mount: /dev/loop0 is write-protected, mounting read-only
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/loop0,
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error

       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail or so.


[332140.394396] fmem init_module 449: init
[332140.394401] fmem find_symbols 439: set guess_page_is_ram: ffffffff81090ca0
[333010.390836] loop: module loaded

If you want to find out more about the category of tools that can dump memory similarly to fmem take a look at the list of resources in the references section.

So then what can I do with the dump files from fmem?

I found this article which discusses the creation AND analysis of these files. It's in the following article titled: Tracing Clues: Memory Analysis - Admin Network & Security Magazine. The article mentions 2 tools, Draugr & Volatilitux.



One of the first tools for memory analysis on Linux was the Python script Draugr. The Draugr script allows users to investigate the memory of a running system directly via the /dev/mem pseudodevice. However, Draugr also analyzes memory dumps available in files. A disadvantage of Draugr is its limited functionality, which is restricted to listing processes and extracting specific memory areas. Development on Draugr stopped in 2009.


Another memory analysis tool is Volatilitux, which was long heralded as the Linux equivalent to the Volatility tool used on Windows systems. The Volatility Analysis Framework now has built-in Linux support, which I will describe later in this article. Volatility has the biggest feature scope of the available Linux RAM analysis tools; however, it is worth noting that Volatility lacks two important features found in Volatilitux.



In addition to the functions known from Draugr, Volatilitux lets you view and extract the open files of a process. A new release in December 2011 added 64-bit support.

NOTE: The Windows tool, Volatility can also be used to analyze the output of fmem files!


  • The bit from hexdump really looks like the original BIOS/UEFI IDT vectors (before switch to protected mode, seems to all point to 0x00f0XXXX addresses which would be consistent with real-mode environment) anyway. – LawrenceC Jun 9 '14 at 0:20

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