I have a QEMU virtual machine that uses a qcow2 disk image.

How can I mount its filesystem without powering on the virtual machine?

4 Answers 4


A quick google search turns up the qemu-nbd program, mentioned here. It is part of the qemu-kvm package, so you'll have to install KVM if you aren't using that already. Not sure about any direct GNOME/KDE solutions, if that is what you were looking for. Here is an example for using it:

sudo modprobe nbd
sudo qemu-nbd -c /dev/nbd0 --read-only /path/to/image.qcow2
udisksctl mount -b /dev/nbd0p1
  • 3
    Looks like qemu-nbd is the best way to go, as long as I remember to modprobe nbd first. qemu-nbd fails silently if this module has not been loaded!
    – ændrük
    Sep 24, 2010 at 16:03
  • That's unfortunate. You should be able to add nbd to /etc/modules, anyway.
    – Tim Yates
    Sep 24, 2010 at 16:54
  • 1
    I wrote a little tool to wrap this up: github.com/JonathonReinhart/qcow2-explore Nov 23, 2016 at 1:49
  • qemu-nbd is part of the qemu-utils package, so no need to install KVM
    – myrdd
    Jan 10, 2020 at 14:39
  • I must appreciate this very nice, yet simple and powerful answer. It helped me to resolve my issue in a couple of minutes. Thank you Tim Yates.
    – ivo
    Feb 11, 2021 at 19:35

There's also libguestfs, but it's not yet available from official repositories1. There are binaries in libguestfs.org though.

  • 2
    While libguestfs looks really nice, but is heavyweight. It has a ton of dependencies (It recommends up to 55 dependencies, and installs an entire supermin appliance. Mar 4, 2013 at 5:53

xmount can make the disk images of some VMs look like a raw disk (which can then be partitioned with losetup, and the partitions mounted). I don't know if it supports qcow2, however.

  • 1
    The xmount manual states that only EWF and raw disk images can be used.
    – ændrük
    Sep 21, 2010 at 2:21

you can directly mount as a normal mount like this

mount /dev/sdb1 /mount-point

But if u have n number of device mean you want again mount it to another directory for that you can follow this one:

Mounting a partition from raw image is pretty simple:

losetup /dev/loop0 image.img
kpartx -a /dev/loop0
mount /dev/mapper/loop0p1 /mnt/image
  • 3
    A qcow2 image is not a raw image, and can't be mounted through either of those approaches.
    – Twirrim
    Mar 15, 2018 at 23:03

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