guestmount(1) Mount a guest filesystem on the host using FUSE and libguestfs


guestmount [--options] -a disk.img -m device [--ro] mountpoint
guestmount [--options] -a disk.img -i [--ro] mountpoint
guestmount [--options] -d Guest -i [--ro] mountpoint


You must not use "guestmount" in read-write mode on live virtual machines. If you do this, you risk disk corruption in the VM.


The guestmount program can be used to mount virtual machine filesystems and other disk images on the host. It uses libguestfs for access to the guest filesystem, and FUSE (the ``filesystem in userspace'') to make it appear as a mountable device.

Along with other options, you have to give at least one device (-a option) or libvirt domain (-d option), and at least one mountpoint (-m option) or use the -i inspection option or the --live option. How this works is better explained in the guestfish(1) manual page, or by looking at the examples below.

FUSE lets you mount filesystems as non-root. The mountpoint must be owned by you, and the filesystem will not be visible to any other users unless you make certain global configuration changes to "/etc/fuse.conf". To unmount the filesystem, use the "fusermount -u" command.


For a typical Windows guest which has its main filesystem on the first partition:

 guestmount -a windows.img -m /dev/sda1 --ro /mnt

For a typical Linux guest which has a /boot filesystem on the first partition, and the root filesystem on a logical volume:

 guestmount -a linux.img -m /dev/VG/LV -m /dev/sda1:/boot --ro /mnt

To get libguestfs to detect guest mountpoints for you:

 guestmount -a guest.img -i --ro /mnt

For a libvirt guest called ``Guest'' you could do:

 guestmount -d Guest -i --ro /mnt

If you don't know what filesystems are contained in a guest or disk image, use virt-filesystems(1) first:

 virt-filesystems -d MyGuest

If you want to trace the libguestfs calls but without excessive debugging information, we recommend:

 guestmount [...] --trace /mnt

If you want to debug the program, we recommend:

 guestmount [...] --trace --verbose /mnt


Other users cannot see the filesystem by default

If you mount a filesystem as one user (eg. root), then other users will not be able to see it by default. The fix is to add the FUSE "allow_other" option when mounting:

 sudo guestmount [...] -o allow_other /mnt

Enabling FUSE

On some distros, you may need to add yourself to a special group (eg. "fuse") before you can use any FUSE filesystem. This is necessary on Debian and derivatives.

On other distros, no special group is required. It is not necessary on Fedora or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.


-a image
--add image
Add a block device or virtual machine image.

The format of the disk image is auto-detected. To override this and force a particular format use the --format=.. option.

-c URI
--connect URI
When used in conjunction with the -d option, this specifies the libvirt URI to use. The default is to use the default libvirt connection.
-d libvirt-domain
--domain libvirt-domain
Add disks from the named libvirt domain. If the --ro option is also used, then any libvirt domain can be used. However in write mode, only libvirt domains which are shut down can be named here.

Domain UUIDs can be used instead of names.

--dir-cache-timeout N
Set the readdir cache timeout to N seconds, the default being 60 seconds. The readdir cache [actually, there are several semi-independent caches] is populated after a readdir(2) call with the stat and extended attributes of the files in the directory, in anticipation that they will be requested soon after.

There is also a different attribute cache implemented by FUSE (see the FUSE option -o attr_timeout), but the FUSE cache does not anticipate future requests, only cache existing ones.

When prompting for keys and passphrases, guestfish normally turns echoing off so you cannot see what you are typing. If you are not worried about Tempest attacks and there is no one else in the room you can specify this flag to see what you are typing.
The default for the -a option is to auto-detect the format of the disk image. Using this forces the disk format for -a options which follow on the command line. Using --format with no argument switches back to auto-detection for subsequent -a options.

If you have untrusted raw-format guest disk images, you should use this option to specify the disk format. This avoids a possible security problem with malicious guests (CVE-2010-3851). See also ``guestfs_add_drive_opts'' in guestfs(3).

Display help on special FUSE options (see -o below).
Display brief help and exit.
Using virt-inspector(1) code, inspect the disks looking for an operating system and mount filesystems as they would be mounted on the real virtual machine.
Read key or passphrase parameters from stdin. The default is to try to read passphrases from the user by opening "/dev/tty".
Connect to a live virtual machine. (Experimental, see ``ATTACHING TO RUNNING DAEMONS'' in guestfs(3)).
-m dev[:mountpoint[:options]]
--mount dev[:mountpoint[:options]]
Mount the named partition or logical volume on the given mountpoint in the guest (this has nothing to do with mountpoints in the host).

If the mountpoint is omitted, it defaults to "/". You have to mount something on "/".

The third (and rarely used) part of the mount parameter is the list of mount options used to mount the underlying filesystem. If this is not given, then the mount options are either the empty string or "ro" (the latter if the --ro flag is used). By specifying the mount options, you override this default choice. Probably the only time you would use this is to enable ACLs and/or extended attributes if the filesystem can support them:

 -m /dev/sda1:/:acl,user_xattr
By default, we attempt to sync the guest disk when the FUSE mountpoint is unmounted. If you specify this option, then we don't attempt to sync the disk. See the discussion of autosync in the guestfs(3) manpage.
-o option
--option option
Pass extra options to FUSE.

To get a list of all the extra options supported by FUSE, use the command below. Note that only the FUSE -o options can be passed, and only some of them are a good idea.

 guestmount --fuse-help

Some potentially useful FUSE options:

-o allow_other
Allow other users to see the filesystem.
-o attr_timeout=N
Enable attribute caching by FUSE, and set the timeout to N seconds.
-o kernel_cache
Allow the kernel to cache files (reduces the number of reads that have to go through the guestfs(3) API). This is generally a good idea if you can afford the extra memory usage.
-o uid=N -o gid=N
Use these options to map all UIDs and GIDs inside the guest filesystem to the chosen values.
Add devices and mount everything read-only. Also disallow writes and make the disk appear read-only to FUSE.

This is highly recommended if you are not going to edit the guest disk. If the guest is running and this option is not supplied, then there is a strong risk of disk corruption in the guest. We try to prevent this from happening, but it is not always possible.

See also ``OPENING DISKS FOR READ AND WRITE'' in guestfish(1).

Enable SELinux support for the guest.
Enable verbose messages from underlying libguestfs.
Display the program version and exit.
This changes the -a, -d and -m options so that disks are added and mounts are done read-write.

See ``OPENING DISKS FOR READ AND WRITE'' in guestfish(1).

Trace libguestfs calls and entry into each FUSE function.

This also stops the daemon from forking into the background.


This configuration file controls the default read-only or read-write mode (--ro or --rw).

See ``OPENING DISKS FOR READ AND WRITE'' in guestfish(1).


This program returns 0 if successful, or non-zero if there was an error.


Richard W.M. Jones ("rjones at redhat dot com")


Copyright (C) 2009-2012 Red Hat Inc. <>

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA.