dd command is a versatile utility that can be used to copy a file while converting and formatting its contents. It is commonly used to create disk images, backup and restore data, and perform low-level operations on storage devices. The name
dd stands for “data duplicator”, but it can also be interpreted as “disk destroyer” due to its powerful capabilities.
The basic syntax of the
dd command is as follows:
dd if=input_file of=output_file [options]
ifspecifies the input file to be copied
ofspecifies the output file to be created
optionsare optional parameters that modify the behavior of the command
Some common use cases of the
dd command are:
Creating disk images
To create a disk image of a hard drive or partition, use the following command:
dd if=/dev/sda of=image_file.img
/dev/sda is the source device and
image_file.img is the destination file. This will create a bit-by-bit copy of the entire disk, including the partition table and boot sector.
To clone a disk to another disk, use the following command:
dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb
/dev/sda is the source disk and
/dev/sdb is the destination disk. This will create an exact copy of the source disk, including all partitions and data.
To securely erase the contents of a disk, use the following command:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda
/dev/zero is the input file containing only zeroes, and
/dev/sda is the target disk. This will overwrite all data on the disk with zeroes, making it unrecoverable.
Converting file formats
To convert a file from one format to another, use the following command:
dd if=input_file of=output_file conv=format
format is the desired conversion format, such as
fsync. This will convert the contents of the input file to the specified format and write them to the output file.
The following table lists the available options for the
||Set the block size, in bytes|
||Set the number of blocks to copy|
||Skip the specified number of blocks before copying|
||Skip the specified number of blocks after copying|
||Set input flags, such as
||Set output flags, with the same options as
||Set conversion options, such as
||Set the level of progress reporting, with options
||Set the output file, with the same effect as the
||Set the input file, with the same effect as the
Some common issues that may occur when using the
dd command are:
- Accidentally overwriting the wrong device or file, leading to data loss
- Using an incorrect block size or count, resulting in incomplete or corrupted copies
- Forgetting to specify the
convparameter when converting file formats, leading to unexpected results
To avoid these issues, always double-check the input and output files and devices before running the command, and use caution when specifying block sizes and counts. When converting file formats, make sure to specify the correct conversion option.
dd command is a powerful but potentially dangerous tool, and should be used with caution. Always double-check the input and output files and devices before running the command, and make sure to specify the correct options and parameters. In addition, be aware that the
dd command can take a long time to complete, especially when copying large files or disks.