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utilities for manipulating files in an ext2/ext3 filesystem


e2cp - copies files from/to an e2fs filesystem


e2cp [options] files... dest


The e2cp command copies files to/from an e2fs filesystem from/to the machine’s filesystem.


A single ‘-’ (dash) can be used instead of a file name to indicate standard input/output.
-0 Input lines terminated by a null character.
-a Absolute directory names - create directories instead of just copying into the destination. Only valid for copying into an ext2fs filesystem.
-d dest_dir
Destination of files to be copied. May be in the ext2fs filesystem or the host filesystem.
-G gid Set the default group to gid.
-O uid Set the default file owner to uid.
-p Preserve host file attributes (permissions, times, etc.) when copying files.
-P mode Set the file permissions (ie 755, 666).
-s src_dir
The source of the files to be copied.
-v Be verbose.


Copy a file and use the default permission and ownership of the current user:
e2cp README.txt /tmp/boot.img:/tmp
Do the same thing, but keep permissions & ownership:
e2cp -p README.txt /tmp/boot.img:/tmp
Dump a file to standard out:
e2cp /tmp/boot.img:/tmp/README.txt - | wc
Get a file from standard input and put it on an unmounted partition:
tar cf - /data/logs|gzip| e2cp - /dev/hdb1:/backup/logs.tar.gz
Copy the files from one directory and put them under another directory on an unmounted partition, keeping the original paths, permissions & ownership:
find /data -type f |tee filelist | e2cp -apv -d /dev/hdb1:/mirror
Copy files from a directory on an unmounted partition to a local directory (Note: this does not recreate the directories in the local filesystem, yet). The list of files are read from standard input:
e2cp -pv -s /dev/hdb1:/mirror -d /data2 < filelist
Copy a file to a file system and make the group and ownership root
e2cp -G 0 -O 0 myfile /tmp/boot.img/boot/rootfile


The e2tools were written by Keith Sheffield <>.
This manual page was written by Lucas Wall <>, for the Debian project (but may be used by others).
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