virt-alignment-scan man page

virt-alignment-scan — Check alignment of virtual machine partitions


 virt-alignment-scan [--options] -d domname

 virt-alignment-scan [--options] -a disk.img [-a disk.img ...]

 virt-alignment-scan [--options]


When older operating systems install themselves, the partitioning tools place partitions at a sector misaligned with the underlying storage (commonly the first partition starts on sector 63). Misaligned partitions can result in an operating system issuing more I/O than should be necessary.

The virt-alignment-scan tool checks the alignment of partitions in virtual machines and disk images and warns you if there are alignment problems.

Currently there is no virt tool for fixing alignment problems.  You can only reinstall the guest operating system.  The following NetApp document summarises the problem and possible solutions:


To run this tool on a disk image directly, use the -a option:

 $ virt-alignment-scan -a winxp.img
 /dev/sda1        32256          512    bad (alignment < 4K)

 $ virt-alignment-scan -a fedora16.img
 /dev/sda1      1048576         1024K   ok
 /dev/sda2      2097152         2048K   ok
 /dev/sda3    526385152         2048K   ok

To run the tool on a guest known to libvirt, use the -d option and possibly the -c option:

 # virt-alignment-scan -d RHEL5
 /dev/sda1        32256          512    bad (alignment < 4K)
 /dev/sda2    106928640          512    bad (alignment < 4K)

 $ virt-alignment-scan -c qemu:///system -d Win7TwoDisks
 /dev/sda1      1048576         1024K   ok
 /dev/sda2    105906176         1024K   ok
 /dev/sdb1        65536           64K   ok

Run virt-alignment-scan without any -a or -d options to scan all libvirt domains.

 # virt-alignment-scan
 F16x64:/dev/sda1      1048576         1024K   ok
 F16x64:/dev/sda2      2097152         2048K   ok
 F16x64:/dev/sda3    526385152         2048K   ok

The output consists of 4 or more whitespace-separated columns.  Only the first 4 columns are significant if you want to parse this from a program.  The columns are:

col 1

The device and partition name (eg. /dev/sda1 meaning the first partition on the first block device).

When listing all libvirt domains (no -a or -d option given) this column is prefixed by the libvirt name or UUID (if --uuid is given).  eg: "WinXP:/dev/sda1"

col 2

the start of the partition in bytes

col 3

the alignment in bytes or Kbytes (eg. 512 or "4K")

col 4

"ok" if the alignment is best for performance, or "bad" if the alignment can cause performance problems

cols 5+

optional free-text explanation.

The exit code from the program changes depending on whether poorly aligned partitions were found.  See "Exit Status" below.

If you just want the exit code with no output, use the -q option.



Display brief help.

-a file
--add file

Add file which should be a disk image from a virtual machine.

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

-a URI
--add URI

Add a remote disk.  See "ADDING REMOTE STORAGE" in guestfish(1).

-c URI
--connect URI

If using libvirt, connect to the given URI.  If omitted, then we connect to the default libvirt hypervisor.

If you specify guest block devices directly (-a), then libvirt is not used at all.

-d guest
--domain guest

Add all the disks from the named libvirt guest.  Domain UUIDs can be used instead of names.


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.

For example:

 virt-alignment-scan --format=raw -a disk.img

forces raw format (no auto-detection) for disk.img.

 virt-alignment-scan --format=raw -a disk.img --format -a another.img

forces raw format (no auto-detection) for disk.img and reverts to auto-detection for another.img.

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).

-P nr_threads

Since libguestfs 1.22, virt-alignment-scan is multithreaded and examines guests in parallel.  By default the number of threads to use is chosen based on the amount of free memory available at the time that virt-alignment-scan is started.  You can force virt-alignment-scan to use at most "nr_threads" by using the -P option.

Note that -P 0 means to autodetect, and -P 1 means to use a single thread.


Don't produce any output.  Just set the exit code (see "Exit Status" below).


Print UUIDs instead of names.  This is useful for following a guest even when the guest is migrated or renamed, or when two guests happen to have the same name.

This option only applies when listing all libvirt domains (when no -a or -d options are specified).


Enable verbose messages for debugging.


Display version number and exit.


Enable tracing of libguestfs API calls.

Exit Status

This program returns:

See Also

guestfs(3), guestfish(1), virt-filesystems(1), virt-rescue(1), virt-resize(1),


Richard W.M. Jones


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.


To get a list of bugs against libguestfs, use this link:

To report a new bug against libguestfs, use this link:

When reporting a bug, please supply:

Referenced By

guestfish(1), guestfs(3), guestfs-hacking(1), guestfs-testing(1), virt-resize(1).

2017-02-24 libguestfs-1.35.28 Virtualization Support