xenix (sysv) filesystem and FreeBSD

Matthew Seaman matthew at freebsd.org
Thu Sep 10 09:36:11 UTC 2015

On 09/10/15 09:40, Polytropon wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Sep 2015 12:42:10 +0430, Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh wrote:
>> I have a hdd (scsi), about 1985. I can detect hdd and geometry, But 
>> maybe linux kernel removed xenix (sysv) filesytem.
>> Question is , 1. Can i detect it via freebsd?
> You should at least _try_ it. Depending on the partitioning,
> and if I remember correctly, Xenix uses some strange SCI HTFS
> and maybe UFS (not entirely sure), and the partitioning is
> either some MBR or "dedicated" schema, then, if everything
> else works, you should see:
> 	/dev/da0
> 	/dev/da0s1	<- a slice
> 	/dev/da0s1a	<- a partition
> 	/dev/da0s1d
> 	/dev/da0s1e
> 	and so on,
> or maybe even
> 	/dev/da0
> 	/dev/da0a	<- a partition without a slice
> 	/dev/da0d
> 	/dev/da0e
> 	and so on,
> if, let's say, da0 corresponds to the SCSI disk.
> Use the command
> 	# fdisk da0
> to find out which partitioning schema (if any) has been used,
> and then maybe
> 	# disklabel da0
> or
> 	# disklabel da0s1
> to identify the partitions. Kepp an eye on which files appear
> in /dev.
>> 2. Can I read xenix (sysv) 
>> filesytem ?
> You could try "mount -t ufs -o ro <device> /mnt" for each of
> the partitions found, but this will probably fail. However, you
> can use a "dump | restore" approach, maybe this works. If not,
> you can at least resort to forensic tools which will read the
> data independently from the file system information; you might
> lose file names, but you can recover file contents. This can
> be done in "raw reads" from the disk device.
> But as far as I know, _native_ support for classic SysV file
> systems does not exist on FreeBSD, nor does it on any other
> platform. It's an excavation job for the mantally insane. :-)

The other thing you should certainly do is use dd(1) to copy the drive
contents to a local file on your machine.  You can create a file-backed
md(4) device using the copy and use that for all your investigations
with fdisk(8) etc.  It's a lot less stressful should you fat-finger an
fdisk(8) and destroy your copy, rather than killing your one and only
original drive.

Also, a file-backed md on a modern system is probably going to be faster
than a 1985-era hard drive...



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