Download Linode image

Hi there,

I was wondering if there is an easy way to download the img file of one of my linodes so i can use it on a virtual machine.


4 Replies

You can download your Linode's disk image [1] easily enough, but a typical Linode disk image is not designed to be booted from.

Typical System Boot (BIOS, MBR Formatted Disk)

This is an oversimplification and does not discuss common alternative methods such as UEFI)
To bootstrap a typical system [2], the BIOS, in ROM, loads the first sectors of a disk into memory from an MBR partitioned disk to start a boot loader. In the case of most Linux distributions these days, this is the GRUB 2 Stage 1 boot.img in the first 512 bytes of the disk. The boot.img is only "smart" enough to load and execute a Stage 1.5 core.img in the first 32 KiB of the disk, which is then able to find and execute a Stage 2, "normal.mod" file in a partition somewhere under "/boot/grub/. Stage 2 goes on to setup an "initrd" (Initial RAM Disk) and to provide an initial environment for the Linux Kernel to initially setup shop. Once the kernel mounts the root filesystem from disk and sets it as the base of its operations, it then finishes the startup from the configuration on disk.

Linode System Startup

Linodes will use the Linode's Configuration Profile [3] to control how the initialization is performed. [4] The default "GRUB 2" boot method bypasses stages 1 and 1.5. If you are to get a Virtual Machine to run a Linode image, you would need to figure out a way to provide a companion boot disk image that would hand off control to the Linode image.

Custom Distribution Method

If you setup your Linode using the custom distribution method [5]. You will end up with a disk that can be booted from. Many Linode features such as Backups and Automatic Network Configuration are not compatible with this method, so there are tradeoffs.


Is there no option to just download the .img file from your linode?

Why would i need to follow all these steps?


I, too, am looking to download saved images from the Images tab. How can I do that directly?

Thanks a lot for the feedback! We always appreciate hearing these kinds of ideas so I've gone ahead and shred this with the team.

For now though, the only way to download an .img file is via SSH. The Copy a Disk Over SSH guide has the complete instructions for the process.


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