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14.9. Rebasing a Backing File of an Image

The qemu-img rebase changes the backing file of an image.
# qemu-img rebase [-f fmt] [-t cache] [-p] [-u] -b backing_file [-F backing_fmt] filename
The backing file is changed to backing_file and (if the format of filename supports the feature), the backing file format is changed to backing_format.

Note

Only the qcow2 format supports changing the backing file (rebase).
There are two different modes in which rebase can operate: safe and unsafe.
safe mode is used by default and performs a real rebase operation. The new backing file may differ from the old one and the qemu-img rebase command will take care of keeping the guest virtual machine-visible content of filename unchanged. In order to achieve this, any clusters that differ between backing_file and old backing file of filename are merged into filename before making any changes to the backing file.
Note that safe mode is an expensive operation, comparable to converting an image. The old backing file is required for it to complete successfully.
unsafe mode is used if the -u option is passed to qemu-img rebase. In this mode, only the backing file name and format of filename is changed, without any checks taking place on the file contents. Make sure the new backing file is specified correctly or the guest-visible content of the image will be corrupted.
This mode is useful for renaming or moving the backing file. It can be used without an accessible old backing file. For instance, it can be used to fix an image whose backing file has already been moved or renamed.