Bestandssysteem – YAFFS2 – unyaffs tool




Unyaffs is a program to extract files from a YAFFS2 file system image.
Currently it can only extract images created by mkyaffs2image.

Unyaffs is based on work of the YAFFS project, see

The original implementation was done by Kai Wei <>, it is available at
As the project was inactive, Bernhard Ehlers <> started a fork at

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as
published by the Free Software Foundation.
The full license text is available in the file gpl-2.0.txt.

Unyaffs should run on most unix-like operating systems.
A C compiler environment and make is neccessary to compile it.

type “make”

unyaffs – extract files from a YAFFS2 file system image.

Usage: unyaffs [options] <image_file_name> [<extract_directory>]

-d detection of flash layout, no extraction
-b spare contains bad block information
-c <chunk size> set chunk size in KByte (default: autodetect, max: 16)
-s <spare size> set spare size in Byte (default: autodetect, max: 512)
-t list image contents
-v verbose output
-V print version

In most cases the flash memory layout is detected automatically.
If the detection doesn’t work properly, the layout can be set with options -c and -s. If spare contains bad block info, set option -b.

Option -t lists all the file names in the image without extracting them.
Option -v generates a ‘ls -l’ like listing of the extracted files.
When combined with -t it generates an extended file listing, nothing is extracted.

The image file can be – for standard input.

If the extraction directory is not given, the files are stored into the current directory. If the extraction dir doesn’t exist, it will be created.

unyaffs extracts all file types (regular files, directories, soft links, hard links and special files). The permissions and modification dates are restored. When run as root, the ownership is restored as well.

Please be careful extracting images as root. It might be possible, that important system files get overwritten. The use of chroot or fakeroot can guard against these problems.

Block and character devices can only be restored as root. In some operating systems (e.g. Mac OS X) sockets can’t be restored.

The use of special files (block devices, character devices, pipes, sockets) is not portable across different unix flavors. E.g. device files created on linux will get a strange major and minor device id, when restored under BSD.

When it’s necessary to deal with special files, please use the same OS as used in the system the image is build for. In most cases that’s linux.

The differences between the unix and windows file system are big enough to make a windows port of unyaffs a complicated task. But with cygwin ( a unix compatibility layer for windows is available. The unmodified source compiles and runs nicely within cygwin.

The main differences to a pure unix environment:
– Unix functionality only within cygwin environment, native windows programs won’t see the more advanced features.
– Permissions and file dates/time are correctly restored
– Owner/group are not fully restored, only user/groups available in windows
– Hard and soft links are correctly restored
– Device files have different ids as in linux
– Sockets are not restored

For analysis of a firmware image, unyaffs within cygwin is a nice tool, but because of the restricted user/group functionality rebuilding a modified image can’t be recommended.

Current limitations

  • Permissions only partly restored
    • The current umask is applied to the permissions
    • Directories get permission 0777 (modified by umask)
  • File ownership not restored
  • File dates not restored
  • Special files (device nodes) not restored
  • Fixed yaffs chunk size of 2048 byte
  • No checks against corrupted images, crashes and buffer overflows are possible
  • Compiler warnings, when compiled with -Wall