iBored icon

iBored

Key Features

  • Reads, edits and writes disk blocks
  • Works over a network (internet)
  • Supports Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Has expandable template system for structural data
  • Knows about Partitions, HFS, UDF, ISO 9660 and more
  • Scriptable block scan (e.g. for search, replace)

Requirements

  • Mac OS X: 10.6 or later (there's also an older PPC version)
  • Windows: XP, Vista, Win7
  • Linux: 32-Bit version of GTK2

Download

Current version: 1.1.19

Release Notes

Older versions (including Mac PPC and Windows XP)
Note to Windows users:
  • On Window 7 (maybe on Vista, too), you may get an empty disks list. In that case, you need to quit iBored, right-click on its icon, and choose Run as administrator from the menu.
  • If iBored crashes right at start on Windows XP, try this version instead.
Note to Linux users:

iBored currently only works as a 32 bit application. If you are running a 64 bit system, you may need to install the 32 bit version of some libs, including GTK. Sorry, I don't know how to do that - I hope you're linux enough to figure this out for yourself.

About iBored

This is a free program for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It was formerly released under the name rohPod.

It is basically a hex editor for disk sectors, but can also be used to edit files, including disk images.

This program comes with hardly any documentation, and it doesn't explain what it does, either. If you have not used other tools to edit disk blocks or files on a binary level before, you may find it difficult to use.

Beware: This tool lets you mess with your disk contents in a rather unsafe manner: You can easily write over any data on a disk, rendering the entire disk unusable. So you better know what you're doing, especially if you use any "write" operations. And keep backups of your data on other disks.

I wrote this tool mainly for my own use. However, I like to share it with those who know what it's good for.

If you need help with it, or even need improvements, and are willing to pay for my services, get in contact (see end of this document).

Features

Limitations

Alternatives

Usage / A few hints:

Linux

Be aware that you will not get to see any disks unless you launch this program with root permissions. I assume you know how to do that.

Working with files

By default, only disks are listed in the "Disks" window. To edit a file, simply drop it into the Disks window and it will appear like a disk in the list.

Writing data

Making modifications to data on a disk requires you to "enable writing" first. If you're editing a block in the hex viewer, you can enable writing via the menu. This will attempt to unmount the disk first. If that fails, e.g. due to open files on a disk's volume, writing won't be enabled.

If writing gets enabled successfully, a journal file will be written to your desktop folder whenever you save a modified block in the hex viewer.

However, if you're going to overwrite multiple blocks using Write File to Blocks, no journal will be written! Thus be careful where you write your data to as there's no simple undo available afterwards.

Using the Journal

As long as there is a journal file in your desktop folder, you can use the Show Journal command from the menu if a disk is selected in the Disks window (or if you have some other disk-specific window open). You can then select single or several entries from the journal and choose to view them or write them back to the disk in the place where they were saved from. Thus, after making modifications to a disk, you could Select All entries in the journal to undo all your changes.

After writing back blocks from the journal the journal will remove those blocks so that it's clear which blocks are still modified.

Note that the journal is only written if you modify blocks individually using the block editor or the Partition Map editor, but not if you perform multi-block modifications such as via the Write File to Blocks or Erase Blocks commands.

Remote access (via network)

To use this feature, iBored needs to be launched on both computers and at least one side has to be reachable via IP directly (i.e. if it's behind a router, port forwarding must be installed).

To connect the two computers, choose Connect... on both. The computer that is directly reachable should use the "Listen" mode, the other can then connect to it.

After both are connected, either side can use the menu command Show Remote Disks to view the other side's accessible disks. From there on, it functions like accessing local disks, mostly. A few differences exist:

The user whose disks are examined will be asked to confirm the following operations once:

If the user does not confirm the operation, the request will fail on the other end, of course. Additionally, either side may terminate the connection at any time.

Modifications can only be done via the Block (hex) viewer. Multi-block write operations such as Write File to Blocks do not work via the network (yet). Reading a bunch of blocks over the network with the Write Blocks to File command works, though.

If a modification is done remotely, the journal will be written on the computer where the modification is performed. That way, the user still has it under control to undo all changes later again.

Both sides can view the same data. If the remote side makes a change, the windows on both sides will update to show the new data. However, if the local side makes a change, the remote sides' view will not automatically be updated (this is not by design but rather by lack of my effort to do this right).

This all means: if a user gives someone else access to his disk, he can make sure that the remote user can't read data from disks he doesn't want to be read, and he can also prevent the remote user from making modifications without his consent. Even if the remote user makes modifications, the local user still can undo these changes later again via the Journal. Hence, the user is pretty safe from having unrepairable harm done to his data. At least, that's how I've designed the remote access. (If you find any loopholes in this, let me know so that I can fix them ASAP.)

Templates

Some data is auto-detected when viewed in the hex editor - then the view switches from hex view to the template view. In template view, structured data appears interpreted. For example, a MBR (master boot record) of a typical Windows formatted disk will show the four partition entries with block numbers and other values.

Currently, the template view does not allow you to modify entries. You will have to note the offset and size of an entry and then switch back to the hex view to make modifications.

Sometimes there may be more than one potentially fitting template. Those that might fit have a little dot in front on them in the popup menu of the Templates view.

If you like to add more templates yourself, have a look at the file templates.xml, which is either next to the application, or, on Mac OS X, inside the package in Contents/Resources. The app should also have come with a Templates Programming.rtf file explaning a little of how it works.

Specific commands from the menus

Run As Root (Mac OS X only): asks for an administration login & password, then re-launches iBored with root permissions so that all disks, including the root volume, can be accessed.

View Structure: Relies on context entries in the templates xml file to analyse the structure of a disk. Starting at the partition table, it shows a hierarchical view of the various containers (e.g. each partition with its volume and maybe even its directory). May work or not work for your kind of disk as the structures in the templates file are not complete yet for all file systems.

View Partitions: Uses hard-coded routines (i.e. not the templates file) to list the partitions of a disk.

View Subrange: Opens a new view for a range of a disk's blocks, with a user-defined block size.

Write Blocks to File: Writes a subrange of blocks to a user-chosen file.

Write File to Blocks: Writes a file to a range of blocks. The writing always starts with the first block of the file, i.e. you cannot currently choose to write only a subrange of a file that doesn't start at the beginning of the file. You can, however, choose only to write a certain number of blocks from the file to the disk.

Backup used Blocks: Tries to write a compressed disk image from a disk or subrange view, where only blocks are written that are marked "in use" by the volume format. For instance, if applied to a FAT formatted disk, only the MBR, the FAT blocks, the root directory and any blocks marked used by the FAT are written. The written file uses the same format as a journal file, BTW. Note that this only works with a few formats, though, such as (currently) FAT16 and FAT32.

Fix Partition Size: A function I once needed to fix overlapping partitions on Linux-formatted iPods. Only enabled if a partitions view shows red fields. May not fix it the way you expect, so better not use it unless you like to experiment (or have backups).

Check Volume Structure: A function to repair a partially damaged FAT volume. It has some hard-coded values in it currently, making it useless for general use.

drutil output (Mac OS X only): invoked the command line tool drutil which interprets a block's data.

Preferences There are no preferences (persistent options) to set in this application (yet), hence the Preferences menu is always disabled.

Version History

1.1, 17 Jan 09:
First release (after releases of versions 1.0.x in 2006 as "rohPod")
1.1.1, 3 July 09:
Improved hex copy/paste under Windows (thanks to Craig Peterson from scootersoftware.com)
Added various partition table modification functions.
1.1.2, 19 Feb 10:
Can enable writing on unmountable OSX volumes now.
Can copy blocks from disk to disk.
Fixed erroneous unmount warnings on OS X 10.6.
1.1.4, 23 May 10:
Scan operation (formerly "Bad block scan") can now report empty block ranges.
"View Structure" operation fixed so that it works properly now with "context" entries in Templates
Added a "summary" feature to Templates, which is now used to keep many structures closed, showing a summary of their contents instead.
Doesn't crash on PPC Macs any more (had to disable Templates for that, unfortunately).
Many other little improvements.
1.1.5, 10 Dec 10:
Scan operation expanded: Can now run a custom script on a range of blocks, forward and backward.
GPT support improved for manual Boot Camp installation (still a bit incomplete, though).
Scripting and Templates documentation included now.
1.1.6, 27 May 11:
Added Scripting chapter to this documentation.
Fixed "Scan..." operation for used blocks when working on subranges with non-physical block sizes.
Fixed a potential hard crash in "TemplateView.TemplateView.selectRange" when switching to Template view.
HFS+ catalog file is now using the correct nodeSize when opened from the Structure window.
1.1.7, 19 Jul 11:
Fixed Remote Disk access - no more internal error when trying to view the remote disks.
No more "$$" where one $ is enough as a lead-in for hex values.
1.1.8, 21 Jul 11:
Fixed Templates matching related potential crash and occasional misses.
1.1.9, 7 Dec 11:
Fixed a few crash issues around unusual disk block sizes and invalid MBR partitions.
1.1.10, 15 Jan 12:
Fixed an issue on OS X where it would abort with an error right at launch.
1.1.12, 31 May 13:
Now checks online for updates of iBored at launch.
The "Erase Blocks" command won't end with an error message or freeze any more when it's finished.
Adds access to A: drive on Windows (hold Shift down when choosing "Open File...")
Improves partition editing with new editor. Caution: Writes GUID partition map if more than 4 entries are added to MBR partition, which overwrites blocks 1-32 (The journal file will record the previous sector contents so that the change can be rolled back, though).
Extends templates support for .zip files.
Can now handle GUID disks with blocksize 4096.
Fix an issue with displaying Int64 values on 32 bit Windows.
If journal file can't be created, user gets choice to ignore it or to choose a new location for it.
1.1.13, 3 Jun 13:
Windows fix: Works again on XP (1.1.12 didn't see any drives).
Windows fix: No more "Runtime Error" in "REALstring.cpp".
Fixes an occasional display issue in the templates view.
1.1.14, 29 Aug 13:
New templates for sqlite database files.
Elements with a "link" attribute now offer a button for following the link.
Block Viewer window now has Back/Forward buttons for the history.
1.1.15, 11 Dec 13:
Fixed a crash that would occur on Windows when using templates with links in them.
1.1.16, 19 Dec 13:
Fixed a crash about "ThreadAccessingUI", occasionally occuring during block copy operations.
1.1.17, 27 Dec 13:
Fixed another crash about "ThreadAccessingUI" when writing a file to blocks on Windows.
1.1.18, 3 Jan 14:
Fixed an issue under Windows where certain connected drives would lead to an internal error ("read overflow").
Fixed more Windows related crashes around "ThreadAccessingUI".
1.1.19, 15 Sep 14:
Fixes "View Partitions" to handle APM schemes correctly even if there is no "ER" signature at block 0. This makes it work with TiVo disks.
Fixes "View Structure" to show entries for a few formerly missing cases (e.g. a FAT vol’s root dir).

Acknowledgements

This tool uses the "MacWindowMenu" and "MacOSLib" classes by Charles Yeomans.

It also uses an improved version of Brady Duga's HexEditCanvas.

Questions, Feedback, Contact

I am a freelancer, and I am always open to contract work offers in areas such as data rescue, data conversion, file systems and more that is not related to web design and programming, UI programming and so on - I'm more the low level kind of programmer.

Similarly, if you need custom features implemented in this app and are willing to pay for them, get in touch.

To contact me, write to tempelmann@gmail.com

The app's website is: http://apps.tempel.org/iBored/

And now, I hope you enjoy using iBored.