.QCOW File Recovery

Have files been deleted due to a user’s error or software error? Have you formatted a disk by accident and need to know how to recover the files? Read our .QCOW file recovery guide for Windows, MacOS, Android and IOS in 2024.

QCOW File Recovery

What is a .QCOW file?

Disk image file saved in the QEMU Copy On Write (QCOW) format, a format used by QEMU virtualization software; stores the contents of a virtual machine's hard drive; supports zlib compression and AES encryption of separate, independent clusters.

What Are Common Causes of ".QCOW" Files Lost or Failure?

There are several common causes of ".QCOW" files lost or failure:

  1. Accidental deletion: Users may accidentally delete the ".QCOW" file while trying to remove unwanted files or folders.
  2. File system corruption: If the file system containing the ".QCOW" file gets corrupted, it can lead to loss or failure of the file.
  3. Virus or malware attack: Malicious software can infect the system and cause damage to files, including ".QCOW" files.
  4. Power failure: Sudden power outages or system shutdowns can interrupt the saving or accessing process of ".QCOW" files, resulting in loss or corruption.
  5. Hardware failure: Issues with the storage device where the ".QCOW" file is stored, such as hard drive failure or bad sectors, can lead to file loss or failure.
  6. Software conflicts or errors: Errors in virtualization software or conflicts between different software can cause issues with ".QCOW" files.
  7. Improper file transfer: If the ".QCOW" file is not transferred correctly or interrupted during the process, it can result in loss or corruption.
  8. Operating system issues: Problems with the operating system, such as crashes or errors, can affect the ".QCOW" file and lead to failure.
  9. Human error: Mistakes made by users, like accidental formatting of the storage device or improper handling of files, can cause ".QCOW" file loss.
  10. File system conversion: Converting the file system that contains the ".QCOW" file without proper precautions or compatibility can result in file failure or loss.

How to recover lost ".QCOW" files?

Sometimes while working with a computer, laptop or other stationary or mobile devices, you may encounter various bugs, freezes, hardware or software failures, even in spite of regular updates and junk cleaning. As a result, an important ".QCOW" file may be deleted.

Go to view
🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

By no means should you think that the only way to recover a ".QCOW" file is always to create it once more.

Use programs for recovering ".QCOW" files if a file was lost after accidental or deliberate deleting, formatting the memory card or the internal storage, cleaning the storage device, after a virus attack or a system failure.

Programs to recover ".QCOW" files

Looking for a way to get files back? In cases when files were deleted and they cannot be restored by using standard operating system tools, use Hetman Partition Recovery.

Partition Recovery™ 4.9
The tool recovers data from any devices, regardless of the cause of data loss.

Follow the directions below:

  1. Download Hetman Partition Recovery, install and start the program.

  2. The program will automatically scan the computer and display all hard disks and removable drives connected to it, as well as physical and local disks.

    File Recovery Software
  3. Double-click on the disk from which you need to recover ".QCOW" files, and select analysis type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Analysis Type
  4. When the scanning is over, you will be shown the files for recovery.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Files that Can be Restored
  5. To find a file you need, use the program’s interface to open the folder it was deleted from, or go to the folder "Content-Aware Analysis" and select the required file type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Deep Scan
  6. Select the files you have been looking for and click "Recovery".

    File Recovery Software - Files List for Recovery
  7. Choose one of the methods for saving the files and recover them.

    Saving recovered files in Hetman Partition Recovery

How to open file with ".QCOW" extension?

Looking for how to open a stereo qEMU Copy On Write Disk Image image file file?

Programs that open ".QCOW" files


Additional Information

  • File type: QEMU Copy On Write Disk Image

  • File extension: .QCOW

  • Developer: N/A

  • Category: Disk Image Files

  • Format: Binary


We will be happy to answer your questions!

Comments (1)

  • Hetman Software: Data Recovery
    Hetman Software: Data Recovery 18.12.2019 13:00 #
    Leave a comment if you have any questions about Recovering lost .QCOW files after deleting, cleaning or formatting!
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Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: Oleg Afonin, Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.


Questions and answers

  • What is a .QCOW file format and what is its purpose?

    The .QCOW (QEMU Copy On Write) file format is a disk image file format used by the QEMU emulator. It is primarily designed for virtualization and is commonly used by virtual machine software like QEMU and KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine).

    The purpose of the .QCOW file format is to represent a virtual disk image that can be used by a virtual machine. It allows for efficient disk space utilization by utilizing a copy-on-write mechanism. This means that instead of immediately writing changes to the original disk image, only the modified data is written to a separate file, while the original disk image remains unchanged. This approach helps reduce the amount of storage space required and allows for faster disk image creation and cloning.

    Additionally, the .QCOW format supports features like snapshotting, compression, encryption, and multiple layers of images. It provides a flexible and efficient solution for managing virtual disk images in virtualized environments.

  • How can I open a .QCOW file and access its contents?

    To open and access the contents of a .QCOW file, you can follow these steps:

    1. Install QEMU: QCOW files are disk images used by QEMU, an open-source virtualization software. Install QEMU on your system by downloading it from the official website (https://www.qemu.org/download/), or using a package manager like apt, yum, or brew.
    2. Launch QEMU: Open a terminal or command prompt and run the following command to launch QEMU, replacing `/path/to/file.qcow` with the actual path to your .QCOW file:


    qemu-system-x86_64 -hda /path/to/file.qcow


    1. Access the contents: Once QEMU starts, it will treat the .QCOW file as a virtual disk. You can interact with it as if it were a physical disk. For example, if the .QCOW file contains a bootable operating system, it will start up, and you can use it within the QEMU window.
    2. Extra options: QEMU provides various command-line options to customize the virtual machine's behavior, such as specifying CPU architecture, memory size, network settings, etc. You can refer to the QEMU documentation for more details on these options.

    Note: If you only want to access individual files within the .QCOW image without running the entire virtual machine, you can mount the .QCOW file using tools like libguestfs or qemu-nbd. These tools allow you to explore the file system within the .QCOW image directly on your host system.

  • Are there any specific software or tools required to open and work with .QCOW files?

    Yes, there are specific software and tools required to open and work with .QCOW files. The .QCOW file format is commonly used for disk image files in virtualization environments, particularly in the QEMU and KVM virtualization platforms. To work with .QCOW files, you can use the following tools:

    1. QEMU: QEMU is an open-source virtualization software that provides emulation and virtualization capabilities. It supports the .QCOW format and allows you to create, manage, and run virtual machines using .QCOW disk images.
    2. KVM: KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a virtualization infrastructure for the Linux kernel. It also supports the .QCOW format and can be used to manage and run virtual machines using .QCOW disk images.
    3. libguestfs: libguestfs is a set of tools and libraries for accessing and modifying virtual machine disk images. It includes the "qemu-img" command-line tool, which can be used to convert, resize, and manipulate .QCOW files.
    4. Virtualization management tools: Various virtualization management tools, such as virt-manager, oVirt, and Proxmox VE, can handle .QCOW files. These tools provide graphical user interfaces and additional features for managing virtual machines and their disk images.

    It's worth noting that .QCOW2 is an updated version of the .QCOW format and offers additional features like improved performance and snapshot support. Many of the above tools also support .QCOW2 files.

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