Running xfstests on Android


android-xfstests runs xfstests on the internal storage of an Android device, offering an interface similar to kvm-xfstests and gce-xfstests. It uses adb and fastboot to control the device, and it runs the tests in a Debian chroot. (The chroot is needed for compatibility with xfstests and the various helper programs it invokes.) android-xfstests should only be run on a device on which you don't mind all user data being deleted.

Currently, android-xfstests has only been tested on a small number of devices. If you encounter a problem, please submit a fix!


  • The android-xfstests script installed: run make in the top-level directory of xfstests-bld, then move to ~/bin/android-xfstests or another location on your $PATH.

  • A rooted Android device with sufficient internal storage. For most test configurations, about 24 GiB of internal storage should be sufficient. This is the sum of three 5 GiB partitions, a shrunken 4 GiB userdata partition, and the various other partitions used by Android devices. For test configurations requiring large partitions, like bigalloc_4k, you'll need about 64 GiB instead.

  • Ability to connect to the Android device with adb and fastboot. Usually this is done via a USB cable.

  • An armhf or arm64 Debian root filesystem set up with xfstests and the xfstests-bld scripts. Either fetch the prebuilt root_fs.arm64.tar.gz from, or build one yourself as described in building-rootfs. Then, either put the chroot tarball in the default location of test-appliance/root_fs.tar.gz, or specify it with ROOT_FS in your ~/.config/android-xfstests or the -I option to android-xfstests.


(Optional) Build a custom kernel

You should be able to run xfstests with the kernel already installed on your device, but you may wish to build your own kernel instead. The exact procedure for building the kernel is device-dependent, but here are example commands for building a kernel using the public source code for the Google Pixel phone (2016 edition), code name “marlin”:

git clone msm-linux
cd msm-linux
git checkout android-msm-marlin-3.18-nougat-mr1
export CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-android-
export ARCH=arm64
make marlin_defconfig
make -j$(grep -c processor /proc/cpuinfo)

This will produce a kernel image arch/arm64/boot/Image.gz-dtb.

Also consider the following config options:

  • CONFIG_SYSV_IPC=y: Makes several tests stop failing / being skipped (see Known issues)

  • CONFIG_CRYPTO_MANAGER_DISABLE_TESTS=n: Include crypto self-tests. This may be useful if you are using xfstests to test file-based encryption.

(Optional) Boot into your custom kernel

By default, android-xfstests uses the kernel running on the device. However, it also supports booting a kernel automatically. To do this, specify KERNEL in your ~/.config/android-xfstests or use the --kernel command line option. If a kernel is specified, android-xfstests will boot it on the device using fastboot boot. As an optimization, this is skipped if the kernel is already running on the device (as detected by checking uname -r -v; this usually identifies the commit and build timestamp).

Note that fastboot boot just boots the kernel once; it doesn‘t install it persistently. Also, on some devices it doesn’t bring up the full functionality or even doesn‘t work at all, since it doesn’t install kernel modules or device-tree overlays. If it doesn‘t work, you’ll need to install and boot the kernel yourself instead. See your device‘s documentation for details, but you’ll at least need to build the kernel into a boot.img and flash it to the “boot” partition. On some devices additional partitions must be flashed as well, e.g. vendor and vbmeta. As an example, for “marlin” devices running Android N, one must copy arch/arm64/boot/Image.gz-dtb into device/google/marlin-kernel/ in the Android source tree, then run the following commands from the root of the Android source tree:

. build/
lunch marlin-eng
make -j16 bootimage
fastboot flash boot out/target/product/marlin/boot.img
fastboot continue

Running tests

To run tests, first ensure your device is connected with adb, then run a command like the following:

android-xfstests -c 4k -g auto

The options accepted by android-xfstests are generally the same as those accepted by kvm-xfstests. However, some options do not apply or are not yet implemented.

If you have never before run android-xfstests on the device, then android-xfstests will first need to resize the userdata filesystem to make room for the xfstests partitions. Currently, this is implemented by rebooting into fastboot mode and reformatting the userdata filesystem. Since this causes all user data to be wiped, android-xfstests will ask for confirmation before doing this.

Note that Android devices usually run an older version of the Linux kernel. At the same time, xfstests is constantly being updated to add new tests. Therefore, it‘s often the case that some of the more recently added tests will fail. Some tests may even cause a kernel crash or deadlock and will need to be excluded with -X in order for the test run to complete, as a temporary workaround until you can backport the needed bug fixes. It’s recommended to keep your device's kernel up-to-date with the corresponding LTS kernel to help minimize the number of test failures that need to be triaged. (Of course, there are obviously many other benefits of doing that as well...)

Monitoring and debugging

To get a shell in the chroot, use android-xfstests shell. You can do this at any time, regardless of whether tests are currently running. Note that this is a real shell on the device, and it doesn't use a snapshot of the root filesystem like kvm-xfstests shell does. Thus, any changes you make in the shell session are persistent.

Known issues

If using the armhf (32-bit) tarball on an aarch64 kernel, the encryption tests may fail due to a kernel bug that caused the keyctl system call to be unavailable to 32-bit programs. This can be fixed by cherry-picking commit 5c2a625937ba (“arm64: support keyctl() system call in 32-bit mode”) into your kernel from Linux v4.11.

Tests that create device-mapper devices (e.g. generic/250, generic/252, generic/338) fail because the Android equivalent of udev does not create the dm device nodes in the location expected by xfstests (/dev/mapper/).

Android kernels are sometimes configured without SysV IPC support --- i.e., CONFIG_SYSVIPC isn't set. This can cause several problems:

  • Tests that use the dbench program (generic/241) fail.
  • Tests that use the dmsetup program fail (if they didn't already fail because of the device node issue noted above)
  • Tests that use the fio program (e.g. ext4/301, ext4/302, ext4/303, generic/095, generic/299, generic/300) are skipped.

generic/004 should work, but in fact it's skipped because of a glibc bug.

Resetting userdata

The partitions set up by android-xfstests are transient, so they will not show up in the device's on-disk partition table or fstab, and they will go away after reboot. However, the reformatting of the userdata filesystem with a smaller size to free up space is persistent. If you are done running xfstests and wish to expand userdata to take up its full partition again, then reboot into fastboot mode and run fastboot -w to wipe and reformat userdata again, this time with the full size.

Other notes

Note that xfstests does pretty heavy I/O. It is also possible to run xfstests on external storage, e.g. on a USB-attached SSD. However, android-xfstests currently only supports internal storage because it is easier to automate, requires less hardware, and is more representative of how the device will actually be used; for example, hardware-specific features can be tested.