Recovering a PogoPlug

Several weeks ago I made a few untested sshd config changes and managed to lock myself out of my PogoPlugv4. Due to the PogoPlug not having a display port, I had to resort to editing the files on my MacBookPro.

The problem here is that my laptop is running x64, but the PogoPlug is running ARM. So using Virtualbox wont work, it only supports x86 and x64. However, we can use QEMU to emulate a machine with ARM architecture.

This post assumes you’re using OSX for your host computer and that you’ve installed your PogoPlug OS on a SATA drive.

If you’re using Linux, replace brew with whatever package manager you have. These directions might work as-is if you installed the PogoPlug OS on a USB drive.



Go install brew, then use it to install QEMU.

$ brew install qemu

Download an ARM OS image, kernel, and initrd.

$ wget
$ wget
$ wget

Here are the hashes if you’re that sort of person.

4b830c500591181e3af2d832da39f1ba  debian_wheezy_armel_standard.qcow2
ed7c39ec86e759240bdddd783248ed8b  initrd.img-3.2.0-4-versatile
3bdf3393243e65bd862b1398a494134a  vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-versatile

Plug the SATA drive into the host machine using the USB adaptor. OSX might not recognize the drive, that’s ok. Once it’s plugged in, search for it’s location.

$ diskutil list

Run QEMU with the USB drive attached. In this case /dev/disk1s1 means disk1 with partition 1. This could be different for you.

$ sudo qemu-system-arm -M versatilepb -kernel vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-versatile -initrd initrd.img-3.2.0-4-versatile -hda debian_wheezy_armel_standard.qcow2 -append "root=/dev/sda1" -usbdevice disk:/dev/disk1s1

Now ssh into the VM as root, the password is root. Find, mount, and chroot the USB drive. <USB> being the USB drive.

$ fdisk -l
$ mkdir /tmp/pogo
$ mount /dev/<USB> /tmp/pogo
$ chroot /tmp/pogo /bin/bash

Maybe you need to fix sshd_config, like I did.

$ vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Unmount the drive and shutdown the VM. The USB drive will then return to the host machine, where we can safely eject it using Disk Utility.

$ umount /tmp/pogo
$ shutdown -h now

Go plug that SATA drive back into your PogoPlug and pray to Stallman that everything works.

Big thanks to aurel32 for hosting. If the files linked above go missing, you can download them from me, under /media/assets/*. Yes, I’m purposely not linking to them because of crawlers.