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Last active June 8, 2024 10:59
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Python script to fix the "exec format error" seen with tools like gzip in WSL with Ubuntu 22.04 in Q1/Q2 2022
#!/usr/bin/env python
This script can be used to fix the "exec format error" seen with tools like gzip in
WSL with Ubuntu 22.04 in Q1/Q2 2022
A hacky fix for broken executables in WSL/Ubuntu 22.0
Be careful as this could really break things!
The author takes no responsibility for the action of this script
All credit to for the basis
Author: the-moog - June 16th 2022
import argparse
from pathlib import Path
import os
import sys
from elftools.elf.elffile import ELFFile
except ImportError:
print("Package missing, use")
print("pip install pyelftools as root")
if os.geteuid() != 0:
print(" NOTE: You will probably need to run this using sudo or as root, trying anyway\n")
this_module = sys.modules[__name__]
def get_backup_path(file_path, backup_path=None):
bk_file = Path(str(file_path) + ".bak")
if backup_path is not None:
backup_path = Path(backup_path)
if == "":
bk_file = Path(backup_path) /
bk_file = backup_path
return bk_file
def fix(file, backup_path=None, overwrite=False):
target_p_align = 0x1000
in_file = Path(file)
bk_file = get_backup_path(file, backup_path)
out_file = in_file
in_stat = in_file.lstat()
assert in_file.exists(), f"{in_file} does not exist"
assert os.access(in_file, os.X_OK), f"{in_file} is not executable, check what you are doing"
assert os.access(in_file, os.W_OK), f"You don't have rights to modify {in_file}"
assert os.access(bk_file.parent, os.W_OK), f"I can't create backup in {bk_file.parent}"
print(f"Backing up {in_file} to {bk_file}")
if bk_file.exists():
if not overwrite:
raise IOError(f"Backup {bk_file} exists, use -o to force overwrite")
if not bk_file.exists:
raise IOError(f"Unexpected error creating backup {bk_file}")
print(f"Fixing {in_file}....")
updated = False
error = None
with'rb') as fp:
bdata = bytearray(
elf = ELFFile(fp)
header_size = elf.structs.Elf_Phdr.sizeof()
for i in range(elf.num_segments()):
header = elf.get_segment(i).header
if header.p_type == 'PT_LOAD' and header.p_align != target_p_align:
print(f"Changing alignment of program header {i} from {header.p_align} to {target_p_align}")
header.p_align = target_p_align
header_offset = elf._segment_offset(i)
bdata[header_offset:header_offset+header_size] =
updated = True
except Exception as er:
# Capture all errors so we can first
# try to complete the task or restore the backup
error = er
if updated and error is None:
with'wb') as fp:
except Exception as er:
error = er
if not updated or error is not None:
print("No action, or error, restoring backup")
if error is not None:
raise error
def undo(file, backup_path=None):
in_file = Path(file)
bk_file = get_backup_path(file, backup_path)
assert bk_file.exists(), f"{in_file} does not appear to have a backup as {bk_file}"
if not in_file.exists():
print(f"File {in_file} is missing, trying to restore from {bk_file} anyway")
assert os.access(in_file, os.W_OK), "You can't restore the backing as you can't alter the destination"
print(f"Restoring {in_file} from {bk_file}")
if in_file.exists():
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description=this_module.__doc__,
parser.add_argument('file', type=Path, help="Path to file to fix", metavar='<file_path>')
parser.add_argument("-u", help="Undo if possible", dest="undo", action="store_true")
parser.add_argument("-b", type=Path, help="Alternate backup path", dest="backup_path", metavar="<backup_path>", default=None)
parser.add_argument("-o", help="Overwrite existing backup", dest="overwrite", action="store_true")
args = parser.parse_args()
if not args.undo:
fix(args.file, backup_path=args.backup_path, overwrite=args.overwrite)
except AssertionError as er:
except IOError as er:
print(f"ERROR: {er}")
undo(args.file, backup_path=args.backup_path)
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