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mtools.1(3)                                                        mtools.1(3)



Name
       mtools - utilities to access DOS disks in Unix.




Introduction
       Mtools  is a collection of tools to allow Unix systems to manipulate MS-DOS files: read, write, and move around
       files on an MS-DOS filesystem (typically a floppy disk).  Where reasonable, each program  attempts  to  emulate
       the  MS-DOS  equivalent  command.  However,  unnecessary restrictions and oddities of DOS are not emulated. For
       instance, it is possible to move subdirectories from one subdirectory to another.

       Mtools is sufficient to give access to MS-DOS filesystems.  For instance, commands such as mdir a: work on  the
       a:  floppy without any preliminary mounting or initialization (assuming the default '/etc/mtools.conf' works on
       your machine).  With mtools, one can change floppies too without unmounting and mounting.


Where to get mtools
       Mtools can be found at the following places (and their mirrors):

          http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/mtools/mtools-4.0.12.tar.gz
          http://mtools.linux.lu/mtools-4.0.12.tar.gz
          ftp://www.tux.org/pub/knaff/mtools/mtools-4.0.12.tar.gz
          ftp://ibiblio.unc.edu/pub/Linux/utils/disk-management/mtools-4.0.12.tar.gz



       Before reporting a bug, make sure that it has not yet been fixed in the Alpha patches which can be found at:

          http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/mtools/
          http://mtools.linux.lu/
          ftp://www.tux.org/pub/knaff/mtools



       These patches are named mtools-version-ddmm.taz, where version stands for the base version, dd for the day  and
       mm for the month. Due to a lack of space, I usually leave only the most recent patch.

       There  is an mtools mailing list at mtools @ tux.org .  Please send all bug reports to this list.  You may sub-
       scribe to the list by sending a message with 'subscribe mtools @ tux.org' in its body to majordomo @ tux.org  .
       (N.B.  Please  remove  the  spaces  around  the  "@"  both times. I left them there in order to fool spambots.)
       Announcements of new mtools versions will also be sent to the list, in addition to  the  linux  announce  news-
       groups.  The mailing list is archived at http://lists.gnu.org/pipermail/info-mtools/


Common features of all mtools commands
   Options and filenames
       MS-DOS  filenames  are composed of a drive letter followed by a colon, a subdirectory, and a filename. Only the
       filename part is mandatory, the drive letter and the subdirectory are optional. Filenames without a drive  let-
       ter  refer to Unix files. Subdirectory names can use either the '/' or '\' separator.  The use of the '\' sepa-
       rator or wildcards requires the names to be enclosed in quotes to protect them from the shell.  However,  wild-
       cards in Unix filenames should not be enclosed in quotes, because here we want the shell to expand them.

       The  regular  expression "pattern matching" routines follow the Unix-style rules.  For example, '*' matches all
       MS-DOS files in lieu of '*.*'.  The archive, hidden, read-only and system attribute  bits  are  ignored  during
       pattern matching.

       All options use the - (minus) as their first character, not / as you'd expect in MS-DOS.

       Most  mtools commands allow multiple filename parameters, which doesn't follow MS-DOS conventions, but which is
       more user-friendly.

       Most mtools commands allow options that instruct them how  to  handle  file  name  clashes.  See  section  name
       clashes,  for more details on these. All commands accept the -V flags which prints the version, and most accept
       the -v flag, which switches on verbose mode. In verbose mode, these commands print out the name of  the  MS-DOS
       files  upon  which  they  act,  unless stated otherwise. See section Commands, for a description of the options
       which are specific to each command.


   Drive letters
       The meaning of the drive letters depends on the target architectures.  However, on most  target  architectures,
       drive  A  is  the first floppy drive, drive B is the second floppy drive (if available), drive J is a Jaz drive
       (if available), and drive Z is a Zip drive (if available).  On those systems where the device name  is  derived
       from  the  SCSI  id,  the  Jaz  drive  is assumed to be at Scsi target 4, and the Zip at Scsi target 5 (factory
       default settings).  On Linux, both drives are assumed to be the second drive on the Scsi  bus  (/dev/sdb).  The
       default settings can be changes using a configuration file (see section  Configuration).

       The drive letter : (colon) has a special meaning. It is used to access image files which are directly specified
       on the command line using the -i options.

       Example:

           mcopy -i my-image-file.bin ::file1 ::file2 .



       This copies file1 and file2 from the image file (my-image-file.bin) to the /tmp directory.

       You can also supply an offset within the image file by including @@offset into the file name.

       Example:

           mcopy -i my-image-file.bin@@1M ::file1 ::file2 .



       This looks for the image at the offset of 1M in the file, rather than at its beginning.


   Current working directory
       The mcd command ('mcd') is used to establish the device and the current working directory (relative to the  MS-
       DOS  filesystem), otherwise the default is assumed to be A:/. However, unlike MS-DOS, there is only one working
       directory for all drives, and not one per drive.


   VFAT-style long file names
       This version of mtools supports VFAT style long filenames. If a Unix filename is too long to fit in a short DOS
       name,  it  is  stored as a VFAT long name, and a companion short name is generated. This short name is what you
       see when you examine the disk with a pre-7.0 version of DOS.
        The following table shows some examples of short names:


          Long name       MS-DOS name     Reason for the change
          ---------       ----------      ---------------------
          thisisatest     THISIS~1        filename too long
          alain.knaff     ALAIN~1.KNA     extension too long
          prn.txt         PRN~1.TXT       PRN is a device name
          .abc            ABC~1           null filename
          hot+cold        HOT_CO~1        illegal character



        As you see, the following transformations happen to derive a short name:

       *      Illegal characters are replaced by underscores. The illegal characters are ;+=[]',\"*\\<>/?:|.

       *      Extra dots, which cannot be interpreted as a main name/extension separator are removed

       *      A ~n number is generated,

       *      The name is shortened so as to fit in the 8+3 limitation

        The initial Unix-style file name (whether long or short) is also called the  primary  name,  and  the  derived
       short name is also called the secondary name.

        Example:

           mcopy /etc/motd a:Reallylongname

         Mtools creates a VFAT entry for Reallylongname, and uses REALLYLO as a short name. Reallylongname is the pri-
       mary name, and REALLYLO is the secondary name.

           mcopy /etc/motd a:motd

        Motd fits into the DOS filename limits. Mtools doesn't need to derivate another  name.  Motd  is  the  primary
       name, and there is no secondary name.

        In a nutshell: The primary name is the long name, if one exists, or the short name if there is no long name.

        Although  VFAT  is  much  more flexible than FAT, there are still names that are not acceptable, even in VFAT.
       There are still some illegal characters left (\"*\\<>/?:|), and device names are still reserved.


          Unix name       Long name       Reason for the change
          ---------       ----------      ---------------------
          prn             prn-1           PRN is a device name
          ab:c            ab_c-1          illegal character



        As you see, the following transformations happen if a long name is illegal:

       *      Illegal characters are replaces by underscores,

       *      A -n number is generated,


   Name clashes
       When writing a file to disk, its long name or short name may collide with an already existing  file  or  direc-
       tory.  This  may  happen  for all commands which create new directory entries, such as mcopy, mmd, mren, mmove.
       When a name clash happens, mtools asks you what it should do. It offers several choices:

       overwrite
              Overwrites the existing file. It is not possible to overwrite a directory with a file.

       rename
              Renames the newly created file. Mtools prompts for the new filename

       autorename
              Renames the newly created file. Mtools chooses a name by itself, without prompting

       skip   Gives up on this file, and moves on to the next (if any)

       To chose one of these actions, type its first letter at the prompt. If you use a lower case letter, the  action
       only  applies  for  this  file  only, if you use an upper case letter, the action applies to all files, and you
       won't be prompted again.

       You may also chose actions (for all files) on the command line, when invoking mtools:

       -D o   Overwrites primary names by default.

       -D O   Overwrites secondary names by default.

       -D r   Renames primary name by default.

       -D R   Renames secondary name by default.

       -D a   Autorenames primary name by default.

       -D A   Autorenames secondary name by default.

       -D s   Skip primary name by default.

       -D S   Skip secondary name by default.

       -D m   Ask user what to do with primary name.

       -D M   Ask user what to do with secondary name.

       Note that for command line switches lower/upper  differentiates  between  primary/secondary  name  whereas  for
       interactive choices, lower/upper differentiates between just-this-time/always.

       The primary name is the name as displayed in Windows 95 or Windows NT: i.e. the long name if it exists, and the
       short name otherwise.  The secondary name is the "hidden" name, i.e. the short name if a long name exists.

       By default, the user is prompted if the primary name clashes, and the secondary name is autorenamed.

       If a name clash occurs in a Unix directory, mtools only asks whether to overwrite the file, or to skip it.


   Case sensitivity of the VFAT filesystem
       The VFAT filesystem is able to remember the case of the filenames. However, filenames which differ only in case
       are not allowed to coexist in the same directory. For example if you store a file called LongFileName on a VFAT
       filesystem, mdir shows this file as LongFileName, and not as Longfilename. However, if  you  then  try  to  add
       LongFilename to the same directory, it is refused, because case is ignored for clash checks.

       The  VFAT  filesystem allows to store the case of a filename in the attribute byte, if all letters of the file-
       name are the same case, and if all letters of the extension are the same case too. Mtools uses this information
       when  displaying  the files, and also to generate the Unix filename when mcopying to a Unix directory. This may
       have unexpected results when applied to files written using an pre-7.0 version of DOS: Indeed,  the  old  style
       filenames map to all upper case. This is different from the behavior of the old version of mtools which used to
       generate lower case Unix filenames.


   high capacity formats
       Mtools supports a number of formats which allow to store more data on disk as usual. Due to different operating
       system  abilities,  these formats are not supported on all OS'es. Mtools recognizes these formats transparently
       where supported.

       In order to format these disks, you need to use an operating system specific tool. For Linux,  suitable  floppy
       tools can be found in the fdutils package at the following locations~:

          ftp://www.tux.org/pub/knaff/fdutils/.
          ftp://ibiblio.unc.edu/pub/Linux/utils/disk-management/fdutils-*



       See the manpages included in that package for further detail: Use superformat to format all formats except XDF,
       and use xdfcopy to format XDF.


     More sectors
       The oldest method of fitting more data on a disk is to use more sectors and more cylinders. Although the  stan-
       dard  format  uses  80  cylinders and 18 sectors (on a 3 1/2 high density disk), it is possible to use up to 83
       cylinders (on most drives) and up to 21 sectors. This method allows to store up to 1743K on a 3  1/2  HD  disk.
       However,  21  sector  disks are twice as slow as the standard 18 sector disks because the sectors are packed so
       close together that we need to interleave them. This problem doesn't exist for 20 sector formats.

       These formats are supported by numerous DOS shareware utilities such as fdformat and vgacopy. In  his  infinite
       hybris, Bill Gate$ believed that he invented this, and called it 'DMF disks', or 'Windows formatted disks'. But
       in reality, it has already existed years before! Mtools supports these formats on Linux, on SunOs  and  on  the
       DELL Unix PC.


     Bigger sectors
       By using bigger sectors it is possible to go beyond the capacity which can be obtained by the standard 512-byte
       sectors. This is because of the sector header. The sector header has the same size, regardless of how many data
       bytes  are in the sector. Thus, we save some space by using fewer, but bigger sectors. For example, 1 sector of
       4K only takes up header space once, whereas 8 sectors of 512 bytes have also 8 headers, for the same amount  of
       useful data.

       This method allows to store up to 1992K on a 3 1/2 HD disk.

       Mtools supports these formats only on Linux.


     2m
       The  2m  format  was  originally invented by Ciriaco Garcia de Celis. It also uses bigger sectors than usual in
       order to fit more data on the disk.  However, it uses the standard format (18 sectors of 512 bytes each) on the
       first cylinder, in order to make these disks easyer to handle by DOS. Indeed this method allows to have a stan-
       dard sized bootsector, which contains a description of how the rest of the disk should be read.

       However, the drawback of this is that the first cylinder can hold less data than the others. Unfortunately, DOS
       can  only handle disks where each track contains the same amount of data. Thus 2m hides the fact that the first
       track contains less data by using a shadow FAT. (Usually, DOS stores the FAT in two identical copies, for addi-
       tional  safety.   XDF  stores  only  one copy, and it tells DOS that it stores two. Thus the same that would be
       taken up by the second FAT copy is saved.) This also means that your should never use a 2m disk to  store  any-
       thing else than a DOS fs.

       Mtools supports these format only on Linux.


     XDF
       XDF is a high capacity format used by OS/2. It can hold 1840 K per disk. That's lower than the best 2m formats,
       but its main advantage is that it is fast: 600 milliseconds per track. That's faster than the 21 sector format,
       and  almost as fast as the standard 18 sector format. In order to access these disks, make sure mtools has been
       compiled with XDF support, and set the use_xdf variable for the drive in the configuration  file.  See  section
       Compiling  mtools,  and  'misc variables', for details on how to do this. Fast XDF access is only available for
       Linux kernels which are more recent than 1.1.34.

       Mtools supports this format only on Linux.

       Caution / Attention distributors: If mtools is compiled on a Linux kernel more recent than 1.3.34, it won't run
       on  an  older  kernel.  However,  if  it has been compiled on an older kernel, it still runs on a newer kernel,
       except that XDF access is slower. It is recommended that distribution authors only include mtools binaries com-
       piled on kernels older than 1.3.34 until 2.0 comes out. When 2.0 will be out, mtools binaries compiled on newer
       kernels may (and should) be distributed. Mtools binaries compiled on kernels older than 1.3.34 won't run on any
       2.1 kernel or later.


   Exit codes
       All  the Mtools commands return 0 on success, 1 on utter failure, or 2 on partial failure.  All the Mtools com-
       mands perform a few sanity checks before going ahead, to make sure that the disk is indeed an MS-DOS  disk  (as
       opposed  to,  say an ext2 or minix disk). These checks may reject partially corrupted disks, which might other-
       wise still be readable. To avoid these checks, set the MTOOLS_SKIP_CHECK environmental variable or  the  corre-
       sponding configuration file variable (see section  global variables)

   Bugs
       An  unfortunate  side effect of not guessing the proper device (when multiple disk capacities are supported) is
       an occasional error message from the device driver.  These can be safely ignored.

       The fat checking code chokes on 1.72 Mb disks mformatted with pre-2.0.7 mtools. Set the environmental  variable
       MTOOLS_FAT_COMPATIBILITY  (or  the corresponding configuration file variable, 'global variables') to bypass the
       fat checking.


See also
       floppyd_installtest mattrib mbadblocks mcd mcopy mdel mdeltree mdir mdu mformat  minfo  mkmanifest  mlabel  mmd
       mmount mmove mrd mren mtoolstest mtype



mtools-4.0.12                       03Nov09                        mtools.1(3)