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


       mtools - utilities to access DOS disks in Unix.


       Mtools  is a public domain 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 pro-
       gram attempts to emulate the MS-DOS equivalent command. However, unnec-
       essary 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):

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

       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 @ .  Please send  all
       bug  reports  to this list.  You may subscribe to the list by sending a
       message with ’subscribe mtools @’ in its body  to  majordomo  @  .  (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   newsgroups.    The   mailing    list    is    archived    at

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 letter refer to Unix files. Subdirectory names can use either the
       ’/’  or  ’\’  separator.   The  use  of  the ’\’ separator or wildcards
       requires the names to be enclosed in quotes to protect  them  from  the
       shell.  However,  wildcards 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.


           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.

   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

       *      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.


           mcopy /etc/motd a:Reallylongname

        Mtools creates a VFAT entry for Reallylongname, and uses REALLYLO as a
       short name. Reallylongname is the primary 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  sec-
       ondary 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 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 directory. 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:

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

              Renames the newly created file. Mtools prompts for the new file-

              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

       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. How-
       ever, 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 filename 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  differ-
       ent from the behavior of the old version of mtools which used to gener-
       ate 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 for-
       mats 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~:


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

     More sectors
       The oldest method of fitting more data on a disk is to use more sectors
       and more cylinders. Although the standard 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 head-
       ers, 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.

       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 standard sized boot-
       sector, 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. (Usu-
       ally, DOS stores the  FAT  in  two  identical  copies,  for  additional
       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 anything
       else than a DOS fs.

       Mtools supports these format only on Linux.

       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 configu-
       ration 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 ker-
       nel  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 dis-
       tribution authors only include  mtools  binaries  compiled  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  commands 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 otherwise still be  read-
       able.  To  avoid  these checks, set the MTOOLS_SKIP_CHECK environmental
       variable or the corresponding configuration file variable (see  section
       global variables)

       An unfortunate side effect of not guessing the proper device (when mul-
       tiple 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

mtools-3.9.9                        03Mar03                        mtools.1(3)

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