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).

   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-3.9.8                        02Jun01                        mtools.1(3)