mtools(1)                   General Commands Manual                  mtools(1)

       mtools - utilities to access DOS disks in Unix.

       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 file  system
       (typically  a floppy disk).  Where reasonable, each program attempts to
       emulate the MS-DOS equivalent command.  However,  unnecessary  restric-
       tions  and oddities of DOS are not emulated. For instance, it is possi-
       ble to move subdirectories from one subdirectory to another.

       Mtools is sufficient to  give  access  to  MS-DOS  file  systems.   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.

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


           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 file system),  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 file system
       The VFAT file system 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 LongFile-
       Name  on  a VFAT file system, 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

       The VFAT file system 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  operating  systems.  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  manual pages 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 hubris, 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 easier 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, but tells DOS that it stores two.
       Thus the space that would be taken up by the second FAT copy is saved.)
       This  also  means that you should never use a 2m disk to store anything
       else than a DOS file system.

       Mtools supports these formats 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  `miscellaneous  vari-
       ables',  for  details on how to do this. Fast XDF access is only avail-
       able 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 mclasserase mcopy mdel mdel-
       tree mdir mdu mformat minfo mkmanifest mlabel mmd mmount mmove mrd mren
       mshortname mshowfat mtoolstest mtype

mtools-4.0.18                       09Jan13                          mtools(1)
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