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       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 program attempts  to
       emulate  the  MS-DOS equivalent command. However, unneces­
       sary 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  with­
       out unmounting and mounting.

Where to get mtools

       Mtools  can  be  found  at the following places (and their


       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  @  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.)  Announce­
       ments of new mtools versions will  also  be  sent  to  the
       list,  in  addition to the linux announce newsgroups.  The
       names  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

       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

       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  Configu­

       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-
       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 limi­

        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 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

       *      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  direc­
       tory 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 filename

              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

       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.

       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 LongFile­
       name 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  display­
       ing 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

   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

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


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

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

       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 cylin­
       der, 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. (Usually,
       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.

       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 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 ker­
       nels older than 1.3.34 won't run  on  any  2.1  kernel  or

   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
       readable. 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 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  configura­
       tion  file variable, `global variables') to bypass the fat

See also

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

mtools-3.9.9                 05Jun03                  mtools.1(3)



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