Unix/Linux Go Back    

CentOS 7.0 - man page for mtools (centos section 1)

Linux & Unix Commands - Search Man Pages
Man Page or Keyword Search:   man
Select Man Page Set:       apropos Keyword Search (sections above)

mtools(1)										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 restrictions 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 ver-
       sion, 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 subscribe 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 newsgroups.  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 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 exam-
       ple, `*' 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 con-
       ventions, 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  ver-
       bose  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

       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 @@offset into the file


	   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 name:

       *      Illegal  characters  are	replaced  by  underscores.  The  illegal  characters  are

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

       *      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.  Real-
       lylongname 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 still names that are not accept-
       able, 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 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

	      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 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-

       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

       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 LongFileName on a VFAT file system, mdir shows this file as Long-
       FileName, 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 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 gener-
       ate 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 file-
       names 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	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  loca-


       See  the manual pages included in that package for further detail: Use superformat to for-
       mat 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  cylin-
       ders.  Although the standard format uses 80 cylinders and 18 sectors (on a 3 1/2 high den-
       sity disk), it is possible to use up to 83 cylinders (on most drives) and up  to  21  sec-
       tors. 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 for-

       These formats are supported by numerous DOS shareware utilities such as fdformat and  vga-
       copy.  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 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.

       The 2m format was originally invented by Ciriaco Garcia de Celis. It also uses bigger sec-
       tors than usual in order to fit more data on the disk.  However, it uses the standard for-
       mat (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  oth-
       ers. 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, 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 sec-
       tor  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 `miscellaneous 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 ker-
       nel, 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  ker-
       nels  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 readable. To avoid
       these checks, set the MTOOLS_SKIP_CHECK environmental variable or the  corresponding  con-
       figuration file variable (see section  global variables)

       An  unfortunate	side effect of not guessing the proper device (when multiple disk capaci-
       ties 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 mdeltree mdir mdu mfor-
       mat minfo mkmanifest mlabel mmd mmount mmove mrd mren mshortname mshowfat mtoolstest mtype

mtools-4.0.18				     09Jan13					mtools(1)
Unix & Linux Commands & Man Pages : ©2000 - 2018 Unix and Linux Forums

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:52 AM.