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       mpartition - partition an MSDOS hard disk

Note of warning

       This manpage has been automatically generated from mtools's texinfo documentation, and may
       not be entirely accurate or complete.  See the end of this man page for details.


       The mpartition command is used to create MS-DOS  file  systems  as  partitions.   This  is
       intended to be used on non-Linux systems, i.e. systems where fdisk and easy access to SCSI
       devices are not available.  This command only works on drives whose partition variable  is

       mpartition -p drive
       mpartition -r drive
       mpartition -I [-B bootSector] drive
       mpartition -a drive
       mpartition -d drive
       mpartition -c [-s sectors] [-h heads]
       [-t cylinders] [-v [-T type] [-b
       begin] [-l length] [-f]

       Mpartition supports the following operations:

       p      Prints  a command line to recreate the partition for the drive.  Nothing is printed
              if the partition for the drive  is  not  defined,  or  an  inconsistency  has  been
              detected.  If verbose (-v) is also set, prints the current partition table.

       r      Removes the partition described by drive.

       I      Initializes the partition table, and removes all partitions.

       c      Creates the partition described by drive.

       a      "Activates"  the  partition,  i.e.  makes  it  bootable.  Only one partition can be
              bootable at a time.

       d      "Deactivates" the partition, i.e. makes it unbootable.

       If no operation is given, the current settings are printed.

       For partition creations, the following options are available:

       s sectors
              The number of sectors per track of the partition  (which  is  also  the  number  of
              sectors per track for the whole drive).

       h heads
              The  number  of  heads  of the partition (which is also the number of heads for the
              whole drive).  By default, the geometry information (number of sectors  and  heads)
              is figured out from neighboring partition table entries, or guessed from the size.

       t cylinders
              The  number of cylinders of the partition (not the number of cylinders of the whole

       b begin
              The starting offset of the partition, expressed in sectors. If begin is not  given,
              mpartition  lets the partition begin at the start of the disk (partition number 1),
              or immediately after the end of the previous partition.

       l length
              The size (length) of the partition, expressed in sectors.  If  end  is  not  given,
              mpartition  figures  out  the size from the number of sectors, heads and cylinders.
              If these are not given either, it gives the partition the  biggest  possible  size,
              considering disk size and start of the next partition.

       The following option is available for all operation which modify the partition table:

       f      Usually,  before  writing  back  any  changes to the partition, mpartition performs
              certain consistency checks, such as checking for overlaps and proper  alignment  of
              the  partitions.  If any of these checks fails, the partition table is not changes.
              The -f allows you to override these safeguards.

       The following options are available for all operations:

       v      Together with -p prints the partition table as it is now (no change operation),  or
              as it is after it is modified.

       vv     If  the  verbosity  flag is given twice, mpartition will print out a hexdump of the
              partition table when reading it from and writing it to the device.

       The following option is available for partition table initialization:

       B bootSector
              Reads the template master boot record from file bootSector.

Choice of partition type

       Mpartition proceeds as follows to pick a type for the partition:

       -      FAT32 partitions are assigned type 0x0C (``Win95 FAT32, LBA'')

       -      For all others, if the partition fits entirely within the 65536 sector of the disk,
              assign  0x01 (``DOS FAT12, CHS'') for FAT12 partition and 0x04 (``DOS FAT16, CHS'')
              for FAT16 partitions

       -      If not covered by the above, assign 0x06 (``DOS BIG FAT16 CHS'') if partition  fits
              entirely within the first 1024 cylinders (CHS mode)

       -      All remaining cases get 0x0E (``Win95 BIG FAT16, LBA'')

       If  number  of  fat bits is not known (not specified in drive's definition), then FAT12 is
       assumed for all drives with less than 4096 sectors, and FAT16 for  those  with  more  than
       4096 sectors.

       This     corresponds     more     or    less    to    the    definitions    outlined    at                     and
       pro/windows-2000-server/cc977219(v=technet.10), with two notable differences:

       -      If fat bits are unknown, the reference documents consider  drives  with  less  than
              32680  sectors  to be FAT12. Mtools uses 4096 sectors as the cutoff point, as older
              versions of DOS only support FAT12 on disks with less than 4096 sectors (and  these
              older  versions  are  the ones which would be most likely to use FAT12 in the first

       -      The reference documents use a 8GB (wikipedia) or a 4GB (Microsoft)  cutoff  between
              0x06  (DOS BIG FAT16 CHS) and 0x0E. Mtools uses 1024 cylinders. This is because any
              partition beyond 1024 cylinders must be LBA and cannot be CHS. 8GB works out to  be
              the  biggest  capacity  which  can be represented as CHS (63 sectors, 255 heads and
              1024 cylinders). 4GB is the capacity limit for windows 2000, so it makes sense that
              a  documentation  for  windows  2000  would specify this as the upper limit for any
              partition type.

See Also

       Mtools' texinfo doc

Viewing the texi doc

       This manpage  has  been  automatically  generated  from  mtools's  texinfo  documentation.
       However,  this  process  is  only  approximative, and some items, such as crossreferences,
       footnotes and indices are lost in this translation process.  Indeed, these items  have  no
       appropriate  representation in the manpage format.  Moreover, not all information has been
       translated into the manpage version.  Thus I strongly  advise  you  to  use  the  original
       texinfo doc.  See the end of this manpage for instructions how to view the texinfo doc.

       *      To generate a printable copy from the texinfo doc, run the following commands:

                     ./configure; make dvi; dvips mtools.dvi

       *      To generate a html copy,  run:

                     ./configure; make html

       A premade html can be found at `'

       *      To generate an info copy (browsable using emacs' info mode), run:

                     ./configure; make info

       The  texinfo  doc  looks most pretty when printed or as html.  Indeed, in the info version
       certain examples are difficult to read due to the quoting conventions used in info.