Provided by: mtools_4.0.23-1_amd64 bug


       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
       possible 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  `SYSCONFDIRmtools.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

       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.
       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 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:

       *      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
       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 file system allows you 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 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 allows storage of 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


       See  the  manual  pages  included  in  that package for further detail: Use superformat to
       format 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
       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

       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 headers, for the same amount of
       useful data.

       This method permits storage of 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 you 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, 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 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
       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 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
       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  configuration  file
       variable, `global variables') to bypass the fat checking.

See also

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