From the README:
1. General ---------- This program is used to create Microsoft compatible boot records. It is able to do the same as Microsoft "fdisk /mbr" to a hard disk. It is also able to do the same as Microsoft "sys d:" to a floppy or FAT partition except that it does not copy any system files, only the boot record is written. Specifications of boot records is taken from http://www.geocities.com/thestarman3/asm/mbr/MBR_in_detail.htm The program is useful when using Linux to restore a backup of a reference Microsoft Windows installation. 2. Installation --------------- Step 1, unpack the archive: tar -xzvf ms-sys*.tgz Step 2, compile: cd ms-sys make Step 3, become root and install su (and give password) make install 3. Examples ----------- Please note that Windows ME is not useful for making standalone bootable floppies. However, Win9x and DOS works fine with example 1 and example 3. Example 1, creating a 1.68 MB bootable floppy: This example assumes that you have your windows installation mounted at /dosc and also have mtools and fdformat installed. fdformat /dev/fd0u1680 mformat a: ms-sys -w /dev/fd0 mcopy /dosc/io.sys a: mcopy /dosc/msdos.sys a: mcopy /dosc/command.com a: Example 2, restoring a backup to a fresh hard disk: Step 1, use GNU parted to create your FAT32 partition and file system: parted (then create partition and file system) Step 2, write the MBR: ms-sys -w /dev/hda Step 3, write the FAT32 partition boot record: ms-sys -w /dev/hda1 Step 3b, write partition info and drive id to partition: ms-sys -p /dev/hda1 This step might be needed depending on which program was used to format the partition. If the program was formatted with gnu parted this step could be skipped. It is also possible to combine this flag with the previous step like this: ms-sys -wp /dev/hda1 Step 4, mount your new filesystem: mount /dev/hda1 /mnt Step 5, read your backup cd /mnt; tar -xzvf /path/to/my_windows_backup_file.tgz Example 3, creating a bootable 2.8 MB floppy image for use with an el-torito bootable CD: dd if=/dev/zero of=floppy288.img bs=1024 count=2880 /sbin/mkdosfs floppy288.img ms-sys -1 -f floppy288.img su mount -o loop floppy288.img /mnt cp msdos.sys /mnt/ cp io.sys /mnt/ cp command.com /mnt/ (it might also be a good idea to add a config.sys and autoexec.bat with CDROM support) umount /mnt exit cp floppy288.img cd-files/eltorito.img mkisofs -b eltorito.img -c eltorito.cat -o cdimage.iso cd-files (burn the file cdimage.iso to a CD with cdrecord or another program) 4. Documentation ---------------- There is a man-page for ms-sys, and you will get some help by typing: ms-sys --help 5. Known problems ----------------- There have been reports about unbootable FAT32 partitions created with "mformat -F c:". One workaround is to use gnu parted to create the partition instead. Since version 1.1.3 ms-sys has the switch -p which is supposed to fix this problem. The problem has also been reported on partitions formatted with mkdosfs and mkfs.vfat. There have been yet another problem reported about the -p switch and gnu parted together with Linux kernel 2.6. The problem is that kernel 2.6 might report a geometry incompatible with other operating systems. There is a detailed description of the problem at http://groups-beta.google.com/group/linux.kernel/msg/404d8683ce302cf2 As a workaround for this ms-sys now has the switch -H to manually set the number of heads. The next problem is to find out what value for number of heads to give. If the system was booted by LILO this can be shown by "lilo -T geom". There have been reports about problems when compiling against uClibc. More problem reports or suggestions of fixes are welcome! Writing Windows 7 NTFS boot records with ms-sys is probably not useful if the intention is to get a bootable partition.
Q1: I followed all instructions but my system doesn't boot!? A1: This is most likely because you are running ms-sys in a Linux environment with a 2.6 kernel. The problem is that kernel 2.6 might report a geometry incompatible with other operating systems. This makes gnu parted write incompatible geometry information when formatting the partition. Ms-sys has the switch -p which is supposed to fix the geometry information when the formatting program has failed writing this correctly, but also ms-sys will write the wrong information for the same reason. This is a known problem described in the README which also contains a link to a detailed description and a possible workaround for the problem.
Usage: ms-sys [options] [device] Options: -1, --fat12 Write a FAT12 floppy boot record to device -2, --fat32nt Write a FAT32 partition NT boot record to device -3, --fat32 Write a FAT32 partition DOS boot record to device -4, --fat32free Write a FAT32 partition FreeDOS boot record to device -5, --fat16free Write a FAT16 partition FreeDOS boot record to device -6, --fat16 Write a FAT16 partition DOS boot record to device -n, --ntfs Write a NTFS partition Windows 7 boot record to device -l, --wipelabel Reset partition disk label in boot record -p, --partition Write partition info (hidden sectors, heads and drive id) to boot record -H, --heads
From the CHANGELOG:
Date Version Comment --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 24/5 2014 2.4.0 Added support for syslinux GPT MBR. Updated syslinux mbr to version 6.02. 1/4 2012 2.3.0 Added experimental support for NTFS boot record. This functionality is mostly useful to identify Windows 7 NTFS boot records. Writing an NTFS Windows 7 boot record will most likely not be of much use. 22/1 2011 2.2.1 Modified Makefile to recreate directories lost by CVS Now also doing a sanity check before only writing BPB 13/5 2010 2.2.0 Added support for large disk image files. This version is now considered stable as the BPB problem has had a workaround since version 2.1.5. 14/3 2010 2.1.5 Added support for manually setting the number of heads in BPB 3/10 2009 2.1.4 Win 7 and Vista MBR added Added copyright notice to source files 30/12 2007 2.1.3 Makefile now supports DESTDIR 20/11 2005 2.1.2 Corrected spelling of Gürkan Sengün in man-page and CONTRIBUTORS file. Added a FAQ. Renamed sv_SE.po to sv.po to fix bug described at http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=336813 FreeDOS FAT16 and FAT32 boot records added. 3/8 2005 2.1.1 Now the -p switch also writes the number of heads in BPB. Modified Makefile to work with newer version of gcc. Unfortunately it no longer works with older versions of gcc as the output from the switch -MM has changed. 26/6 2005 2.1.0 Now ms-sys is able to identify an ms-dos MBR with the undocumented F2 instruction. Fixed bug in Makefile which make Makefile fail to install files unless target directories already exists. 5/6 2004 2.0.0 Now ms-sys should compile cleanly also with a 2.6 Linux kernel based distribution. 21/3 2004 1.1.3 Added switch -p to write needed partition information which might be missing when some format programs are used. The program now supports command line switch concatenation, i e "ms-sys -f2 file" instead of "ms-sys -f -2 file". 16/2 2004 1.1.2 Unofficial contributed version with support for new MBRs and better MBR recognition. Instead of completing the work to make this an official release I choose to merge it into my ongoing work. 4/1 2004 1.1.1 Now compiles even if libintl.h is missing Replaced the -k switch with -l (--wipelabel) with the inverted functionality. This functionality was also implemented for FAT12 and FAT16. 20/9 2003 1.1.0 DOS FAT16 boot record added NT FAT32 boot record added 23/2 2003 1.0.2 Documentation update, man-page added 9/8 2002 1.0.1 Fixed problem compiling sv_SE.po with newer versions of msgfmt 4/8 2002 1.0 First public release. Documentation updated with SourceForge addresses for web and email contact. 30/7 2002 0.9 First stable release
From the TODO:
This might be done for future releases: 1. Add boot records for other file systems and OSes, NT FAT16? IBM PC-DOS? To do this I will need documentation and someone willing to test the new features. 2. Add more translations, contributions are welcome!
Current stable version is 2.4.0, it is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.4.0.tar.gz is 6742dd1a058b1ce32cb991853d9d6bec
Version is 2.3.0, is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.3.0.tar.gz is 46d186707c7767db664afe681f8eaad6
Version is 2.2.1, is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.2.1.tar.gz is 659fb46f1b014abe64ae7d635c5bc1f8
Version 2.2.0 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.2.0.tar.gz is aed171c3b354e7c755e1b9fd9bd8c384
Version 2.1.5 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.5.tar.gz is 2acdaea25accc821bd033083d0befdcc
Version 2.1.4 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.4.tar.gz is 2bea17d08d02494fe36fd574d0731d93
Version 2.1.3 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.3.tgz is 6fad0a69ac89440ad4f696dbbbf11497
Version 2.1.2 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.2.tgz is 1a4195b7ed949d1da225615ab5e125cc.
Version 2.1.1 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.1.tgz is 99f822a9a281466411a082b0d706650e.
Version 2.1.0 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.1.0.tgz is aafbb0b56fdd0d31e660d644856c1690.
Version is 2.0.0, is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-2.0.0.tgz is 1600f93cca31a610737d98f5e8510917.
Version 1.1.3 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.1.3.tgz is 85ea2c3c1053dc65db614de22cd280b1.
Version 1.1.1 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.1.1.tgz is b25279d7dec4d9bd2b2049697833d18e.
Version 1.1.0 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.1.0.tgz is 2fe1e98fc8975c7e3c125eca8e9a78b9.
Version 1.0.2 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.0.2.tgz is d98d06a85f3c4821fdda8f62cae4559d.
Version 1.0.1 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.0.1.tgz is 760ef05f49eba5c13aa4f392188def03.
Version 1.0 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-1.0.tgz is 81223ed3c366d2b7e5b6e21d9d2d769a.
Version is 0.9 is available from SourceForge download. The md5sum of ms-sys-0.9.tgz is 64d02dfa946744bb30b25de935358c91.
|Boot Records Revealed!||Mirror of lost good reference page|
|Boot Records Revealed!||Another US mirror of the lost site above|
|Boot Records Revealed!||Russian mirror of the site above|
|GNU Parted||Useful for creating partitions and file systems.|
|regutils||Useful for manipulating the windows registry files.|
|cabextract||Useful for extracting windows .cab-packages|
|ms-sys-free||A close following fork of ms-sys which only supports boot records of free operating systems.|
|BG-Rescue Linux||A rescue disk containing ms-sys among other tools|
|PLD RescueCD||A rescue CD containing ms-sys among other tools|
|Trinity Rescue Kit||A rescue CD containing ms-sys among other tools, good antivirus CD.|
|SourceForge||ms-sys SourceForge page|
During April 2011 many spam posts were made to the bugtracker. Since then it is no longer possible to make anonymous posts. An account at SourceForge is now required to post a bug report, feature request, patch or support request. It is possible to get a SourceForge account without having any own project hosted at SourceForge. Even though SourceForge kindly provides accounts and other services for free I realize that having to create an account to post a bug report or patch will be considered an obstacle by many and I apologize for any inconvenience.