A Tutorial For OS/2 Users
Based on the DFSee documentation by Jan van Wijk
by Tony Butka, Southern California OS2 Users Group
Why This Tutorial?
As many of you know, I've been using Partition Magic since Version 3.0 and
have found it to be the best partitioning tool for OS/2 or any other operating
system. Over time, however, the PowerQuest folks went with the market and
started limiting their OS/2 support. While we could still use the DOS binaries
from a boot disk, by Version 6 Partition Magic support for OS/2 had become
pretty limited, and by Version 7 they have dropped HPFS support (actually, if
you already have HPFS installed it will recognize the partition, but will no
longer allow you to create one). And all the latest OS/2 releases, from Warp
Server for eBusiness to the Convenience Pak to eComStation, use the new
kernels with IBM's own LVM disk management subsystem and its own method of
recognizing partitions or creating a journalled file system (JFS). Partition
Magic will not work with LVM or JFS, and Power Quest has no intention at the
current time of adding this support. So what do we do in the OS/2 community
for a decent disk partitioning tool?
DFSee is an FDISK-like display, analysis and recovery tool with powerful FIX
commands and UNDELETE for HPFS and NTFS. It is written by Jan van Wijk, who
originally wrote a stripped-down version of the program for his own day job
use with multiple operating systems. Well, Jan was kind enough to do a
demonstration at a SCOUG meeting last summer, and we really encouraged him to
update and extend the program for commercial use. Evidently we were not the
only ones who encouraged him, since DFSee is now shareware and has undergone
at least three revisions in short order! Details and latest versions can
always be found at:
While at SCOUG we've encouraged our members to use DFSee. But, a number of folks
have been a little concerned about how powerful the program is, and with the
limited documentation they are afraid of trashing their systems - fancy that!
As a result they have not actually used DFSee yet. That is a shame, and my
fear is that when combined with the new disk partitioning/handling tools for
OS/2 like LVM and JFS, a "few more" OS/2 users will get frustrated and
give up on a terrific operating system which is seriously stable, bug free,
and avoids most of the viruses and worms that inhabit today's Internet.
That concern is also the reason for this introductory tutorial (of course it
helps that Jan is a very nice guy), which we donate to the cause in hopes that
more people who have to use multiple operating systems will take advantage of
a very cool program.
Setting Up the Program for OS/2
DFSee comes as a zip file. To install the program, simply create a directory
wherever you want, and unzip the program files into that directory. That's it.
To create a workplace shell link, simply drag a program template icon to your
desktop, and refer it to the path and filename of the main DFSee program; for
OS/2 that's DFS.EXE. In the case of my system, that was c:\usr\prg\dfsee\dfs.exe.
Wherever you put the program, close the template dialog box, up pops
the icon and you're ready to go.
Creating that Emergency Boot Disk
OK, this is neat. Remember how Partition Magic had you create a special two
floppy disk set to boot DOS and run Partition Magic? Well, you can do the same
thing with DFSee except on one diskette. When you unzipped DFSee, four
executables were created. The one for OS/2 is DFS.EXE. There also are two for DOS
and one for Windows/NT in the directory. The ones we care about here are
the two DOS programs.
- So start off with a DOS boot disk. I've tested this with IBM's PC-DOS 7 and a
Windows 98 2nd Edition Boot Disk; it should work with almost any version of
DOS above 5.0. Anyhow, start with the boot disk in drive a:.
- Copy one of the DOS executables to the floppy. You can choose either:
The DFSMDOS.EXE program needs about 400 Kb free memory and is only 111 Kb in file size, while
the DFSDOS.EXE program needs about 600 Kb memory to run and is 201 Kb in
size. I mention all this because if your emergency DOS boot disk contains a
lot of device drivers and resident programs but lacks memory management like himem.sys and DOS=HIGH,
you may not have 600 Kb of free memory after you boot to run the program
(remember that DOS 640 Kb memory limit?). A very nice touch, this.
- DFSDOS.EXE - a windowed version of the program which looks and feels the same as the OS/2 version, or
- DFSMDOS.EXE - a leaner meaner command line only version.
Bingo, an emergency disk that will work with your OS/2 systems partitions
(including the Master Boot Record)!
Just fire up the DOS boot disk, type in either DFSDOS or DFSMDOS (which ever one you put on your boot disk) from the A:> prompt, and up comes the DFSee program.
Just as cool, if you have the memory, the DFSDOS program interface for DOS is
the same as it is for OS/2, so there's nothing to "relearn" to get the program
to work between OS/2, DOS, or Windows. And the command line version works
just the same, only without the scroll window.
As an aside (I can't help myself), this emergency disk can be handy for
machines that have NTFS partitions only, or NTFS and HPFS only. I have a
client who has an all SCSI NT system with all NTFS partitions, and when
something happened to his boot partition, he was out of luck. When Partition Magic
(I think it was version 6, but maybe 5) was booted from DOS, it would not
recognize his partition structure because it couldn't find any DOS/FAT
partitions on the hard disks. He was a very unhappy camper (it's called
reinstall), but if he'd had DFSee, we might have been able to save him.
Getting Used to the DFSee Interface
OK. Before we do anything that could possibly do anything to your computer,
we're going to fire up DFSee and check out the interface. So either double
click on the program icon that we've created, or go to the DFSee directory and
from a command line type dfs. Up comes the program, and you get a registration
message if you haven't already registered the program. Simply press the
spacebar, and a bunch of stuff scrolls by you.
When it is done loading, here's what you'll see:
- DFSee shows you an analysis of your hard disks in a window.
- Below the top window is a status line with a description of what line
you're on and how to scroll up and down.
- Below the status line is a green area with brackets (this is where your cursor will be blinking).
- And below that there's a blue help menu showing what the Function keys do.
I have been told that this is is the point where many new users choke, not
being able to figure out what to do next and how to get back and forth between
the command line (green bracketed area) and the top window that scrolls.
It's really simple; just press the <Tab> key!
That's it. You are now at the top part of the screen, and can scroll up and down using your keyboard's arrow keys.
Practice scrolling up and down, left and right, and going back and forth between the
command line and the buffer by using the <Tab> key.
Now let's get really bold. From the command line, press the <Cntrl> key and while holding it down, also press the Up arrow key. This allows you to stay in the command line while
scrolling up and down to view the contents of the buffer in the upper window.
Pretty cool, isn't it?
Actually, there are a number of ways to get around the screen. For example,
without having to use the <Ctrl> or <Tab> key, you can use <PgUp> and <PgDn>
to scroll a whole page up/down while staying in the command line.
Or, apart from the arrow keys, you can use <Ctrl>+<Home> and <Ctrl>+<End> to
go the start / end of all the text in the scroll-area. And if you aren't sure
what to do, there is also good help on this if you just hit <F1> - I should
note that help improved significantly in version 4.04 and later.
Finally, press <F3> to exit the program. That's it for the basics that have
thrown a lot of people.
Back Up, Back Up, Back Up
Just as with Partition Magic, fdisk, and other partitioning programs that do
low level stuff to your computer, with DFSee you can inadvertently make
changes to your system which will render it inoperable.
So, before you play around and make changes, we want to make a backup of all
the important partition sectors to a file. To do this:
- We start the program by double clicking on the DFSee icon that we created a little bit
ago. Again, up comes the program, press the spacebar, and the program runs, with you at
the command line (the green line with enclosed brackets). Actually, this
command line window will look very familiar to users of stuff like Emacs and
VI. (Of course users of Emacs and VI probably won't need a tutorial)
Anyhow, your blinking cursor should be right above the F Key command help
Now you want to insert a floppy disk (that boot disk with DFSDOS would be
nice), and then type the command
psave * a:\dfspsave Comment
where Comment is anything you want. This is handy because the comment will be
saved in the *.PDn file, so you can identify different versions of disk info.
Press enter. This will save the partition information for each physical drive
on your system as a separate file - for example, dfspsave.pd1, dfspsave.pd2,
etc. This information can be restored at any time using the PRESTORE command,
this will either restore all sectors, or just selected ones. Take a look at
the DFSFDISK.TXT help file that comes with the program.
If you are a command line junkie you can open an OS/2 window, go to the
directory where DFSee lives, and type in the command:
DFS fdisk psave * a:\dfspsave tutorial
It all does the same thing, but I wanted folks to get
familiar with what the windowed program interface looks like.
Now we are going to create a couple of log files for that "just in case" problem
where you may need help if something goes wrong. These files can be kept on
the hard disk, so you can remove your emergency floppy. To create the log file:
This will append logging to the file filename.log. If you want to include
basic information as well, use the command log part filename. Choose whatever
filename you want: I use Tony.log.
- Simply type (at the green command line window) 'log filename'
- And then press enter.
We're almost done. The last preliminary step is to collect information to
perform a manual un-fdisk (find all boot sectors) if needed. You can either
accomplish this task from the green command line or run an OS/2 CMD file. To
use the command line, you will type in the following:
plist lvm 1 related
To generate the file automatically instead of typing in each command (which is
the method strongly recommended by the author) simply run DFSUNFD.CMD (OS/2 version)
or DFSUNFD.BAT (DOS version) from a command line. This collects info
for every physical disk and generates a 'dfsundfdx.log' file for each one. If
you're not sure exactly how this works, type DFSUNFD ? from the command line
for a help pop-up.
Note: According to the programs author, Jan van Wijk, when the geometry of the
disk might have changed, after a BIOS LBA change, SCSI adapter change, etc, you
should run the command DFSUNFD ALL.
That basically covers the stuff you should do before getting serious with
DFSee. At this point you can close the program (F3), and backup your system
before going crazy with all the neat things you can do using DFSee.
Racers, Start Your Engines...
Just to give you a taste of the awesome power of DFSee (and just in case you
were already in trouble when you downloaded the program), here are a few
examples. For lots more, see the dfshowto.txt file included with the program.
These commands should be run from the DFSee command line after you have started
- Recover a 'lost' JFS partition where the boot-sector is damaged and
the partition is not recognized by OS/2 anymore (assuming 2nd partition):
- Recover a 'lost' HPFS partition where the boot-sector is damaged and
the partition is not recognized by OS/2 anymore (assuming 1st partition):
- Recover a 'lost' or damaged HPFS spareblock (sector 11) when the
partition is not recognized by OS/2 anymore (assuming 1st partition):
Note: with a damaged spareblock you can get various error messages from
OS/2 about codepages or other things. However when starting DFSee
and selecting the partition it will tell you the spareblock is damaged.
- Undelete a file on HPFS or NTFS; Find the files using:
part 01 ;select the right partition
delfind ;find ALL deleted files
export undel01 ;save found fnode info to a file
delshow ;optionaly list them (ALL !)
delshow *test*%100 ;or just a selection, here only 100%
;recoverable with 'test' in the name
Use "delsave" command to copy the deleted files to a directory, see (5)
- Recover a selection of the found "undeletable" files (NTFS or HPFS)
First find the possibly deleted files using DELFIND, see (4)
part 01 ;select the right partition
import undel01 ;restore found info from file
delshow *inst* ;list files with 'inst' in the name
delsave X:\undel *inst* ;recover same ones to X:\undel\ dir
Notes: - It's best to use a different drive to avoid overwriting
- You can also undelete a single file using the 'saveto' command
and specifying the file's sequence-number: .NNN shown at the left
- Update the HPFS bad-sector list with the results of a DFS-scan
Find all sectors that are unreadable:
part 01 ;select the right partition
scan ;find unreadable sectors
export b badguys ;save in an ASCII file badguys.lsn
Now replace the internal bad-sector list with the new modified one:
part 01 ;select the right partition
import b badguys ;get the bad-sector list from file
fixbs ;and insert in HPFS badsector list
Notes: - You can do this in one step too, no need to export/import
- Resolve original name of FILExxxx.CHK files (created by CHKDSK)
When CHKDSK recovers files it will place them in a FOUND.xxx directory in
the root-directory. This directory contains one or more recovered files
with names like FILE0001.CHK
The original name of the file is still in the Fnode, and it can be shown
using the following dhpfs commands (assuming partition 03) :
part 03 ;Select partition 'id' (must be HPFS)
\found.000\file0001.chk ;Search and display Fnode for .CHK
Now 15 characters of the original name are shown as "Fnode Name String"
- Show freespace area's (HPFS)
- Make a clean master boot record, getting rid of all old partitions
newmbr 1 clean ;Create fresh MBR on disk 1 with
;clean, empty partition table
Enough from me. These examples are taken from the file dfshowto.txt, which you
should seriously read. Practice with a few of the commands to get comfortable
with the program, which for us OS/2 users is everything that Partition Magic
started out to be and then abandoned just to make a living.
Remember, right now DFSee is a wonderful tool, but it does not have all the
goodies that PowerQuest's Partition Magic has. Most important for OS/2 users
is the ability to format, resize and move partitions (although I have always
been a little suspicious of any programs ability to move partitions and pick
up every single file dependency). What it does do, it does well, and if you
have problems with your OS/2 drive subsystem, DFSee can literally save your
partition and your sanity.
register the product.
I did. It's only about $18 US and that's how we provide Jan the money for the time
to keep working on the program and add some other neat goodies we all want.
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
Copyright 2001 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS
SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group.
OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International
Business Machines Corporation.
All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.