This client works in command-line mode. User is asked to write a command and the result is printed out. The status of operation is signalized during the operation by a progress bar.
Surprise is compiled using readline library by default, so a comfortable input line is offered (with line editing capabilities, command history,...).
When started, Surprise searches for available devices and reads all partition tables and filesystem headers. The user can browse the filesystems and operate on them. Then he could verify the final state. Is the state is correct, he could commit the changes. This would take usually a long time, but the progress bar will print out the current state.
Surprise prints all the important information to the normal output and
all the debug messages to the error output. If you don't want to see
them, just redirect the error output (eg.
will see all the error messages, because they are printed to normal
You need not to use long names of filesystems and their discrete parameters; if you type substring of such a long name, the long name will be completed. If there are more possible completions, the first one will be chosen.
This command quits the client immidiately, ignoring all the changes set. It doesn't ask user for the confirmation.
It prints the version of Surprise library.
It prints a very simple help -- the list of all commands with their syntaxes and one line description.
It restarts Partition Surprise. All changes will be forgotten, the devices are scanned again and all the tables are filled. You can specify some additional devices or files (e.g. you have a copy of a disk in a file) to probe by the library.
It adds a specified file to the list of devices to probe when start invoked.
It prints out the list of devices to probe when start invoked.
It removes a specifed file from the list of devices to probe when start invoked.
It compares the old configuration with the new one and checks for usuall errors:
If an error is found, Partition Surprise can not commit the changes and the user must take care about the error.
This commands checks the current state, if verify was not called. If everything is all right, the changes are commited to the disk.
Some operations are done very fast:
All another operations take a very long time, because a new exported filesystem is created and files from imported filesystem are copied:
Some operations can be safely interrupted. The user can press Ctrl+C any time and Surprise will decide: if the interruption of the conversion leaves the data in correct state, the operation is cancelled. If it doesn't, the operation continues. If the user really wants to interrupt it, he MUST kill -9 the process in this case and he will be responsible for the lost of the data. The operations that could be cancelled are:
After everything is done, Partition Surprise is restarted.
Most commands work on a partition. The user can use 2 conventions to
specify a disk/partition. He can write a complete path to a device (eg.
/dev/hdc, /dev/hda3) or skip the path prefix and just specify a
device name (eg.
The first variant (typing
info) just writes a list of disks found
in the computer.
> info Found 2 device(s): /dev/hda /dev/hdc
info hda the user is informed about disk model, capacity,
geometry, partition alignment and list of founded partitions.
> info hda Device: /dev/hda Model: WDC AC310100B Size: 19807200 sectors (10141286400 bytes) 9903600 kB Heads/sectors/cylinders: 16/63/19650 Sectors reserved: 63 Partitions start/end aligned to 63/1008 sectors 4 partition(s): /dev/hda1 /dev/hda2 /dev/hda5 /dev/hda6
info hda5 the user gets information about original
partition placement (in sectors, kilobytes and disk geometry), partition
type (read in partition table), detected filesystem and imported
filesystem parameter values (see
> info hda6 Partition: /dev/hda6 First sector: 5134815 Distance from beginning: 2567407 kB Length: 14672385 sectors 7336193 kB Partition entry: First sector: 63 Length (in sectors): 14672385 First head/sector/cylinder: 0F/FF/FF Last head/sector/cylinder: 0F/FF/FF Partition type: 83 Partition boot flag: 00 Detected filesystem: Linux ext2 block_size: 1024 inodes_count: 1827840 bytes_per_inode: 4109 blocks_per_group: 8192 reserved_percent: 3 max_mount_count: 20 check_interval: 15552000 error_handling: continue volume_name: LINUX codepage : ISO-8859-1 force_block_size : no force_inodes : none Data size: 5855171 kB ( 11710341 512-byte blocks)
This command goes through the given disk and prints all the free blocks on it (read from partition table). It works on original state of partitions (it ignores whether they have already been moved or resized). It doesn't take reserved blocks into account (the 62/63 free blocks in the following example can not be used in any way, because the partitions must be aligned).
> free hda Device: /dev/hda Size: 19807200 sectors (10141286400 bytes) Sectors reserved: 63 Partitions start/end aligned to 63/1008 sectors Free space on device: Start End Length 1 62 62 105840 105902 63 4612608 4612670 63 5134752 5134814 63
This command reads the original and new state and compares them. The user is informed about current/planned partition placement. Without parameters, the command just informs about partition counts:
> state 2 device(s) in system Original state Planned state /dev/hda 4 partition(s) /dev/hda 4 partition(s) /dev/hdc 3 partition(s) /dev/hdc 3 partition(s)
If given a disk parameter, it prints two partition tables. The positions are counted in 512b long blocks by default. If an optional -kB parameter is specified, they are counted in kilobytes.
> state hda Device /dev/hda 63 block(s) reserved at beginning, partition start/end aligned to multiples of 63/1008 Original state: Partition Start Length Filesystem /dev/hda1 105903 4506705 fat /dev/hda2 63 105777 Linux ext2 /dev/hda5 4612671 522081 Linux swap /dev/hda6 5134815 14672385 Linux ext2 Planned state: Partition Start Length Filesystem /dev/hda1 105903 4506705 fat /dev/hda5 4612671 522081 Linux swap /dev/hda6 5134815 12582801 Linux ext2 /dev/hda7 6500025 1023687 fat
If given a partition parameter, it informs the user about planned partition placement and exported filesystem parameter values (the output is simillar to the info command output, but the geometry is not printed out).
When the user wants to explore the parameter value, he can specify the parameter in two ways:
It explores global Partition Surprise parameters:
lilo.confpaths are modified after all conversions are performed. If full support is choosed, the LILO internal data structures (containing kernel file placement) are automatically modified, so additional calling lilo is not needed.
gparam is called without options, the current parameters state
is printed out. If you specify a parameter ID and the new value, the
value will be stored into the parameter:
> gparam On-line conversion : no Lilo support : none Empty device space : no filling Bad block testing : none > gparam  simple ... Lilo support : simple Value of parameter "Lilo support" successfully changed
It can explore imported filesystem parameters. Most of them can be viewed only (those that have no number attached to it), because they are fully detected (eg. block_size, volume_name, etc...), but some broken filesystem parameters can not be detected well in all cases (eg. fat_bits in FAT), some of them are used to fill the missing information (eg. uid, gid, mask in FAT) and some of them are not defined (eg. codepage containing the codepage of file name in FAT/ext2).
The syntax is almost the same as of gparam command:
> detected hda1 Partition: /dev/hda1 Detected filesystem: fat cluster_size: 4096 fat_bits : 32 fats: 2 rootdir_entries: 512 codepage : IBM437 uid : 0 gid : 0 mask : 420 system_id: MSWIN4.1 volume_name: WINDOWS fat_name: FAT32 long_name_type : vfat force_fat_bits : no save_bootsector : yes > detected hda1  17 Partition: /dev/hda1 Detected filesystem: fat ... Number parameter  can have only one of the following value: 12 16 32 > detected hda1  16 Partition: /dev/hda1 Detected filesystem: fat ... fat_bits : 16 Value of parameter "fat_bits" successfully changed
It is used to explore exported partition/filesystem parameters. The parameters that have a number attached to it, can be modified manually, the others are computed automatically and can be only viewed (after verify command was called).
The filesystem parameters are explained in section Parameters of filesystems, the partition parameters are these:
The syntax is the same as of command detected.
Some commands support options. They are specified with leading minus, eg. -roundup, after the command name before all other parameters given to command.
This command creates a new partition. If a filesystem type is specified, a mkfs command is called after. The parameters of the command have the following meaning:
hda3). The partition of the same name must NOT exist yet, but if the -renumber option was specified, the original partition is automatically renumbered.
[kMG]). It will be rounded down (or up, if -roundup option is specified) to cylinder boundary.
The primary partitions (in MSDOS partition scheme) are numbered from 1 to 4. The extended partition is hidden by Partition Surprise, and the logical volumes in the only extended partition are numbered up from 5. Partition Surprise takes care on it.
Primary partitions may be placed anywhere, but they must not overlap. The logical volumes must be placed continually in the extended partition. The size of the extended partition is handled automatically by Surprise, but the user must take care of placing the following logical volumes continually. A sector is reserved by Surprise for every logical volume and the partitions should be bounded, so the user shall reserve about 63 sectors (a track) for a hole between logical volumes, else a he will be warned about it.
This command deletes a partitions. The space will be maked available for another partitions. If Empty device space global parameter is set, the space will be securely deleted. If -renumber option is specified, the other partitions are intelligently renumbered (eg. logical volumes). More than 1 partition can be deleted one time.
A new filesystem will be maked on the partition. The (optional) original filesystem will be destroyed -- if you wish to leave the data, use the convert command. After this command is called, the user can replace the exported filesystem parameters by the param command.
The original filesystem will be in-place converted into target filesystem. The current data will stay in correct state. After this command is called, the user can replace the exported filesystem parameters by the param command. The imported filesystem parameters are accessible by the detected command.
The partition will be moved to another starting offset in the same physical disk. The original and planned places may overlap, Partition Surprise takes care about it. The -override, -noalign options have the same meaning as in the new command. If the user wants to move the partition to another disk, he must copy the partition at first and delete the original one.
The number of the partition will be changed to the specified one,
renumber hda2 3 is going to change the name of the partition
hda3; the location, the size, the data and
the filesystem of the partition is preserved. The partition
with the new number must not previously exist.
The partition will be resized to given length. If it contains a filesystem, it will be in-place resized too (without data loss). The -roundup, -override, -noalign commands have the same meaning as in the new command.
The data from the first partition will be copied into destination partition. FIXME: the neccessary filesystem conversion is perfmormed.