Preparing my A1200 SD HDD with WinUAE

I was going to install Workbench onto my Amiga 1200 SD Hardrive the traditional way i.e. from the original floppy disks but on testing, it appears that some of disks are no longer working 😦

I did think about using replacement .adf images to replace the faulty disks but this would have to wait for another day as I don’t have the necessary transfer kit just yet. My friend Mike has a Kyroflux so maybe i’ll see about that soon.

So, instead, I decided to prepare my SD Harddrive and install Workbench via emulation thanks to the almighty WinUAE. Besides, it looked like a fun little project to try despite the numerous hurdles i’d encountered along the way.

The principle for installing Workbench on to a harddrive (or SD/CF ) is practically the same as if installing any other type of operating system onto a fresh out of the box harddrive i.e you install the drive, once detected partition it, format the partitions and finally install the O/S.

The first problem I encountered once I had my basic emulated A1200 configured and loaded was when I tried to add the SD card as a harddrive (which was connected to my PC via a USB media card reader ). Try as I might, WinUAE just wouldn’t detect it. I’ve read that certain brands of SD cards may not work but I was using a Sandisk which I’d read has a higher success rate according to various Amiga forums.

In the end I tried the same setup but moved from my PC to my Netbook and used the built in SD card reader instead. This time it worked perfectly and WinUAE detected it as a drive.


After trial and error I found I needed to set the drive type as IDE zero and obviously check the read/write box.

Booting my emulated A1200 with the WB Install .adf image, I launched HDtools to prep my HDD and encountered another problem. By default, my SD card was detected as a generic SCSI drive with a total size of 168mb. Not great considering I was using a 2GB SD card! Playing around with the various buttons and options I found the correct option to ignore the default and to force an auto detection. This time my SD card was detected and the storage capacity was just under 2GB at 1.86GB – perfect.

On to disk partitioning setup and yet another hurdle. I created two partitions, one for Workbench/Programs (500mb – DHO) and the other for games/data (DH1) using the the remaining HD space. On saving the partition table the following error occured –

‘block zero write attempt but drive has one more mounted pc partitions. erase the drive or unmount pc partition first’

Basically what this means is that my host O/S (Windows) has the SD card mounted for use which must be cleared before the emulated Amiga can use it.

Back to square one and a command line in Windows to open DiskPart, selected my SD disk volume and ‘Clean’ the drive – this unmounted the SD from Windows allowing WinUAE to take ownership.

This time around, the error didn’t appear and upon rebooting my emulated A1200, both partition icons appeared on the WB desktop as expected. All that remains is to format them both and install Workbench as if on an actual Amiga. (Top tip, set the Floppy Drive emulation to 800% for a speedier Workbench install!).

WB installed on DHO, and DH1 now formatting…and at 1.5gb, time to put the kettle on!

Time to crack open my Amiga and testl my new SD Hardrive/Workbench install.

This is the SD adaptor and mini 1″ IDE cable I’ll be using. Adaptor via eBay and cable via AmigaKit

(I’ve also treated myself to the latest edition of Amiga Future magazine too which I must say, is flippin fantastic).


Temporary installed (will be using adhesive Velcro pads to keep it in place)


Power on….no smoke…no pop….woo flashy lights, that must be a good sign?


Yay, Workbench booted.


Time to install some fun stuff!


12 responses to “Preparing my A1200 SD HDD with WinUAE

  1. Thanks for this mate. I’m really struggling installing WB3.1 to my HD using ADAPCMCFL. But might take this approach and hopefully have better luck 🙂

  2. Thank you very much, hope all goes well with your own install, it certainly nice an quiet with a SD/CF card. Just need to patch the floppy disk click, forgot how loud it is 🙂

  3. This was a great read. 🙂 Good to see that you’ve got it up and running after much trial and error. I’m sure others out there will find this post helpful.

    I see that you’ve gotten hold an SD-adapter – good choice. Isn’t it nice with a completely silent system? 😀

  4. Yeah it’s great, especially as I can swap it between Amiga and PC with it mounted in WinUAE as a Harddrive.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to use the custom JT installers/patches you can use on original versions of floppy disk games to install them to Harddrive….but, despite these little set backs am having a blast.

  5. Fantastic stuff mate, hope all goes well and you’re up for an evening of classic Amiga gaming.

    Let us know how you get on?

    Kind regards


  6. Hi there.

    You have any experience with a IDE HDD? I have a 2GB Amiga formatted HDD with WB3.0 on it already. But i wanted to move WHDload and some games (.adf files) to the disk with winuae, but i seem to be having problems. 😦

  7. Hey Calthaza, I’m still pretty new to working on Amiga formatted drives with WinUAE so I might not be the best person to ask. I’m experimenting myself with cloning my 2gb SD card Amiga hdd onto another with SD card (or hard file).

    What kind of problems are you having? Does WinUAE see your IDE drive when mounted in you PC or are you having problems with file transfer?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s