My Amiga hard drive decides not to boot anymore.


Well, let’s start at the beginning.

A long time ago, in a gala…..A few months ago, a  colleague of mine was tipping out some of his home tech  and knowing that I was a sucker for older computers asked if I had any use for a very old Windows 95 laptop?. ‘Yes I do’, said I, thinking that it  would make a rather nice DOS based gaming laptop. It arrived, it looked great and even had USB and PCMCIA ports (woooo!) Both of these, used in conjunction with FreeDOS  would be very handy for transferring all those lovely retro DOS classics instead of breaking out the floppy disks – which is fun at times, but FTP is so less time consuming,

This was a few months ago and I’ve been having lots of fun setting it up and revisiting classics like Doom, Commander Keen and all manner of CGA/VGA pixelated goodness.  But what’s this got to do with an Amiga?

Well….to accompany the laptop there was two 3COM PCMCIA network interface cards and researching into them a  few weeks ago shows that this particular model is well supported with drivers on the Amiga therefore allowing the Amiga to connect to  internet. Wooooo, I thought, especially as my Amiga 1200 is now packing a nice Ram & 68030 upgrade.

My Amiga set up on the geek desk again.

IMG_4153 (Custom)


Back in December (see blog post – I mentioned that I was using a 4GB CF card as internal hard drive for my Amiga 1200. I’m still using this setup and all is still working as expected,

So with all things looking good, over on my PC, I downloaded all of the relevant software including, TCP/IP Stack, Amiga web browser and drivers for the PCMCIA card and placed them into a folder on my PC desktop.

When I want to transfer files from my PC to Amiga, I would use the Amiga emulator –  WinUAE and a method along the lines of –

Take the CF harddrive out of the Amiga.

Plug it into my CF Card reader attached to my PC.

Load WinUAE and mount the CF card as a Amiga Hard drive (set as boot drive)

Use WinUAE’s ‘add directory/archive’  feature to  mount the PC folder containing my downloaded files as a secondary Amiga Hard drive.

Start WinUAE which should boot Workbench from my CF card and also have the PC desktop folder available too. I can now transfer files from the PC folder to my CF card  either by drag/drop or Directory Opus.

Workbench and my PC folder (Amiga Files)

Workbench v3_000

I’ve done this many times in the past but, as you can probably tell, it’s all rather  time consuming – this is the reason why having my Amiga connected to my network would be incredibly convenient as I could simply FTP any downloaded files directly from my PC to the Amiga, or download them directly from the web  using a suitable Amiga web browser.

Sadly, this time around, things kinda nose dived.

So there I was, CF card mounted in WinUAE, desktop folder mounted in WinUAE and workbench booted.

I started to copy over the files and when it got to the last file (driver file), an error popped up saying something along the lines of a corrupt file please try again. I tried again but it wouldn’t copy.

I obtained a different copy of the file, got everything set up again and this  time around it copied over just fine.

I closed WinUAE and refitted the CF card into my Amiga and booted.

Instead of the familiar Workbench screen i got this 😦

Workbench v3_004

Doesn’t look too good does it!

I removed the CF card, mounted it back in  WinUAE and tried to boot it under emulation……sadly the same error.

The CF card reader I’ve used here is not the one I’d usually use when working on storage cards/WinUAE so maybe it was that that didn’t like my CF card….or maybe the CF card failed?

All was not lost though as I had a backup image of the CF Amiga Hard disk in HDF format.

So, grabbing the file from my NAS, I loaded it via WinUAE and the familiar Workbench desktop appeared including  all my stuff  as expected….phew! All I need to do now is restore the files back to my CF card.

My CF card has three partitions, one for Workbench and the other two for all the other software and files i have. I’d guessed that it was my Workbench partition (DH0) that was damaged, therefore using WinUAE and an image of the Workbench (install) disk #1 disk, I used HDtoolbox to delete, recreate the partition and format it.

Workbench v3_001

I then restarted WinUAE, with my backup HDF image mounted (set at primary boot device) and also mounted my CF card.

I’ve then used DOpus to copy the entire contents of  HDF Workbench partition to the Workbench partition on my CF card.


Once complete, I booted with the CF card and…………………………………drat!

Workbench v3_004

To verify  that my backup image was o.k, I performed the same restore procedure again but instead of copying it to my CF card, i created a new HDF drive and restored it to this instead.

Once completed, i booted with the new HDF image and this time  Workbench loaded o.k.

So…… from that quick test I can surmise that my  backup image appears to be  o.k, and it’s starting to look like i have issues with my CF card, partitions, sectors, blocks etc etc

What I haven’t tried is a complete wipe of the CF card and start again but that will have to wait until tomorrow as staring at a 4/16 colour Workbench screen all evening is tiring indeed!

If anyone has any advice or suggestions etc, I’d love to hear from you.


2 responses to “My Amiga hard drive decides not to boot anymore.

  1. Why such a complicated way of transfering files from PC to Amiga? As for me, I copy the files I want to transfer to my Amiga to a spare CF card mounted on my PC and then I use it with PCMCIA2CF adapter on my Amiga and it works just perfectly!

  2. I agree but without owning a PCMCIA2CF – and once I get my Amiga online I wouldn’t have a use for one.

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