4 GB CompactFlash card-image for Amiga

This tutorial is showing you how to create a fully partioned Amiga CF-card in about 10 minutes from scratch. The process will involve using a Windows-based disk image tool and writing a prepared image-file directly to the CF-card. The resulting card contains four empty Amiga partitions that have been set to the correct MaxTransfer of 0x1fe00 and formatted with PFS3 AIO. The resulting card is known to work in WinUAE and on real Amigas.

Introduction:

So when you are digging out the miggy, like I did during the past festive season, you might feel the desire to put in a CompactFlash (CF) as a hard-drive, at least if you have an internal IDE-connector that is. CF to IDE adapters come cheap and in different sizes, and so do the cards. There are many guides available on how to set it all up correctly, applying different tricks of the trade here and there. The only problem is that it all might get a bit fiddly, which is why I wrote this post.

I have spent several evening checking cards of different sizes and in different configurations of file-systems and partition sizes. To make life a little easier, I documented the process and took an image of the resulting setup that worked best for me using a Windows-based freeware tool.

I am sharing the image-file in this post under the intent that it might be useful, but without warranty of any kind. Following my instructions should not be complicated, but basically use your brain and do everything at your own risk.

Prerequisites:

  • A Windows machine with an attached or built-in CF-reader
  • 4 GB CF-Card (ideally SanDisk which is what I used)
  • HDD Raw Copy Tool from HDDGuru
  • The prepared image-file

How to create an Amiga-compatible 4 GB CF-card (the card’s original content will be overwritten, naturally):

  • Insert your 4 GB CF-card into the PC
  • Start HDD Raw Copy Tool
  • Follow the instructions laid out in the gallery below (basically: select SOURCE from unzipped image-file, select TARGET to your CF-card, hit START, wait ~10 minutes)
  • Also in the gallery: how to mount the newly prepared CF-card in WinUAE

Final notes:

  1. The described process works flawlessly for me on a current Win7 64 Bit machine. Actually, I just redid it before writing this tutorial to make sure the given information is as correct as possible.
  2. The resulting CF-card works under emulation in WinUAE with 68000 or higher CPUs, as well as on my real A1200.
    1. All drives are formatted with PFS3 AIO, which should work on any Amiga.
    2. MaxTransfer 0x1fe00 has been set on all partitions.
  3. The card is partioned into four drives:
    1. OS1 (~250 MB, put your main OS here)
    2. OS2 (~250 MB, put your alternative or recovery OS here, switch from boot-menu when needed)
    3. Work (~500 MB, put your programs here)
    4. Big (~3000 MB, put your data and games here)
  4. I found SanDisk 4 GB cards to be painless and they are what I have used (tested with “SanDisk Ultra” and “SanDisk Extreme III”, image and process works on both).
    1. Cards might have a few sectors more or less, which was not a problem when I tried it, but your mileage might vary.
    2. You don’t have to buy the faster cards, as the Amiga’s IDE-controller is the bottleneck anyway

The setup of the card is partially based on the excellent German tutorial by Kai Scherrer. His description of how to use the Windows-based diskpart was especially helpful to me.

For me, setting up a CF-card for Amiga-use is now quick and easy and I hope you can agree. Enjoy!

 

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