Alternatives to the AmigaOS 3.9 CD

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This tutorial explains some alternative methods of making it possible to install AmigaOS 3.9 on a real Amiga by using the Emergency Disk II boot floppy, and it's mainly intended for those who doesn't have a CD-ROM drive connected to their Amiga. The tutorial is really not completely finished yet, among other things, it will in the future include some instructions on how to make a customized AmigaOS 3.9 ISO image.

Let's start off by debunking a couple of myths that seems to be floating around:

Myth 1:  The AmigaOS 3.9 CD contains copy protection.
This is not true, and I belive there are two reasons why some people seem to think so. The first one is the fact that although it's possible to browse the CD on a Windows PC, there will be problems when trying to copy all files from it. But what causes this isn't copy protection, no it's quite simply because Windows doesn't 100% support the file system used on the CD (there are problems with international characters in the file names for example).
The second reason has to do with the Boing Bag updates. Upon installing them, the installer will ask the user to insert the AmigaOS 3.9 CD, and then it will try to verify if it's a genuine CD by simply checking for the presence of certain files on it. One example of the files that will be checked, is the AmigaOS3.9:Videos/Angels.avi file, and if it's missing, the installer will complain.

Myth 2:  You need the AmigaOS 3.9 CD for installing AmigaOS 3.9.
This is not entirely true, because what you need is the contents of the CD, and a way for the Emergency Disk and the various installers to find this content. This basically means that the AmigaOS 3.9 files can be on any storage device. Below you will find various solutions as to how this can be arranged, so continue reading on.

Accessing the AmigaOS 3.9 CD via WinUAE
As mentioned above, there are certain problems with trying to copy files from the AmigaOS 3.9 CD on a Windows PC, but it is possible to achive this by using an emulated Amiga. The instructions below describes how this can be done with WinUAE, but have in mind that I'm using version 2.3.1 of the program here, I don't know if it will work with earlier versions.

First of all you need to insert the AmigaOS 3.9 CD into the CD/DVD drive of your PC. If you have plans of copying the contents of the CD over to a empty USB pendrive or Compact Flash card (to be used with a CF-PCMCIA adapter), you should insert this as well,  just have in mind that it must have a capacity of at least 512MB. Take a note of the volume name of the USB drive/CF card since it will make it easier to identify later on, and if it doesn't have a name, I recommend that you give it one before you continue.


Now you can start WinUAE. I will not explain how to set up an emulated Amiga here, instead I will assume that you already have done this in the past. What you basically need is a bootable HDF image, but a Workbench ADF image file might work as well (like I did in the example below).
Before you click the Start button in WinUAE, you should first click "Hard drives" in the box to the left. Next, make sure that the "Add PC drives at startup", "Include removable drives.." and "Include CD/DVD drives.." options are enabled. Continue with clicking the Start button.

Please note the following:
1. In case you are a little worried about giving the emulated Amiga access to all drives on your PC, have in mind that enabling the "Add PC drives at startup" option may really not be necessary. As an alternative you can add a directory present on your PC instead.
2..Since Emergency Disk II floppies created with Amiga911 Maker 1.62 now supports booting from AmigaOS3.9 HDF images in addition to ISO, you may consider creating a hardfile and adding it to the emulated Amiga if you intend to later use E-Disk-II for installing OS3.9 on your real Amiga. Just make a new HDF file that's at least 512 MB big, so that all AmigaOS 3.9 files can be copied to it.


After the emulated Amiga has booted, you should be able to see the AmigaOS3.9 icon on the Workbench screen. Since WinUAE will treat the CD in the same way as if it was mounted on a real Amiga, you should now be able to copy the files from it without any errors. The easiest way to do this is probably by using a filemanager of some sort (like DOpus), but it can also of course be done in a Shell window. Just remember that ALL files must be copied, this includes both the audio and video files.

Below are some examples of what you can do next:

1. Copy the AmigaOS 3.9 files to a USB pendrive or CF card
First you must try to locate your pendrive or CF card,  if you did what I mentioned earlier about taking a note of the volume name, this shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise you can try to locate the correct device by checking the capacity or contents of all the mounted drives on your emulated Amiga. When you have figured this out, you can either use a filemanager for copying all the files, or you can do it in Shell.  In my case, the pendrive was called CORSAIR, so I entered the following in Shell:

Copy AmigaOS3.9: to CORSAIR: ALL

But here you must of course replace CORSAIR with the volume (or device) name of your own pendrive/CF card. After the copying is done, you can make an additional EXTRAS drawer for the Boing Bag updates, an A911Extras drawer pack and various other stuff that can be useful to have. This is best done from Workbench in order to give the drawer an icon ( 
Now there is one final thing to do, and that is to rename the pendrive/CF card. This has to be done from Windows, so quit WinUAE.  It would really have been best to rename the pendrive/CF card to AmigaOS3.9, but here the problem is that FAT formatted drives can't have dots in the volume names, so you will have to rename the device to AmigaOS39 instead. Don't worry about the drive not having the correct name since the Emergency Disk II floppy will look for both names upon booting.

2. Copy the AmigaOS 3.9 files to a HDF image file
With Amiga911 Maker 1.62 it is possible to create Emergency Disk II floppies that supports booting from both AmigaOS3.9 ISO and HDF image files, where they can be present on any drive that gets mounted upon booting the Emergency Disk II.  For doing this you must first create a new HDF image file in WinUAE, and then add it to the emulated Amiga. The HDF image needs to be at least 512 MB in size, and you should also make sure that the default settings with a block size of 512 bytes and a BlocksPerTrack value of 32 is used. Another thing is that it's safest to just use the standard FastFileSystem (FFS).

After the emulated Amiga has booted up, you may need to format the HDF image. So click on the correct device icon, and select "Icons > Format disk" from the Workbench menu. In the window that now pops up, make sure that only the "Fast File System" and "International Mode" options are enabled. The Volume Name suggested should be "Empty", and you can just leave this alone for now (you will rename it later). Now click the "Quick Format" button in order to start formatting the HDF file. When this is done, you can copy all files from the AmigaOS3.9 CD to the HDF volume, so either use a filemanager or enter the following in Shell:

Copy AmigaOS3.9: to Empty: ALL CLONE

Since the copying is done to a volume with the native Amiga filesystem (FFS), the CLONE argument can be used in order to preserve all Amiga specific file attributes. When the copy process is finished, you can finally rename the volume name from Empty to AmigaOS3.9 by clicking the drive icon and selecting "Icons > Rename" from the WB menu. Now you can just quit WinUAE and copy the HDF image file to whatever device to be used on the real Amiga. You will also have to configure the Emergency Disk II in order for it to use the HDF file for booting, some instructions for this can be found in the Preperations part of the Using the Emergency Disk II tutorial.

3. Copy the AmigaOS 3.9 files to the harddisk of your PC
You can also copy all files from the AmigaOS 3.9 CD directly to the harddisk of your PC. This can be useful if you need to do something with the files outside of WinUAE. One example can be if you can't get the USB pendrive or Compact Flash card to be properly mounted on the emulated Amiga. Then you can first copy the files from the AmigaOS 3.9 CD over to the harddisk, and then in Windows copy the files from the harddisk to the pendrive/CF card. Another example is if you want to add all AmigaOS 3.9 files to a zip archive file, and then somehow transfer it to a real  Amiga.  Just have in mind that it's really a good idea to first make a folder on your PC's harddisk, and then copy all files into that folder. As an example, I made an AmigaOS3.9 folder on my KISS partition (drive D: in Windows), and then entered the following in Shell:

Copy AmigaOS3.9: to KISS:AmigaOS3.9 ALL

4. Activate an Emergency Disk II floppy
Another thing you can do is activating a ready-made Emergency Disk II floppy, you can find download links for the ADF images on the Downloads page, and instructions for activating can be found on the Ready-made Emergency Disk II page.


When preparing a harddisk for the Amiga by using WinUAE
A lot of people prefer to use WinUAE for setting up a harddisk to be used on a real Amiga, and this also involves installing the operating system as well. This may work well with AmigaOS 3.1 and lower, but with AmigaOS 3.9 it can be a bit problematic. The thing is that WinUAE needs to be set up to emulate an Amiga which is precisely like the real Amiga the harddisk is intended for, this is because the AmigaOS 3.9 install will be customized to the very Amiga it is installed on. Failing to do this may lead to the real Amiga crashing upon booting from the harddisk.

But there is an alternative way to do things. First of all you have to make sure that you have access to the AmigaOS 3.9 CD from within the emulated Amiga (read further up on this page regarding this). Now when you partition the drive, make sure to create at least two partitions, where the second one is at least 500MB in size. On the first partition (bootable) you can install Workbench 3.1 if you want to, this is just so that you have something to boot from. Then copy everything from the AmigaOS 3.9 CD to the second partition. When this is done, you can copy whatever extra stuff you want included as well, this can be things like the Boing Bag updates, an Emergency Disk II ADF file and maybe one of the A911Extras packs as well. The final thing to do is renaming the second partition to AmigaOS3.9.

Now you can connect the harddisk to your Amiga and start it up. The next thing to do is preparing an Emergency Disk to be used for installing AmigaOS 3.9. Here you can use my Emergency Disk II, or you can create a standard original one instead (both will work fine for this purpose). In case you need to write an ADF file to a floppy disk, have in mind that the A911Extras packs contains software for doing so.  When the Emergency Disk is finished, use it to start up your Amiga. Upon booting, the disk will simply look for AmigaOS3.9:, and since your second partition has this name, it should then continue to boot from it.  Now you can install AmigaOS 3.9, then reboot and finally install the Boing Bags.

After you are finished, and you no longer need the files present on your second partition, just quick-format it and use it for something else.

Some important notes:

1. Although it might be tempting to add, replace or delete files to/from your new AmigaOS 3.9 pendrive/CF card/drawer, I will STRONGLY suggest that you don't do this. The contents of the original CD, and especially what's in the Emergency-Boot drawer, is very generic where it should work on ANY Amiga with a 68020 processor. If you mess around too much with the files, your Amiga may crash upon booting the device, or it may work on one Amiga model, but not on another. So try to keep things clean!

2. If you still want to add files to your AmigaOS 3.9 device, keep them separated from the original AmigaOS 3.9 files by creating an EXTRAS drawer dedicated for the other files. This way you will always know that whatever is present in the EXTRAS dir, it's not a part of the original AmigaOS 3.9 files.

3. I will repeat it again: When you copy the contents of the AmigaOS 3.9 CD to another device, you'll need ALL files including the media files, otherwise you WILL have problems with installing the Boing Bag updates.

4. Have in mind that when copying files from the AmigaOS 3.9 CD, the copied files will most likely be write protected.

5. In case you are worried about the files on the pendrive/CF card not having the correct Amiga specific file protection bits, there is a function on the Emergency Disk II that can be used for fixing the bits after AmigaOS 3.9 has been installed. To do this, just select "Misc > Fix Protection bits" from the Workbench menu.

6. How the AmigaOS3.9: vs. AmigaOS39: stuff works, is that upon booting the Emergency Disk II floppy, it will check if AmigaOS3.9: exists, and if it doesn't, it will look for AmigaOS39: instead. If the latter can be found, a simple "Assign AmigaOS3.9: AmigaOS39:" will be run.

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