What is SFS?
SFS stands for Smart File System. This is an alternative third party file system to the standard FFS (Fast File System) included with Workbench! AmigaOS. FFS only supports a maximum HDD size of 8GB, with a maximum partition size of 4GB. SFS removes these limitations and allows you to use harddrives of any size with a maximum partition size of 128GB.
For more information about SFS and how it works look at the Wikipedia SFS entry.
What Harddrive can I use with my Amiga?
This actually depends on the Amiga you are using. The A4000, A1200 and A600 have an IDE interface built in as standard and can all be used with standard IDE Harddrives. The A4000 was originally designed to use 3.5" units, and the A1200 and A600 the smaller laptop style 2.5" HDD. The A1200 can however be made to work with 3.5" HDs if you wish, but it is recommended to stick with a 2.5" HDD in the A600 or A1200 if possible as they take up much less room, and also have much lower power consumption.
The A3000 and other older big box Amigas use SCSI HDDs. This guide is focusing specifically on the A1200/A4000, but SFS can be used with most other Amiga models if they have a HDD controller fitted that supports larger Harddrives. However to connect a SCSI HD to a PC you would need to obtain a SCSI controller card for your PC. This is outside of the scope of this guide.
Connecting your Amiga Harddrive to a PC
If you use a 3.5" HD then it is easy to connect to a PC. With the PC switched off, open the PC up, locate an empty IDE connector on the ribbon cable and connect it to the drive. Then find a space 4 pin molex power connector and connect that to the drive. If you already have 4 devices connected to the PC you will need to disconnect one ofthem while setting up your Amiga HDD, and then reconnect it once finished. Disconnecting a CD drive is the best option if needed.
For a harddrive connected to the PC's IDE connectors, once you've got a hard drive connected, the drive should be recognised by the computer straight away when the PC is switched on and the name of the drive should be displayed on the boot screen. If it isn't you may need to fiddle with some settings in your BIOS.
If you use a 2.5" HD then you will need one of the following methods to connect it to the PC:
All of these connectors and external caddies can be picked up easily on ebay for just a few pounds. The best solution for 2.5" HDD is the external HD caddy. This makes it easy to connect the drive to the PC without needing to open the PC up or even switch it off. Just pop the HDD into the external Caddy and plug the USB cable into the pc.
If connected by a USB caddy, once the PC is on and fully booted, connect the USB caddy's USB cable to the PC and it should detect the drive and mount it. If asked do not try to format the drive in Windows
Remember this guide is just focusing on IDE HDDs. If your Amiga is using a SCSI HDD then you will need to obtain a SCSI controller for your PC, set that up and then connect the SCSI HDD to it.
Setting up WinUAE
Once you have the HDD connected and detected by the PC, run WinUAE and setup a configuration similar to that of the Amiga the drive will go in to. Now click on the "Hard Drives" section of the WinUAE properties window.
Click on Add Hard Drive... , this should make a small box appear. Click on the drop down box and select the hard drive you have just connected to your PC. Tick the read/write box. You have now added the HDD to WinUAE.
Next we are going to add a directory as a virtual hard drive. First create a new directory on your Windows desktop and call it Work. Back in the WinUAE properies, click on Add Directory, select the PC folder Work that you just created and set it's name to Work and device number DH2. (This drive is used so we can use files we download on the PC side, instead of setting up the amiga to connect to the internet)
Now save these settings as a new WinUAE configuration!
Download the latest version of sfs from either of these two sites. Make sure you download the version for AmigaOS 3.x/m68k, and NOT AmigaOS 4/PPC.
http://strohmayer.org/sfs/ AmigaOS 3.x/m68k
Then unpack it to the Work directory you made on your Windows desktop.
Setting up the HDD
You will now need a workbench 3.0/3.1 Install disk (adf) for this.
(Version and Revision are only used to identify which version of SFS you are installing, at the time of writing the most recent version is 1.279)
Now click Ok. Custom File System should now be listed. Click Ok yet again. SmartFileSystem has now been added!
Editing each partition to use SFS
You will now need to make sure each partition uses the new file system. Select each partition and perform the following for each, until all of your partitions are setup like this.
Type the following information EXACTLY into the corresponding boxes~
Make sure you press Return after you enter each value. Now Click Ok This should return you to the partition screen. We now set Buffers = 100 (Again make sure to press Return)
Repeat this section, setting SFS/00 and the values (Mask, MaxTransfer, Blocksize, Buffer) for each partition you have created.
Completing the partition setup
Once you have completed everything above, and have altered the settings for all of your partitions, click Ok to return to the main HDToolbox menu. Click Save Changes to Drive and click Continue
Now select Exit and then Continue to reboot. Wait for it to reboot. Workbench should now
reappear with new icons saying DH0:NDOS, DH1 :NDOS etc.
Formatted the new partitions
We now need to format the new partitions on the drive, DO NOT do this by simply using the workbench format command.
Note: The SFSformat command should be in the same dir you extracted the sfs.lha to, change the above command if you unpacked it to a different directory).
You can now install workbench, or whatever you like on the drive!