[TUTO] How to run HDF file on PUAE

HI all ! I wanted to explain to you here all that I had to do, to be able to launch games in HDF format on PUAE.

First thing - Have a game in HDF format A WHDLoad version of an Amiga game is a game that has been modified so that it can be installed on a hard disk drive. The benefits of doing this are :

  • Games will load much faster
  • You don’t need to swap floppy disks in games that use more than one disk
  • Copy protection and intros are removed

ATTENTION !!! It seems that some people have games in HDF format but that do not work. For an HDF game to work it is imperative that in the HDF there is a file named “game.slave”. To make sure, you can use the software “total commander” => tutorial here: https://www.retrosummit.com/2018/10/10/extracting-an-amiga-single-file-from-adf-dms-or-hdf-files-on-windows/

Second - have the “bios”, with the right names (kick34005.A500, kick40063.A600, kick40068.A1200), good CRC and in the right place (I put everything in BIOS folder) Info : if your bios have an extension like “.rom”, delete the extension :wink:

Third - Add, in the same place as the BIOS, the file “whdload.hdf” (google it) <== be careful this file needs to be modified to include the bios, follow this guide : https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=IwgV-YkXhM4 Info : the files you add must have the same name as your BIOS, so be careful;)

Fourth : launch retroarch, load the PUAE core, launch the emulator without a game yet! Go in the options of the emulator then in the option “Model” choose the version amiga 1200 with the most ram! AND in core option Use WHDLoad.hdf must be ON

Now leave the emulator and load your game in HDF format, everything will have to roll normally;)

Enjoy !

Info : quick save dont works for me ! Crash the emu all the time :frowning:


Can i ask, are the HDF files the ones with the .slave in them?

Edit: Doesn’t work. I followed all the steps carefully and all i get is a screen that asks for a disk in the drive.

More precisely, the hdf with the game must contain game.slave. And:

Fifth - PUAE core option Use WHDLoad.hdf must be ON

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A note of caution: normally HDF files just indicate a hard disk image and WHDload and game.slave aren’t necessarly involved. You can just install games into such a file with the regular routines some games offer. This works with WinUae (and probably FS-Uae) but the last time I fiddled with the core, not PUAE.

When I tried the core for the WHDload method I followed the tutorial here: https://web.archive.org/web/20181025095112/https://lindqvist.synology.me/wordpress/?page_id=182

You should at least not need a config file anymore though.

Thank you ! I added this step that I had completely forgotten …


i’m a beginner in amiga game… I dont have an answer for your question… sorry :frowning:

Did you try with the new add : AND in core option Use WHDLoad.hdf must be ON ?

I playing lot of amiga game in HDF on PUAE, and i dont have any problems.


Yes, the WHDload option is ON in the core options.

My files don’t work with PUAE, only with the standalone. They are zipped files that contain the slave file and a bunch of others. However the slave file isn’t called “game.slave”. It has the game name, for instance “turrican.slave”.

I have more than 2.000 files like this. I got them from a friend’s Hyperspin setup and they made my life easier not having to ever use disk swap. And they all work fine on the standalone.

Dunno what i have to do to make them work in RetroArch but i sure won’t manually fix 2k files, i’ll just use the standalone until PUAE gets improved.

That’s it. The .slave file MUST be called exactly game.slave, or it won’t work with WHDload.hdf. You need the right hdf files.

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Why though? Since it’s working in the standalone, is there a way to make it work in PUAE?

Your right. I used the software “total commander” to check the content of my games in HDF format. Actually, in everyone I have “readme”, “manual”, a file of “the name of the game” and a file “game.slave”.

I dont know why u dont have that @GemaH… Personally, I found my fullset of games on a torrent of an “archive” site.


I update the tuto all the time. but 'im relly bad in english… So if you see something wrong or somthing like that, telle me please :wink:


To GemaH:

First, if “Use WHDLoad.hdf” is ON, the PUAE core mounts the WHDLoad.hdf file as DH0: (or HD0:, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter) and the game hdf as DH1:.

Then, it boots AmigaOS (contained in WHDLoad.hdf) from DH0: and runs WHDLoad (also contained in WHDLoad.hdf).

WHDLoad is configured to search the file “game.slave” in DH1: and, if found, finally runs the game.

This allows you to simply load the game hdf file and automatically run it, providing you have the correct hdf files - i.e. with “game.slave” in them.

FS-UAE does something similar, but somehow it builds the boot disk “on the fly” so it doesn’t need WHDLoad.hdf.

And, GemaH, I suspect that your game files are not hdf files but simply .zips with the game inside (and the related .slave). If that’s the case, they simply don’t work because of a bug in PUAE core that prevents mounting a PC folder (or a zip of it) as an Amiga drive. Standalone doesn’t have this bug.

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So it’s a known bug then?

That gives me hope it will be fixed someday. Till then i’ll use the standalone.

1st I wanna say 99% of my knowledge of retroarch is for android but I I beleive cores are more or less the same across the board…that being said puae does work on android…here are free circumstances though…u must have the correct bios retroarch seeks and a proper made whdload hdf as well…now another important thing is the type of hdf u have…the most common hdfs are the ones made by ransome…the 2nd kind is a repack of his original hdfs…both hdfs use different settings to load in puae core…the regular original hdfs work on android with whdload option turned off while the repack version works with whdload turned on…my suggestion is mess around with that option but most importantly make sure u have the correct bios the core wants

That’s exactly what I say, you need at first good bios, otherwise the core will not start properly. Then it is advisable to activate the option “whdload” in order to launch all types of HDF.

Puae works the same way in android as under windows for me.

Thank you for your comment.


Hey I’m trying to do this on iOS as iUAE has stopped working on newer iOS versions and I need my SWOS fix. It is a HDF file which I know works in standalone fs-uae and as mentioned on the iUAE emulator on iOS a few weeks ago before upgrading to iOS 13.

I’ve followed all tutorials:

  • checked the bios checksum which I’ve put in WHDLoad.hdf using Total Commander (I have cloanto kickstarter roms so also have rom.key)
  • gotten the prefs file
  • checked for game.slave in the hdf (actually renamed it using Total Commander)
  • have both ‘use whdload’ and ‘use whdprefs’ turned on
  • and even written a uae config…

but at worst I get a black screen and crash, and at best a flashing yellow screen and a crash. And I have similar with other HDFs so I’m hoping it’s more of a rogue setting or something I am missing.

The latest fight yesterday had me using the latest whdload file available on github (as of time of writing ~2 weeks old) but still, no avail.

The core version in my ipa is 2.6.1 0a85b4f with RA 1.8.1 - ANY help would be appreciated, thanks.

I’ve been fiddling with this core for quite a while. The devs @rsn88871 and @sonninnos have been updating the core a lot lately, and it’s much simpler than it was. I can load hdf games and AmigaCD32 games now.

Kickstarts needed are listed here. Those go in your Retroarch system directory.

With the latest core (as of Jan 12, 2020), you dont need to manually include WHDLoad.hdf or WHDSaves.hdf. They are generated automatically and Kickstarts will be copied automatically into the WHDLoad. If you have old WHDLoad.hdf files in the directory, delete them, because the old version is likely causing a conflict.

Then you can simply load an hdf file and the game should auto start. The core now looks for the first game.slave file it can find in the hdf:

To load an Amiga CD32 game, point to the cue file:

Works great!

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Yes they have been super responsive to GitHub issues and on mac I now concur that it is a great option and working fine and really brought Amiga experience back up.

As of 1.8.3 I still have issues on iOS with graphical corruption and crashes of an exact copy of settings and files working in Mac. I’m trying to collect more definitive info but I think the issue is that a non jail broken iOS devices there are strict permissions on what you can do with files and I think the core builds a temporary hdf from the WHDLoad and game one (and now save one).

Hello, i got everything working really great on my windows machine. Its amazing how well it all works. I just have a problem to get the same setup to work on my shield tv.adf files work without problems , even doesn’t matter of it is for AGA. But the same hdf files which work on windows, won’t work on my shield tv. When I try to load it, I only get the Amiga dos screen. When I type why “the last command Did not set A return code” is what I get.i read the forums here and saw some other people have the problem but no one answered it. Someone has a clue? Thanks in advance and happy Eastern