WHDLoad Support in FS-UAE Launcher

FS-UAE Launcher has special support for running individually zipped (or compressed with LHA) WHDLoad Games. It will even store save-games in the state directory.

Alternative Ways to use WHDLoad

This page contains details about how the WHDLoad feature is manually enabled, there are two other ways to use WHDLoad games in FS-UAE:

  • Use the online game database (recommended), this will give you automatic support for running WHDLoad games, no configuration needed.
  • Create an Amiga Workbench environment on an emulated hard drive and install the WHDLoad package and games manually.

Enabling the WHDLoad Feature

This feature is enabled by:

  • Inserting a zip/lha file containing a WHDLoad game as the primary hard drive.
  • Write the name of the slave in the WHDLoad Arguments text box, optionally along with slave options.
  • Just write the full name of the slave only, do not include the directory name.

You should currently not use save states when you use this feature. The temporary creation of hard drives will confuse the save state system

Example WHDLoad Arguments:


The following automatically happens when WHDLoad arguments is specified and you start the game:

  • The contents of the zip/lha file is unpacked to a temporary folder, which is what is really used as the primary hard drive in FS-UAE.
  • WHDLoad is downloaded (if not already downloaded) and merged into the temporary drive.
  • Kickstart images are copied into the temporary drive -needed for several WHDLoad slaves.
  • If any modified files (from an earlier launch) are found in the state dir, these are copied/merged into the temporary drive.
  • The slave is located and a startup-sequence file is created to boot the WHDLoad game.
  • The contents of the temporary drive is analyzed and checksummed, so any modified files can be saved to the state dir when FS-UAE is done running.

Here is a more advanced example of WHDLoad Arguments, showing how to specify slave options:


Details Regarding the Temporary Drive

You don’t need to read the following information unless you are interested in the exact details on how the WHDLoad support is implemented.

First of all, the zip/lha file containing the game is unpack to the temporary drive, and then a routine is performed to transform this into a bootable system. At the time of writing, the following files are downloaded and copied into the drive:


The following kickstart files are copied from your kickstart directory if they are available (matched by checksum, not names):


The following file is populated with some default values:


The registration key (if found) is copied to:


SetPatch from Workbench 3.0 is copied, provided that a Workbench 3.0 disk is indexed by the file database function:


Finally, the startup sequence is written to:


The startup sequence consists of starting WHDLoad with the slave, followed by running uae-configuration SPC_QUIT 1 to quit the emulation when the slave is done running.

Registered WHDLoad

If Documents/FS-UAE/WHDLoad.key is found, it will be copied toΒ DH0:S/WHDLoad.key when preparing the temporary hard drive. This only applies to people having purchased WHDLoad before the full version became free, and who wants to use the registered version.

146 thoughts on “WHDLoad Support in FS-UAE Launcher

  1. I have followed the above instructions: pointed the HardDrive entry to the zip file (the emulator fills in the appropriate .slave file name by default) but when I try to run it it doesn’t work – No WHDLoad spalsh screen… it just dumps me to a CLI with the message Unknown Command IF.
    I have uninstall and reinstalled. The first time it runs after a fresh install I see the notice that WHDLoad is being downloaded, then never again.
    I’ve got to be doing something wrong… please help.

    • uugh….. nevermind.
      I messed with this for days then tonight I found the web page about using the database, followed those instructions and bam – it works.
      It might be useful to note that on the WHDLoad page.

  2. Hi could you provide me with an idiots guide to playing whdload zip games please. I have the whdload key also.

  3. Having trouble getting this feature to work.


    It looks like one of the launcher’s Python scripts is screwed up somehow, but I have the latest version AFAIK and I have no idea how to fix it.

    I’m running Windows 7 64-bit, if that helps.

    • Thanks, I received the log file. The problem is that the code assumes that the .slave resides within a sub-directory within the .zip, For example GameName/Something.slave. When the slave is found at the top level, the code throws an exception. I’ll fix that in the development series πŸ™‚ -But in the meantime, you can “re-zip” the slave with a sub-directory, and it should work!

  4. Firstly – awesome work. Thanks to fs-uae I’ve been able to play SWOS with updated teams via the WHDLoad feature this evening.

    I have one question regarding the OSX version: is it possible to set the launcher to boot straight in to a particular WHDLoad image/configuration?

    The reason I ask is I have an old Mac mini hooked up to a tv that is controlled entirely through remote buddy/remote control, for running Plex/XBMC etc. I’d like to be able to launch say SWOS or Speedball 2 via the remote without having to resort to screen sharing to configure the launcher/select a configuration.

    • Thanks! Starting FS-UAE Launcher and booting directly into a game isn’t supported right now, men planned to be implemented soon πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the reply.

        I’ve just checked out the work you’re doing with Game Center, and that looks like it will do exactly what I want…

        • Yes, if you don’t mind the extra step where you start game center first and then select the game, that should work just fine πŸ™‚ -Just leave a comment if it does not work properly (the game center is quite recent / alpha).

          • I’ve got it set up, using the alphas, but it doesn’t seem to want to recognise my SWOS and Speedball WHDLoad zips. It recognises Super Cars 2 fine. Is there a particular place I need to put them? I’ve currently got them copied into Hard Drives, Floppies and Downloads for good measure… πŸ˜‰

          • No, they can be anywhere where FS-UAE Launcher “finds them”, but if you have added these zips after the last file scan, you need to use the “Scan Files and Configurations” functions again to add these files to the file database. If that does not work, you can send the zips to frode@fs-uae.net and I’ll check them out!

  5. “You should currently not use save states when you use this feature. The temporary creation of hard drives will confuse the save state system”

    I understand that I can’t use save states but can I use in-game saves that write back to the WHDLoad image? I’d like to play some adventure games and doing so would be tricky if I can’t save my progress.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Yes, you can use the game’s own save system, only save states are currently problematic when using the WHDLoad support.

  6. I downloaded a full WHDLoad games pack (pre HDD installed) and zipped some of those folders. I Opened that zip file as a hard drive and FS-UAE automatically named it “alienbreed2.slave”…etc. But the games did not load up. It stopped at the Amiga Dos window, showing “Unknown Command IF”. Do I really need to install that program and register it, for WHDLoad games to work properly within the FS-UAE? Maybe you should make your own FS-UAE/WHDLoad variant, which will automatically load those pre installed games? That would be a great improvement in FS-UAE development. Thank you!

    • Hi, you need kickstart 2.0 or higher to run WHDLoad games, so use for example A600. But please note that many WHDLoad games need A1200, and most either need or benefit from more memory, so you’ll most likely want to add 8 MB fast memory…

      For running WHDLoad games more effortlessly, you should consider enabling the online database – this will download the correct/best settings for each WHDLoad game automatically. The database is currently in beta, see http://fengestad.no/fs-uae/database πŸ™‚

  7. I seem to have a small problem with WHDLoad games.

    I have my zipped files containing my old installed games, dropped my WHDLoad key into FS-UAE & entered the slave name.

    Files are downloaded as expected, the OS boots & my WHDLoad splash screen pops up. This confirms my registered key. From here, if a slave needs the Devs: … kickstart images, it complains:

    Shell tells me it cannot find SetPatch & after this, I get a requested stating that it cannot find the Devs: kickstart files. I have them myself & FS-Launcher also downloads them fine, but some games aren’t loading because of this.

    My first game tested was Another World.

    Do you have any ideas what might be happening?

    Thanks, Russ.

    • The Launcher only downloads some RTB files for the kickstarts (files with additional information about the kickstarts). FS-UAE Launcher will also copy the correct kickstarts, but this requires that you have those kickstarts indexed in the FS-UAE Launcher file database. So if you use “Scan Files & Configurations” from the database, you should have a green checkbox for A500 at least. I cannot distribute the kickstart files, so the Launcher cannot automatically download those.

      SetPatch will be copied in if you have a Workbench 3.0 disk indexed. I cannot distribute copyrighted Workbench files. This file is not always required, and the boot process will continue without it.

      • Thanks for the quick reply.

        I need to make sure I understand this correct. In my ‘Scan Files & Configuration’, I add the folder with my kickstart files (eg. Kickstarts/kick34005.a500 & kick40068.a1200) & also add the folder with my Workbench 3.0 disk (adf) then click scan?

        If this is correct, I do not have anymore ‘green’ ticks & I still cannot get the WHD zipped game to load. However, if I create a hard drive with the files in the same drive as the game & boot from that (Not using the WHDSlave command in Launcher), the game reads the kickstart files & loads without a problem.

        I’m sure this will be a simple solution but I just can’t get my head round it.

        • The most likely explanation is that you don’t have the preferred kickstart versions. I.e. you might have a 1.3 kickstart ROM file, but not exactly the same as the Launcher expects. One reason that the Launcher is a bit picky about this is because of the net play support. As you run the kickstart import function, you can see the SHA-1 checksums listed there. For example, the a500 one should be 891e9a547772fe0c6c19b610baf8bc4ea7fcb785, commonly known as
          “Kickstart v1.3 r34.5 (1987)(Commodore)(A500-A1000-A2000-CDTV)[!].rom” – or “amiga-os-130.rom” from Amiga Forever. (http://fengestad.no/fs-uae/kickstarts)

          • Thank you, all working fine now & importing all my WHD games as we speak.

        • Currently, SetPatch is only automatically extracted from a WB 3.0 disk (The reason is that SetPatch from Amiga Forever’s 3.1 disks is not the same as the one in normal 3.1 disks, and this would cause problems for net play).

    • The temporary hard drive is created on disk (somewhere below the standard temporary files directory) and deleted after FS-UAE is done running (after changed files have been copied to the state dir).

  8. Hi,

    I am loving this program! I have a registered version of WHDLoad and I have copied the files to ~/Documents/FS-UAE/WHDLoad and it picks up the reg key fine. However, it still downloads files (patcher) which seem to take some time. Is there something I’m missing to speed this process up?



    • The WHDLoad binaries are downloaded on demand from the Internet (to ensure everyone has the same version – for example for net play compatibility). The files are cached, so they are only downloaded once (the patcher binary isn’t needed for runnning games, and the next stable version will not download this one).

      Perhaps there’s a network problem preventing FS-UAE Launcher from downloading the files? The files are small so it should be very fast (seconds at most). Perhaps check if the firewall blocks it (and/or disable firewall/anti-virus etc temporarily).

      • Thanks for the quick reply.

        I’ve turned off my firewall and tried again. Downloading Patcher is coming up and takes around a minute to complete. My internet is very fast (almost 70 down) so I am puzzled. Then restoring changes can take another 30 to 40 seconds.

        I an running version 2.0.1 from the ppa. Should I try a later dev version?



        • Just to let you know, dev version 2.1.32dev installed and the issue is resolved.

          Fantastic program!

  9. Hi, Thanks for the great work! I have a registration key for WHDLoad but sadly every time I try a WHDLoad game, I get the unregistered window. The key is in My Documents\FS-UAE. Using Latest version of the emulator, Windows 8 x64. Thanks.

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