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 to 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.

158 thoughts on “WHDLoad Support in FS-UAE Launcher

  1. Hello!
    First, thanks a lot for this great emulator!
    I’m using Launchbox as a front-end and do launch FS-UAE with WHDload games. Problem at the moment is (as stated by you) that the save-function is not working properly. With “unsafe_save_state = 1” in the settings.ini I can save states but it’s hit or miss with loading the save state…
    Do you have any plans to include the save feature for WHDload in a future version?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi, I know some improvements I can do to the save state system, which should at least make it somewhat safer to use with WHDLoad. But, it will probably never be completely safe to use (for that matter, the save state system isn’t 100% safe with floppies either). I don’t have any timeline for improvements to the save state system :-/

  2. Hi Frode, I just noticed that WHDLoad became free (no key file needed). How does FS-UAE integrate WHDLoad? Is it possible to support WHDLoad 18.2 (which is the registration-less version)?

  3. Hi,

    Not sure if this is a bug or a limitation with Arcade launcher, but in 2.6.2 for windows I can’t seem to start zipped WHDLoad games: It just hangs straight after clicking on the screen with all the inputs. Its stuck on the animated square progress indicator.

    Unzipped folders work in Arcade, and Zipped do work in launcher.

    • Actually, now I can’t start whdload files anymore 🙁
      Wether zipped or not, it doesn’t even work in the launcher.

      Not sure what has happened, but it gets stuck on the message ‘Preparing WHDLoad…’

      • hmmm… I just moved all my WHDLoad library to my old fs-uae location, copied just 1 game, re-scanned, and now its working again.

        I wonder if the problem was the amount of WHDLoad games? (I have an entire TOSEC) – or maybe there was a corruption in the database? I will try rebuilding tomorrow and see if I still have problems

      • ok, done a re-scan and WHDLoad games still not launching. seems to be relate to the size of the database?
        tried in 2.4.1 and works fine

  4. não consigo rodar jogos aga no WHDload. abre uma mensagem:
    DOS-error # 103 ( not enough memory available) on loading ¨BansheeAGA.slave¨

    • Hi, sounds like you should add more memory, for example 8 MB fast RAM. Also, please use English if you have follow-up questions!

  5. Hello! Does anybody know where to put the WHDLoad key when using the portable installation?


  6. Hi,

    what about zip files containing an lha file?

    It seems that in this case whd games are not recognized… am I wrong?


    • Hi, you are correct. FS-UAE Launcher does not index files within archives within archives.

  7. Hello!
    First of all: THANK YOU, Frode, and the community for delivering this masterpiece of emulation. I really love it.

    But now i have two Problems (MAC OS-X), one is solved (perhaps someone got the same problem, so i wrote it down):

    1. FA-UAE Launcher is showing just some games (19 of 4000) – SOLVED:
    In newest Version of fs-uae launcher just 19 games where showed, but i got the whole gamebase Amiga Archive local.
    Soloution: I renamed the Path /myusername/documents/FS-UAE to /myusername/documents/OLD_FS-UAE and startet FS-UAE launcher again.
    Then i scanned my files again and updated the game database – now my games are complete again.

    2. WHDLOAD 18.1 wants to get registered:
    Many games are using WHLOAD (fs-uae is using 18.1) – but some games have trouble (After Burner – SEGA 0947; WHDLOAD 1.2):
    “Sorry, you have to register WHDLoad first to continue.”
    This Errormessage apears on some games – its really annoying. OK – i read you created a new 2.7.7dev version – ill try this.


    • Update: fs-uae launcher 2.7.7 runs fine with WHDLOAD 18.2.
      But: When ending a game in fs-uae arcade with CMD+Q, the Session will end but it doesnt return me to the gamelist.
      The Screen iremains black – all i can do is pressing CMD+Q again and then fs-uae arcade is complete ended.

  8. Hi there
    about whdload and commandline:
    since fs-uae can utilize the open amiga database i was thinking about something;
    wouldnt it be possible from the commandline to have fs-uae “lookup” and parse the configuration needed for the specified game via the database? (thus avoiding the use of individual cfg files)

    i know nothing about programming, but i assume once you have scraped the game dir, the info is saved locally?

    forgive my ignorance, i love the work youve ptu into this!, cheers

    • whdload and commandline part #2
      another way was, if fs-uae in the commandline could identify (via a database) what type of amiga/kickstart was needed . you could then define “default” cfgs to automate things. my reasoning for blabbering on about this is frontend use. particular in arcade cabs. setting up winuae in such a cab is alot of work 🙂 so im hoping fs-uae is the way!

  9. Hi Frode,
    I think there should be no need to copy the files:
    as these are not used when running an installed program.
    Thx & Bye 🙂

    • Hi, you right, in fact, the files are not copied any more, the documentation is outdated. Fixed now 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

      • Hi there,

        I recently got hold of a collection of WHDLoad games. I put its directory on the search path of FS-UAE, but they’re not appearing as available on the game variants list (only the individual disk files I already had). Is there something else to do that I’m missing? Thanks!

        • Hi, difficult to say without more information. Have you remembered to also run the file database update function to actually index the new files?

          • I think I found the problem… As per the torrent’r readme: “The whole collection has been now been re-processed as “Amiga LhA archive within a DOS Zip archive” to try and preserve certain special characters used by the Amiga.”. Will try to remove this “double packing” and see if it works.

          • Yes, the launcher will not look in archives within archives, so extracting the individual archives should work 🙂

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