Why ?

  • FFS is “Fast File System”
  • SFS is “Smart File System”

With FFS : I’ve been more than once in front of the problem of partition validating for ages in cause of a crash when some writing was going. This is not so annoying when it is a FD that is 880Kb big, but when it is a 3Gb partition…

As I have backups of my files, what I did was to reformat the partition each time, and copy back the files.

Other problem is the speed of this filesystem.

Last minute note : to avoid long validation, you can use the tool “disksafe”, that you can find on aminet.

With SFS : the speed is better, there is no revalidation, and the defragmentation is included “on the go”.

AROS : will access the partitions natively in a more robust way than with FFS.

And I’ve made absolutely all the possible errors, so I want to share my experience.


  1. get SFS
  2. get HDInstTools
  3. Install the filesystem on the boot block to enable it at boot
  4. copy your system to the new drive
  5. install nSDPatch to your new OS installation
  6. get all your partitions working

Partitions parameters summary

It is CRUCIAL to respect those parameters.


Don’t forget : each time you change a parameter inside HDInstTools, please, press “ENTER”. If you don’t, the entry won’t be validated.

Before a change on a partition can be taken in account, you must *reboot* your system.

The hardware

I do not use WinUAE or this kind of (very usefull and handy) tools to do the transfer. I’m on a single amiga 1200.

To be able to go from a filesystem to the other, I bought a 2 CF card to IDE reader :

My 2 CF card reader
My leds are beautifull

Get SFS from Aminet

Launch easynet
when done, go on aminet and search for SFS package
get the most simple “SFS.lha”
decrunch it (here I use DOpus) and copy the content of the drawer “AmigaOS3.X” to L
here it is 🙂

Get HDInstTools from aminet and install SFS

Because it is a better tool than hdtoolbox for this.

download and decrunch hdinst.lha
launch HDInstTools
HDInstTools choice of the good device. If you want to be sure, you should open an “informations” window on your OS partition to know where it is located, then here chose *the other one* !
So now you choose to install the new filesystem with “Dateisystem” (you can have HDInst in english with the langage menu). We need to install it on the boot block, using this way, to make it available on boot (and then allowing to have the OS partition in SFS)
you must delete the in place FFS filesystem (if any), and add the SFS one with “Hinzufgen”
you go to L: and choose your “smartfilesystem” file
you must change the “DOS\3” to “SFS\0”

Partition your drive:

after saving the modifications to the card (you have to get out of HDInstTools and then restart the amiga) when done, you open again HDInstTools and enter inside your device.
create your partitions

It is very important to respect those parameters.

Save and you restart your computer.

Formating the first partition

you should now see this kind of things on the workbench : Not initialized partitions. Normally only the first one should appear if your CF is more than 4 Gb big, and you need one more step to make the second appear. If none appears, repeat the previous steps and verify the parameters of your partitions, because at least one should be there.
format your partition using the “sfsformat” command given by the sfs package.
press return to format
if everything was ok, you should get back to the shell without any message

Copy your Amiga OS Files to the fresh new SFS partition

Using DOpus ?

You should now be able to reboot with your new partition.

Make your 2nd partition appear

you must install NSDPatch package, so search for it on aminet
choose version 43.20
install it
cool, it’s done
add this to your startup-sequence, just after Setpatch command. If you have problems to make your partitions appear, try your setpatch command *without* the “skipromupdates scsi.device”
This is a part of the cli window with NSDPatch boot messages. You should *not* have “Activation DH1: failed” (DH1 or whatever is the name of your device)
you can edit the NSDPatch config file, and comment all the lines you don’t need (in order to speed up your boot time a little)
Tadaaa ! Your partition should now appear. If not, have a look to the parameters using HDInstTools, and verify the output of the NSDPatch command. Try also your “Setpatch” without any “scsi.device”.
time to format your new partition
Like for the first partition, the SFSFormat command should end without any messsage
Your 2nd partition’s alive and usable

The links to refer to

NSDPatch je sèche … “Activation DH1: failed” (FR) Merci aux poto sur amigaimpact qui m’ont aidé à résoudre mon problème… bête car j’avais simplement pas appuyé sur entrée en paramétrant ma partition.



A video (not by me) :


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