Amiga floppy disks cannot be read on PCs without installing
additional hardware such as a special floppy disk controller or a
second floppy drive.
As Amiga users know, this hardware incompatibility has limited Amiga-PC data sharing
since the the Amiga was released in the mid-80s, and, although newer software and
hardware have helped overcome this limitation, there is no way that software emulation alone can solve
PC cannot read Amiga disks using only the default PC floppy disk controller
logic attached to a single disk drive.
The opposite is true,
i.e. the Amiga, which has a more "flexible" hardware than most PCs, can read and
write floppy disks in the MS-DOS format. The Amiga Forever CD-ROM includes the MSH file system, which allows users of all Amiga operating systems from version 1.2 upwards to read
and write MS-DOS floppy disks, which can then be used to share data with PC systems.
recommend Amiga Explorer as the easiest choice to transfer data between the Amiga and
Windows systems. With Amiga Explorer, an Amiga computer can be connected to the
PC via a null-modem serial cable or TCP/IP (e.g. Ethernet), and
then be accessed as a "virtual floppy disk" from the Windows Desktop.
Amiga computer itself does not even require a monitor, if it is booted from
a floppy disk which also launches the Amiga Explorer server
software, which easily fits on a bootable disk. Amiga Explorer is
included with Amiga Forever.
These solutions are known to be able to connect Amiga drives to the
- Jim Drew's SuperCard Pro floppy
is connected to the PC via USB. The SuperCard Pro has a higher flux
resolution than other devices, and may be used for both commercial and
- The adfread software by
Toni Wilen and Simon Owen, combined with a second floppy drive.
This software works with the most common floppy disk
controllers used in industry-standard PCs, requiring no custom
hardware other than an inexpensive additional PC floppy drive,
connected to the same cable as the first drive.
This is a read-only solution, and only supports
Windows 2000 and later versions of Windows, including Windows 10 (but not Windows 95, Windows 98,
Windows Me or Windows NT).
- The "Catweasel" floppy controller, by Individual Computers, which is
available both as a PCI and as an ISA board
(to be mounted inside the PC) to which the disk drive can be connected. The Catweasel is
also available for the Amiga, but the one needed here is the PC version.
This is a read/write solution which supports all versions of
Windows except for Windows NT 4.0 (Windows 95 is supported via
DOS software, newer versions of Windows are supported via WDM
- The KryoFlux floppy controller, by the
Software Preservation Society, which
is connected to the PC via USB. The consumer version of this product is
sold under a strict "no commercial use" license.
- The Disk2FDI software by Vincent Joguin, combined with a second floppy drive.
This is the original software which inspired adfread, but it
only supports Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me (not Windows NT,
Windows 2000 or later versions).
- The "Amiga Floppy Reader" (AFR),
designed by Marco Veneri, is an interface which can
connect an external Amiga floppy disk to the PC's parallel port. This is a
read-only solution with DOS-only software.
- While not able to read disks, the
ADTwin software, by M. Rode, makes it possible to write ADF disk image
files to floppy disks using a floppy disk drive attached to a PC's parallel
port. This is a write-only solution that requires at least Windows XP (SP2 or SP3).
Cloanto also offers a
service, which may be of special interest to convert a few floppy disks
without installing special hardware.
When trying to access old disks it is
important to minimize the number of read
attempts. Ideally a disk (or tape) should be
read a first time with the best possible
sampling hardware. If the data is already
hardly readable, each additional step may
bring with it a risk of further reducing the
quality of the signal.
Amiga emulation programs like UAE and Fellow use "disk images" of Amiga
floppy disks. The most used file format used for these images is called "ADF"
(from "Amiga Disk File"). Each Amiga floppy disk can be stored in an ADF file
(or split in more than one ADF file). ADF files can be created on an Amiga with a tool
like "transdisk", or they can be created on the fly by Amiga Explorer. Both are
included on Amiga Forever. Both the Catweasel and the AFR hardware come with
software to create an ADF file from an Amiga floppy disk.
Please note that ADF files and the other disk connectivity tools described here
currently only support standard Amiga floppy disks, and not certain non-standard
"copy protection" schemes, which in part also fail on different types of
original Amiga floppy drives. If the Amiga DiskCopy command cannot copy a
disk, it is likely that the creation of the ADF disk image file will also
fail to produce a working result. For archival purposes, you may want to create
a disk image in DMS format (DMS supports a few simple copy protection
schemes), if possible. It is also likely that a future version of the
emulation software will include extended direct support for hardware such as
the Catweasel so as to also support copy protection.
The Amiga Forever
Game Downloads page includes a variety of sites hosting disk images of
famous Amiga game disks, as well as other software. These games have been
released for online distribution by the original publishers. It is very
likely that any Amiga games you may have on floppy disk are now available
for download in this format, with copy protection removed, if so required.