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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved



General Tips & Tricks

After three years of owning an Amiga I have learnt a number of techniques to make my Amiga even more versatile. Here are a few ideas that will make your Amiga easier to use.

Software Tips

  • If you are still using an Amiga with no hard drive cut down on disk changes by making certain commands resident (saved in the Amiga's memory). Simply enter in a Shell window:
    Resident C:Copy
    Resident C:List
    Resident C:Dir 
  • Use the Amiga's clipboard to the full by cutting and pasting between programs. Press RIGHT AMIGA (next to Alt on the right of the keyboard) and X to cut, RIGHT AMIGA and C to copy and RIGHT AMIGA V to paste.

  • If you want to quit a program try pressing RIGHT AMIGA and Q. If that fails press CTRL and C.

  • Pressing up and down in a Shell window displays the last command/s that you typed.

  • To interrupt a script file (such as the Startup-Sequence) press CTRL and D.

  • Move to a different screen by pressing LEFT AMIGA, M and hold LEFT AMIGA-N to swap to the Workbench screen.

  • To allow old programs to run try holding the two mouse buttons down when you switch on your machine. An EARLY STARTUP OPTIONS screen should be displayed. From here you can choose to disable CPU caches, the type of display and the chipset used.

  • To control the mouse pointer on Workbench using the keyboard hold the left Amiga key and any one of the arrow keys, left and right Alt keys emulate the mouse buttons, whilst shift allows the mouse to jump across the screen.

  • Select LEAVE OUT from the Icons menus and Snapshot the icon to allow you to easily access the program without hunting through drawers.

  • Get a screen saver to prevent static images being burnt upon your TV/monitor display.

  • Close windows on the Workbench screen to save memory.

  • In the Shell you can return to a previous directory by pressing backslash(/).

  • Use Format instead of Quick Format to ensure that any errors on the disk are fully erased.

  • Save memory by disabling external drives or partitions and booting with no startup-sequence in the Early Startup Menu.

  • To perform batch processing from the comfort of your own Workbench highlight all the icons to be processed and select the function to be carried out.

  • To set the Amiga's internal clock load the TIME program in the Prefs drawer. If you don't have a battery backed up clock you can get a program which automatically sets the time when you load Workbench.

  • Bored of hunting through millions of drawers for the right program? Get a program such as Tools Daemon to add the programs into the Tools menu.

  • If you are advised to use a program called DiskDoctor immediately beat the person with a mallet. DiskDoctor was a disk recovery program that came with Workbench 1.3. It was dropped because it usually caused more damage than the virus, try a newer disk recovery utility such as DiskSalv instead.

  • Play animations directly from your hard drive using a utility called BigAnim. Useful for users with very little memory. AGA owners, free memory by changing the screen to NTSC using Prefs/Screenmode.

  • If you use a DTP package (who doesn't nowadays), print an example of your fonts to save time choosing your favourite.

  • DTP users, use only two or three fonts on a page to get a more professional look. Enhance the look and feel of your Workbench by installing either Magic Workbench for lovely grey icons, or NewIcons, for the multi -coloured borderless look. Keep all disks write protected to prevent a virus destroying the data.


Hardware Tips

  • Rather than reset the Amiga by the ON/OFF switch, press CTRL and the two Amiga keys together.

  • If the slide on a disk is damaged (the metal bit) in any way, immediately remove it from the disk and make a backup copy. This will save any data that may have been stored on the disk, and save you a hefty disk drive repair bill if it had gotten stuck in the drive.

  • When buying from mail order firms phone first to make sure the product is in stock, and stick to tried and tested firms, such as Weird Science.

  • If your Amiga has died, try another power pack to save money with repair bills.

  • If you get read/write errors on most of your disks try them with another drive. It could be your disk drive that is faulty.

  • Use a disk cleaning solution to keep your drive in top-top condition.

  • Keep your Amiga away from direct sunlight, or any other heat source, extreme temperatures can affect the machine.

  • If you buy a new Amiga (if you can find any), save your old machine. It will allow you to retain compatibility with your favourite games and can network it to your new machine to share drives.

  • Connect your Amiga to a stereo and gasp in awe at what can be done in just four channels.

  • Apparently, you can use olive oil (no, not from Popeye) to lubricate your joystick and extend its life.

  • Keep disks away from magnetic fields, such as TV, radios and, surprisingly magnets.

  • To avoid damaging disks, check that the drive light is off before taking a disk out.

  • If the drive light stays on, listen to the drive carefully to see if it is actually being accessed or if the drive light is simply stuck on.

  • When connecting up the Amiga, always connect the power cable last and when disconnecting take the lead out last.

  • Use a trackball instead of a mouse. It saves on desk space and creates less strain on the hands.

  • Clean your mouse regularly by removing the lock and ball underneath and scraping the tiny wheels inside with tissue.


The first came by my attempt to catalogue files on my hard drive and print it out and was achieved by typing

DIR PAR: DH0: opt a

This copied a list of names of the root directory of DH0: to the printer.

If you do not have the paper saving DIR command you can always type LIST instead. If this does not work properly try DIR PRT: DH0: opt a

Another tip to remember is if you can't copy an AmigaDos disk to hard drive then try to copy it too another disk and then copy that copy onto hard drive. It's worked on my machine at least once. Another excuse games use not to run is by demanding to be run from the root directory, so try writing a script file to copy it there whilst it is loading and delete when you finish.


How to make your own file finder

Imagine that you are looking for a number of files on your hard drive called BOB1, BOB2, and BOB3, but for some reason you want to find it from the CLI. Just type,

SEARCH DH0:#?BOB#? file all

This will produce of all the files that include these letters. It also checks all Subdirectories. You can also print the file list out to disk by typing:

LIST PRT: DH0:(#?/#?BOB#?)

You can even save it to a text file by typing:

LIST RAM:TextFile DH0:(#?/#?BOB#?)

If you are not sure on which partition the file is located, you can simply add more devices into the command.


Another way is too list all files on all partitions to a file.

LIST DH0: DH1: lformat "%F%S" all RAM:File


 How to make a list of your files

Most people know how to list all of the files on their hard drive. However, I'm sure there are many who do not know how NOT to list certain files. Confused? Then let me explain. Imagine you want a list of all the files on your hard drive, then you would type,


This would list all the files, including the .info files that contain all the icon information. However, you want to suppress these files as they are of no use to you. So you could simply type, LIST ~(Info) to get a list of all the files in the current directory without the Info extensions. In case you are looking for it, the Tilde (~) is created by pressing SHIFT (below CTRL)and the key next to 1 with the ' symbol.


Hey! This is a heading for a brilliant tip!

If you have owned your Amiga for a while you will know about the Shell History which allows you to view previous commands entered by pressing the up and down arrows. Well, you can use also find a particular command by typing the first few letters, such as dir. Now, if you hold the Shift and Up key it will immediately find and display the previous line which included that command. Who said the Amiga can't do file completion?

How to list icons in alphabetical order

Select all the icons in your selected window (Right Amiga-A) and select UnSnapshot from the menu, then select update and the icons will be ALPHABETICAL! All you have to do now is select Shapshot Window for the icons to order theirself in the window.



Latest updates to the Amiga History Guide. (more)

· Amiga Hardware
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· Amiga University
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