What a difference a few extra MHz, a couple of megs of RAM and hard drive storage make to a standard A500. A whole new world of productivity and ease of use is opened up. So why not take the next step and ditch those boring icons and smooth out the fonts while keeping the OS lean and more usable?
Classic Workbench (http://classicwb.abime.net/) provide packages of very handy prebuilt Workbench installs, however for my requirements, I wanted all the eye candy while keeping the system as fast as possible. So I rolled my own, so to speak…
The ACA500+ comes packaged with the WB3.1 install disks in it’s ROM’s, selecting f7 at the boot menu loads up a lite version of WB. At this point you can configure and prep. hard drives and then install Commodore’s standard WB environment. This is essentially the same process as booting AmigaOS from floppy disk.
The utility that should be installed first is LHA, practically every download from aminet will be supplied in the LHA compression format. Installing a lean decompression utility is as simple as:
Download the LHA utility from http://aminet.net/package/util/arc/lha
Open the shell utility and navigate to it’s location on the hard drive
Type: lha.run Ram: // LHA will be extracted onto the Ram Disk
Type: Copy Ram:lha_68k C:lha
LHA decompression is now available on your machine from the command line. An example command to extract a file inside the current directory would be: lha x some_file.lha.
LZX is another popular compression format used on the Amiga. There are a few versions floating around the internet and Aminet, the best version I have found is the Y2K patched version, complete with the keyfile.
Download LZX utility from: http://xavprods.free.fr/lzx/files/LZX_Y2KF.LHA
Extract the file contents to the Ram disk, from shell, navigate to the files location. Type: lha x LZX_Y2KF.LHA Ram:
Copy the keyfile to the L: folder: Copy Ram:lzx.keyfile L:
Rename lzx_68000ec-r to lzx and copy to the C: directory: Copy Ram: lzx C:
Installer is a handy little utility that is required to install a good many Amiga programs.
Download Installer – http://aminet.net/package/util/misc/Installer-43_3
Decompress onto the Ram disk: lha x Installer-43_3.lha Ram:
Finally, move the utility over into the C: folder Copy Ram:Installer43_3/Installer C:
Magic User Interface (MUI)
MUI is one of those tools (well libs really) that is indispensable. Not only is it adapt in assisting other programs to spruce up Workbench’s interface, but it is required by some applications to actually work. If eventually you want to get into Cyberspace, the TCP/IP stack MiamiDX and the mail client YAM require the MUI extensions to be present on the system.
Download MUI at: http://www.mikeslab.net/files/Amiga/mui38usr.lha and the keyfile at: http://www.mikeslab.net/files/Amiga/MUIKey.zip
Extract MUI 3.8 in the method illustrated in the last three steps (notice the pattern?)
The keyfile will need to be a extracted on a Windows or OS X machine and then copied over on a CF card or Gotek. It is possible though that this version of MUI will auto install a keyfile for you. If not, the keyfile should reside in the S: folder.
Finally the eye candy our Amiga’s have been craving. If you have followed the previous steps to this point, you should be set to install your new interface.
Download http://www.fatcat.vispa.com/keyring/Keycupboard/MagicWB20R.lha and extract the archive as per the previous steps.
After extracting MagicWB20R.lha, from shell run MagicWB20.run. The supplied auto extractor tries to look for a disk and will fail to work.
Follow the programs steps and restart!
One handy bit of advise to those new to the Amiga, you can move essential or frequently used programs like Shell to the desktop screen by:
Left clicking on the icon of the app/game you want a “shortcut” for and then right click and look for “leave out” option in the menu — This uses extra ram though.
When finished use the “put away” option on it..
A couple of other handy utilities you may wish to consider are:
ADF to disk writer: http://aminet.net/package/disk/misc/adfblitzer – for writing downloaded ADF’s to real floppy disks.
SysInfo: http://sysinfo.d0.se/ – http://download.d0.se/pub/SysInfo.lha – Just to gloat how fast your machine is 😉
About the author:
Will Williams is a born again Amiga nut who babies his machines and loves to write about them.
You can follow him here on everythingamiga.com, on his own site www.countingvirtualsheep.com or stalk him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/willwilliams68k (@willwilliams68k).