Note that you have been WARNED that AROS is still in development. Though
harddisk installation is well-developed by now; there is still an off chance
that it may corrupt existing partitions. If you want to be as safe as possible,
install AROS on its own harddisk. Other options would be: Making a full backup
beforehand, using a PC which does not contain anything you can't live without,
or use a virtual machine.
There are many free VMs available, such as VirtualPC, Q, QEMU and VMWare, which
are known to work with AROS. You can also use VmwAROS preinstalled environment
to try it out.
The most simple situation is that of installing AROS alone on the whole disk,
either a new one or one with some unneeded data on it. You might also use an
additional HDD for AROS.
Currently the installation is meant to be made by means of the InstallAROS
program, which is located in the Tools drawer on your BootCD. Please, launch
it by clicking on its icon. Once it's launched, it'll show you the greeting
screen. Then click the Proceed button in the installer to get a screen
with installing options.
You can see the current installing device (ata.device) and its unit (0),
which is your first HDD. If you intend to install on additional disk, please,
change this number. To find out the number, you can use a /Tools/HDToolbox
utility. Check the option Only use free space if you want to keep current
partitions as they are, or select Wipe disk to erase existing data on
the hard drive. You can set the size of new AROS partition if you wish, and
add an extra WORK partition to install programs on it. After you click
the Proceed button again, installAROS will create the partition or
partitions, and after that it will ask you to reboot. After the reboot, please
start InstallAROS again.
This time, the option Use existing AROS partitions should be selected.
Proceed with this. You will see some extra options (defaults shown)
in a window:
[ ] Choose language Options
[x] Install AROS Core System
[x] Install Extra Software
[ ] Install Development Software
[x] Install Bootloader
- Choose language Options allows you to select the locale of your newly
installed system (by launching the /Extras/Locale program).
- Install AROS Core System allows installing of all AROS base programs
that the OS needs to function properly.
- Install Extra Software allows installing additional programs (located
in the /Extras drawer and, if selected, on the WORK partition).
- Install Development Software allows the installation of development
software, like programming languages.
- Install Bootloader enables installing of GRUB bootloader to the MBR of
HD. (There can be some situations where you don't need to install this.)
Make your choice and click the Proceed button.
On the next installer screen you can choose which partitions you want to
format and copy files to, and whether a WORK partition is used and whether
files should be copied to it:
Destination Partition [x] Format Partition
[ ] Use 'WORK' Partition
[ ] Copy Extras and Development Files to Work
Work Partition [ ] Format Partition
After you made your choices and proceed, the installer will show the GRUB
installation device and the path to the GRUB files for you to check.
Proceeding, you will see the last screen before installation, which will warn
you about the pre-alpha status of the AROS install process. After clicking
Proceed one last time, you should see the installer doing its work.
You may be asked to select your keyboard type and locale settings, then the
files are being copied. This may take a while; be patient, please.
After the installation is finished, you can remove the AROS Live CD from the
CD-ROM drive and reboot into your newly-installed AROS system.
(almost deprecated) Using InstallAROS is recommended.
As the InstallAROS is functional now, the following information is kind of
deprecated but still can be of some interest, so it's been kept here for
Although AROS can be installed to a hard drive, please be aware that
HDToolBox is known to contain bugs. It should not remove or wipe any
partitions if not asked to do so, but this cannot be guaranteed.
So please note that generally you should not install AROS on a
working machine whose HD contains valuable data, as there is a real
possibility of data loss. We take no responsibility for any
data loss that occurs. Any bug reports on the installation
process will, however, be appreciated.
Single partition install
This describes how to install AROS as the only system on a PC and install it
on a single partition. This is an easier installation example.
This chapter can be found a bit tricky, as the install feature is incomplete.
First, remember a common rule for this process - reboot after any
significant change made to the file system (we will note where it is
needed). Rebooting means closing the HDToolbox window if it's open and
restarting the computer or VM, so it's a hard reset. You can also try a soft
reset by typing <reboot> ENTER in CLI window.
First, find a tool on the AROS CD called HDToolBox. It's located in the
Tools drawer. This is your HD tormenter for a while. When you start it,
you will see a window with a device-type selector. In this example (here
and further on), we are using a real or virtual IDE hard drive (also
known as an ATA hard drive). So, clicking on the ata.device entry will
show Devices:1 in the left window. This is your HD. By clicking on
this entry, you'll enter the available HD list.
So here you should see your HD listed. If it's a virtual HD, you'll see
something like QEMU Harddisk or the equivalent VMWare one. If your HD is
real, you should see its name. If this doesn't happen, you must make
sure you've correctly prepared your HD. Clicking on the HD name will
give you some information:
Size: <Size of HD>
Partition Table: <type of current PT; must be unknown after cleanup>
Partitions: <count of partitions on HD; must be 0 as you've just started>
Now, you should create a new partition table. IN this case, for a PC, you
should create a PC-MBR type of table. To do this, please press the Create
Table button and choose PC-MBR from the list. Click OK.
Then write the changes to disk. To do this, click on the HD's name and press
Save Changes. Answer Yes in the confirmation dialog. Close the HDToolbox
window and reboot the system from the Live CD.
After the system boots up, start HDToolbox again. Now, after entering the
ata.device entry you should see the info "Partition table: PC-MBR. You
should also see "Partitions:0", as you set no partitions yet.
To set the partitions, click on the HD's name to go to the partitions list.
The list is still empty. Click on Create Entry button, choose all the space,
by clicking on unselected empty space, and click OK. You should now see an
entry "Partition 0" in the list. Choose it by clicking, to get this
Size: <Partition size. Almost equal to HD size>
Partition table: Unknown <Not created yet>
Partition type: AROS RDB Partition table <A possibility>
Active: No <Not active>
Bootable: No <Not bootable>
Automount: No <Will not mount on system startup>
A choice can be made here - Either making a partition in a RDB table, or in a
PC-MBR partition. RDB (Rigid Disk Block) is the choice of compatibility; it
was used in Amiga HDD's partitioning, and it can be used here too. Yet, AROS
also supports FFS partitions created within a common PC-MBR table, similar to
normal PC partitions like FAT/NTFS/etc., and this can be considered somewhat
more modern and more compatible to some new AROS programs. Here follow
paragraphs on both cases.
FFS in RDB
Click on the Create Table button, select RDB table and click OK. To save
changes, go one level up by clicking the Parent button, select the HD name
again and click the Save Changes button. Answer Yes in the confirmation
dialog twice. Exit from HDToolbox and reboot the machine.
FFS in MBR
...to be added
After booting up, start HDToolbox (again). The info for your Partition 0 has
not changed, except that the partition table should now be as you set it, RDB
or MBR. This partition must be set to Active. To do this, click on the
Switches button, select the Active checkbox and click OK. And again save
the changes by going a level up and clicking the button. Exit and reboot.
The reason you're told to reboot so often is that HDToolbox and the system
libraries it uses are still unfinished and quite buggy, and rebooting after
every step ensures they return to their initial state.
After boot up, HDToolbox should show you that Partition 0 has become active.
Once it is active, you should create your disk to install AROS on. Go
one level down by clicking on the "Partition 0" entry. Click the Add Entry
button and choose all the empty space. Now you should see see a "DH0" entry
there, which is your disk. Clicking on it shows information:
Partition Table: Unknown <don't worry about it>
Partition Type: Fast Filesystem Intl <As intended>
Active: No <Not active>
Bootable: No <Not bootable>
Automount: No <Will not mount on system startup>
Now, go 2 levels up to the HD name, click Save Changes, confirm, exit
After booting up HDToolbox (again!), you should now set the switches to the
DH0 drive. Go to the DH0 entry and set switches with the relevant button and
check boxes: Bootable: Yes and Automount: Yes. Go 2 levels up, save
changes, confirm and reboot. You're more than half way now!
After starting up HDToolbox (once more), check the settings for DH0. They
should all be OK now. If so, you can exit HDToolbox with no hesitation. Now
it's time for some CLI magic.
You need to format your created DH0 drive to make it usable. Currently, AROS
has a choice of two file systems - Fast FileSystem (FFS) and Smart FileSystem
FFS is known to be somewhat more stable and compatible to most programs,
while SFS is more fail-proof and advanced, but still has some issues with some
Currently you have to set it to FFS, because GRUB bootloader doesn't support
SFS. (GRUB2 will.) Also, please note that with SFS you can get problems using
some ported software, such as gcc. So, open the CLI window (right click on
upper menu and select Shell from the first Wanderer menu). At the prompt,
enter the Info command (type info and press Enter). You should see your
DH0 in the list as DH0: Not a valid DOS disk. Now format it with the
>format DRIVE=DH0: NAME=AROS FFS INTL
About to format drive DH0:. This will destroy all data on the drive. Are
you sure ? (y/N)
Enter y, press Enter and wait a second. You should see the string
Formatting...done displayed. If you got an error, use HDToolbox to check
all partition parameters, as you may have missed something, and after saving
and rebooting, repeat.
If you're experiencing problems with format (such as ERROR messages,
especially when using partitions in RDB), though this is unlikely, you can try
the good old Amiga FORMAT64 utility:
>extras/aminet/format64 DRIVE DH0: Name AROS FFS INTL
If you enter the Info command again, it should now show:
>DH0: <size> <used> <free> <full 0%> <errors> <r/w state> <FFS> <AROS>
That's it. Before the installation, reboot.
If all this seems to be so boring that you can't stand it, there's
some relief if you intend to use AROS only on a virtual machine.
First, you can get a pre-installed pack, such as WinAROS/WinAROS
Lite - this system is already installed, though it can be outdated.
Second, you can look at the AROS Archives for the Installation
Kit, which contains ready-made virtual HD's that are already
created and formatted, ready for the installation, so you can skip
the previous procedure and install a fresh version of AROS.
Copying the system
After reboot, you may notice that you can see your AROS HD on the desktop
now, and it's empty. You'll now need to fill it with files.
Now after the Drag 'n' Drop support developed in AROS the whole system can be
easily copied from LiveCD by just dragging files to DH0: drawer. It's only
left to replace the file dh0:boot/grub/menu.lst with
There's an installer in AROS, as incomplete as HDToolbox is, but it can
be used. At least, you can try. So, here's the first way to install.
1. Run InstallAROS in the Tools drawer. You will see the welcome screen
telling you the same again that you're using the alpha version. Continue
anyway. There's a Proceed button for you to click. Next, you will see the
AROS Public License, and you should accept it to go further. Now you will see
the install options window (where it says No, just uncheck the relevant
Show Partitioning Options... 
<No. As you've done that already>
Format Partitions 
<No. You've done that as well>
Choose Language Options 
<No. It's better to do that later>
Install AROS Core System [V]
<Yes, that's what you're here for>
Install Extra Software [V]
<Yes. Uncheck only if you want a lite installation>
Install Development Software 
<No. This is mostly a placeholder at a moment>
Show Bootloader Options [V]
<Yes, bootloader will not be installed otherwise>
Note that Show Partitioning Options can be unselectable and greyed out
if the installer is unable to find any suitable partition.
After you've made the selection you want, click Proceed.
The next window shows you possible installation destinations:
DH0 <that's correct>
Use 'Work' Partition 
<uncheck it, you're installing all-on-one>
Copy Extras and Developer Files to Work? 
<uncheck it, as you're not using Work>
Work drive ... <skipped>
Now after you unchecked those, click Proceed. The window showing bootloader
options should appear. Here you can only check whether GRUB, the GRand
Unified Bootloader, is to be installed to DH0 and on which device. Click
Now the window says it's ready to install. Click Proceed (once again).
After that, the copying progress bar will appear as files are copied. Wait
until after a while the process finishes. After that, you will get the
finishing screen and a Reboot checkbox. Leave this checked and click
Proceed. Now your machine will reboot with the same settings as before, from
the Live CD. You're almost there!
Installing the bootloader
You should again see your AROS disk, and all files should be there. Since
you've already installed the bootloader in previous steps, nothing should be
Well, if you used a fresh nightly build then
GRUB should already be installed and
working, and you can skip the step in the next paragraphs. If not, please
In older versions (before Nov. 2006) there was a bug in GRUB, preventing it
from installing correctly on the first try. So if you can't boot now, and get
messages like GRUB GRUB FRUB etc., please read the following.
A second try to install it usually helps to solve it. So, now you'll need
InstallAROS once again. Repeat all the previous steps from point 1, but
uncheck every checkbox. After the last click on Proceed, GRUB will be
reinstalled, and a window will appear asking you to confirm that write. Answer
yes as many times as needed. Now, on the last page, uncheck the Reboot
checkbox, close the Install program and power off the machine.
Alternatively, GRUB can be installed from shell with this command:
c:install-i386-pc device ata.device unit 0 PN <pn> grub dh0:boot/grub kernel dh0:boot/aros-i386.gz
where PN <pn> (or PARTITIONNUMBER <pn>) is the number of partition where GRUB
bootloader will be installed.
Preparing to boot
You've now followed your first installation alchemy course, and AROS should
be ready now. Remove the Live CD from the CD drive (or disable booting from
CD in VM) and check it out. You've made it!
The installation process is one of the topics most frequently asked about on
forums, mostly by newbies. You can check the FAQ to see if there's an answer
to your questions.