the universal Amiga disk image file tool


The xdftool is a tool from the amitools tool set that allows to read disk images intended for Amiga emulators like ADF or HDF files and display or extract their contents. Furthermore, you can

  • create new ADF or HDF images

  • copy files from the image

  • copy your own files to it

  • master own images

  • repack existing images

  • work on partitions inside RDISK/RDB hdf images or on real disks


xdftool is a command line utility that is always called with an image file path name as the first argument and with one or more commands working on this image:

> xdftool <image.adf|image.hdf> <command> [option]

You can issue multiple commands on a single image by concatenating them with a plus character:

> xdftool <image.[ah]df> <command1> [options1] + <command2> [options2] ...

For Example::

> xdftool test.adf format ``My Image`` + makedir c + write myfile c


This section describes the commands available for xdftool. You can always issue a help command to see all commands:

> xdftool test.adf help

Inspect Image

list - Display the list of files

list [<ami_path>] [all] [info] [detail]

This command lists the given directory in the image.

The info option appends some statistics information at the end of the list including used blocks, bytes and file bytes. Each file or directory is display with name, size, protection flags, modification date and comment (if available).

The detail options replaces the comment with details on the file``s storage including number of data blocks and file system blocks.

The all option shows a directory recursively, i.e. also its contained directories.

If no <ami_path> is given then the full contents of the volume contained in the image will be listed. This implies the all and info options.


> xdftool test.adf list         ; show whole image
> xdftool test.adf list /       ; same command
> xdftool test.adf list c all   ; show 'C' directory on image

type - Display the contents of a file

type <ami_path>

The contents of the specified Amiga file will be written to the standard output. This is useful to quickly see the contents of a file in an image.


> xdftool wb310.adf type s/startup-sequence
> xdftool pics.adf type mycool.ilbm | ilbmtoppm > img.ppm

info - Disk Image Information


Display information on the disk image. This will display the number of blocks totally available in the disk image, the number of used and free blocks. Additionally, the corresponding byte values are printed.


> xdftool wb310.adf info
Blocks:   total:     1760   used:     1698  free:       62
Bytes:    total:   901120   used:   869376  free:    31744

read - Read file data or directory tree from an Image

read <ami_path> [sys_path]

If <ami_path> is a file then the file contents will be read and copied to your hosts file system. If no <sys_path> is given then the Amiga file will be written to the host’s current directory with the base name of the <ami_path>. If the <sys_path> is given and is a directory then the file will be written there. Otherwise the <syspath> is the file name for the host file.

If the <ami_path> is a directory then the full directory structure including files and sub directories will be transferred to the host’s file system. If no <sys_path> is given then the directory tree will be created in host’s current directory. If <sys_path> is available then the directory will be created in this path. Otherwise the directory will be named as <sys_path>.


> xdftool wb310.adf read c/dir     ; copy file 'dir' to host's current dir
> xdftool wb310.adf read c/dir .   ; same command
> xdftool wb310.adf read c/dir a   ; copy file 'dir' to host file 'a'
> xdftool wb310.adf read devs      ; copy 'devs' dir tree to current dir
> xdftool wb310.adf read devs .    ; same command
> xdftool wb310.adf read devs b    ; copy dir tree 'devs' to host dir 'b'

blkdev - Show information on the underlying block device


Displays the number of cylinders, heads, and sectors available in the image``s block device

open - Open existing image for processing

open [part=<name|number>] [chs=<cyls>,<heads>,<secs>] [h=<heads>] [s=<secs>]

This command opens an existing image for further processing. This is typically the first command in a command list as it allows all other commands to work on the selected file system.

Most often you do not need to specify this command as it will be automatically prepended if its missing. In this case all parameters for opening the input disk image are determined automatically.

If the parameters can’t be detected or you don’t want to use the detected values then you specify the open command explicetly.

The part option is useful if you access a RDISK or RDB hdf image. In this case the image holds a full disk with multiple partitions. xdftool can only work on a single partition or file system and thus you must select which partition to work on. You can either give a number selecting the n-th partition (startin with 0, of course!) or give the device name associated with this partition (e.g. dh0) without the colon.

The chs or h and s options are useful for HDF images without RDB to describe the disk geometry. xdftool has an algorithm to determine the disk geometry automatically from the byte size, but this approach might fail for some setups. In this case you can either fully specify the disk geometry with the chs option or guide the detection algorithm by giving a sector s and/or heads h value.


> xdftool mydisk.rdisk open part=dh1 + list  ; open partition 'dh1:' in image
> xdftool disk.hdf open chs=10,1,32 + list   ; open image with given geometry
> xdftool disk.hdf open h=5 s=16 + list      ; guide auto detection

Edit Image

create - Create a new image file

create [ size=<size> [h=<heads>] [s=<secs>] | chs=<cyls>,<heads>,<secs> ]

With this command you can create a new disk image file. If the disk image format has a fixed size (e.g. ADF) then you do not need to specify extra paramters to this command.

For a hard disk image (HDF) file you must either give the total size in bytes or the disk geometry in cylinders, heads, and sectors. If you specify only the size then the disk geometry will be automatically derived. You can use the optional paramters h and/or s to fixate parts of the disk geometry and guide the detection of the disk layout.

Please note that the create command only creates an empty disk image that is not formatted yet. You will need the format command to create a valid empty file system on it.

You can’t create a RDB/RDISK image with this command. Use the rdbtool for this task.


> xdftool new.hdf create size=10Mi     ; create an empty HDF image with 10Mi
> xdftool new.adf create               ; create an empty floppy disk image
> xdftool new.hdf create chs=10,1,32   ; create disk with given geometry
> xdftool new.hdf create size=10Mi h=2 ; force 2 heads

format - Format an existing or create a new disk image

format <volume_name> [dostype] [<create options>]

A new and blank OFS/FFS file system will be created on the given image file.


All data previously stored there will be lost!!!

The <volume_name> gives the name of the new file system. The optional dos_type gives the file system variant. Its the base type ofs or ffs combined with variant flags added with a plus + (and no spaces). Or you give a DOSx type of the file system in the range of DOS0 and DOS7.

The following variant flags are recognized:

  • intl for international mode.

  • dc or dircache for directory caching

  • ln or longname for long file name support

If the disk image file you specify does not exist on disk yet then an implicit create command will be executed first. If the file already exists you must use the create command if you want to create a resized image.


> xdftool empty.adf format 'My Empty Disk'   ; create a blank OFS disk image
> xdftool empty.hdf format Work size=10M     ; create a 10M hdf image
> xdftool empty.hdf format Work chs=640,1,32 ; create with given geometry
> xdftool empty.hdf format Work size=10M ffs ; create an FFS hdf image
> xdftool empty.hdf create size=10M + format Work ffs ; same result
> xdftool empty.hdf format Work size=10M ffs+ln ; create with long name support

boot - Alter the boot block

boot show [hex] [asm]
boot read <file>
boot write <file>
boot install [boot1x]
boot clear

This command allows to inspect and modify the boot block of a disk.

The show command displays the contents of the boot block. The hex and asm alloy you to add a hex dump display of the boot block and even a disassembly. (This requires the vda68k disassembler in the current path)

The read command reads the boot code (if available) from the disk image and stores it in the given host file. The write command allows you write back boot code stored in a file to the disk image. The checksum of the block will be adjusted automatically.

The install command allows to write a typical WB 2.x/3.x boot code to the disk to make it bootable. If you specify the boot1x option then a WB 1.x boot code will be written instead.

The clear command will remove the boot code from the boot block and invalidates the checksum so that the disk is not bootable anymore.


> xdftool my.adf boot show               ; show the boot block
> xdftool my.adf boot read boot.code     ; read boot code from disk
> xdftool my.adf boot write boot.code    ; write boot code back to disk
> xdftool my.adf boot install            ; make disk bootable
> xdftool my.adf boot clear              ; make disk not bootable anymore

makedir - Create a new directory

makedir <ami_path>

This will create a new directory a the given <ami_path>. Note that all preceeding directories need to exist already otherwise an error will be issued.


> xdftool empty.adf makedir c      ; create a new directory called 'c'

write - Write a host file or a host directory tree to the image

write <sys_path> [ami_path]

If the given <sys_path> is a file then the contents of the file will be read and stored with the same name in the top-level directory of the image’s volume. If <ami_path> is specified then the file will be stored there. If <ami_path> is a directory then the file is placed there. Otherwise the file will be renamed to the given name.

If the given <sys_path> is a directory then this directory including all contained files will be transferred to the image. If <ami_path> is given and a directory then the host directory will be created there. Otherise the host directory will be renamed to the given name.


> xdftool empty.adf write README      ; the host file 'README' is written to
                                      ; the volume's root directory
> xdftool empty.adf write README /    ; same command
> xdftool empty.adf write README c    ; write to 'c' directory (if exists)
                                      ; or rename to file 'c'
> xdftool empty.adf write mydir       ; the host directory 'mydir' is written

delete - Delete a file or directory

delete <ami_path> [all] [wipe]

Delete the file or directory given with <ami_path>.

If a directory is specified then it must be empty otherwise delete will fail. If you specify all then the contents of a directory is deleted first and it allows you to delete non-empty directory trees.

The wipe option ensures that all freed blocks in the delete operation are erased with zero bytes.


> xdftool mydisk.adf delete README    ; delete the 'README' file
> xdftool mydisk.adf delete c/dir     ; delete file 'dir' in dir 'c'
> xdftool mydisk.adf delete c         ; delete 'c' dir if its empty
> xdftool mydisk.adf delete c all     ; delete 'c' including all contents

protect - Change the protect flags of a file or directory

protect <ami_path> [+/-]<flags>

This command alters the protect flags associated with the given <ami_path>. The flags to be set are given with any combination of the characters hsparwed. You can prefix the flags with either + or - to add or remove flags from the current flag set. If no prefix is given then the given flags erase the old ones.


> xdftool mydisk.adf protect test rwe  ; set the flags 'rwe' to file 'test'
> xdftool mydisk.adf protect test -w   ; remove the 'f' flag
> xdftool mydisk.adf protect test +d   ; add the 'd' flag

comment - Change the comment of a file or directory

comment <ami_path> <comment_string>

The given string <comment_string> will be written as a comment to the given <ami_path> file or directory. If you want to clear the comment then simply set an empty string.


> xdftool mydisk.adf comment test 'what a nice comment' ; set a comment
> xdftool mydisk.adf comment test ''  ; remove comment/set empty one

time - Change the modification time of a file or directory

time <ami_path> <time_string>

This command changes the modification time associated with the given <ami_path> file or directory. The time string must have the following notation (and needs to be quoted because of the contained spaces):

'06.07.1986 14:38:56.45'
'06.07.1986 14:38:56'

The first notation allows to specify the number of ticks (1/50th s) in a time stamp.


> xdftool mydisk.adf time test '06.07.1986 14:38:56.45'
> xdftool mydisk.adf time mydir '06.07.1986 14:38:56'

relabel - Change the name of the volume

relabel <new_name>

Set a new name for the volume.


> xdftool my.adf relabel 'A New Name'

root - Change parameters of the root block

root show
root create_time <time_string>
root disk_time <time_string>
root time <time_string>

This command set allows to show and alter the information stored in the root block of the file system.

The show command displays the contents of the root block.

The create_time, disk_time, time sub commands allow you change the volume``s creation, total disk and modification time respectively. All commands require a valid time string (see time command above for details).


> xdftool my.adf root show
> xdftool my.adf root create_time '06.07.1986 14:38:56.45'
> xdftool my.adf root disk_time '06.07.1986 14:38:56'
> xdftool my.adf root time '06.07.1986 14:38:56.45'

Pack/Repack/Unpack Images

The xdftool provides advanced commands to convert the whole contents of a disk image to a host file system and allows to later on reconstruct the image from the files only.

Un/packing Explained

Unpacking a disk image means that starting from the volume’s root all directories and files contained in the image will be extracted to the host file system and the same directory tree will be recreated. The host file system structure starts with a directory named after the volume.

The host file system now contains the directory tree with all files and directories. The contents of the files is also readily available. What’s still missing are the meta infos available in the Amiga disk image but not found in the host file system: protection flags, comments and modification time in tick resolution.

These missing meta infos are stored in a MetaDB file called <volume>.xdfmeta. In the header line meta infos of the volume are stored including volume name, dos_type, and the root time stamps. Then for each file of the image an entry line is created that states the file or directory name followed by a colon and the meta infos: protection flags, modification time stamp and comment.

If the disk image is bootable then a file called <volume>.bootcode is created. This holds the boot code that is required to make the disk bootable again.

Finally, for HDF images a file called <volume>.blkdev is created that holds the disk geometry of the original HDF file. The file only contains the values <cylinder>,<heads>,<sectors>.

With the volume’s directory tree, the meta info DB and optional bootcode and blkdev files in place you have everything on your host file system to allow the exact recreation of an disk image later on. This recreation is called packing in xdftool.

You can also use packing to master Amiga disk images: Simply create a volume directory tree on your host file system and call xdftool’s pack command to create an image file from it. If you want to adjust the meta infos then add a .xdfmeta MetaDB file and everything will be set as needed on packing.

Repacking allows you to combine the unpacking and repacking operations in one step. The command is useful to defragment and rebuild the whole file system in a new image with the exact same contents. It is also possible to create a new image with different size in the pack step. This allows you to expand or shrink the image.

unpack - Extract a disk image to the host``s file system

unpack <sys_dir> [fsuae]

The disk image volume’s directory tree will be completely extracted to the host file system at <sys_dir>. First a directory with the volume’s name is created and inside all files and directories of the image.

Furthermore, a MetaDB file called <volume_name>.xdfmeta is created right next to the volume’s directory. This file stores all meta infos from the volume and the contained files.

A <volume_name>.bootcode file is created if the disk image is bootable. A <volume_name>.blkdev file is created to store the disk geometry of disk image’s block device.

If fsuae option is given then the meta data of each file is written to a FS-UAE compatible .uaem file right next to the original file. Use this option if you want to use the unpacked directory as a volume inside FS-UAE.


> xdftool mydisk.adf unpack .   ; unpack full image to current directory
> xdftool mydisk.hdf unpack .   ; same for hard disk images
> xdftool mydisk.hdf unpack .  fsuae  ; store meta info in .uaem files

pack - Create a disk image from host files

pack <volume_dir> [blkdev_size]

If you have unpacked a disk image then you can pack it again with this command. Simply specify the volume’s directory. Note: All data available in the disk image will be lost and overwritten!!!

If a MetaDB called <volume_dir>.xdfmeta exists then the files in the images will be created with correct protection flags, modification time and comment.

Pack automatically detects if a FS-UAE meta file with .uaem extension is available and then extracts the file’s meta info there.

If a boot code file called <volume_dir>.bootcode is available then this code is written to the image``s boot block and made bootable.

If a HDF image will be packed then the block device must be specified either by specifying blkdev_size (e.g. 10M or 640,1,32 see format command) or a file called <volume_dir>.blkdev must be available with cylinder, heads, sectors settings.


> xdftool newimg.adf pack WB3.1  ; pack a disk image from host dir 'WB3.1'
> xdftool newimg.hdf pack Dir 10M ; pack host dir 'Dir' into a 10M HD image

repack - Repack the contents of one image into another one

repack <src_img.[ah]df> [<open options>]

This command allows you to rebuild an existing disk image by combining the unpack and pack commands on the fly without creating a host file system representation.

This command is very useful to better stuff and de-fragment data on a file system that already performed lots of delete and create operations.

You always specify the image from which you want to import. The target image is the image you specify on the xdftool command line.

If you are repacking from a HDF image then you can add options like to the open command to specify the disk geometry or the partition in a RDB image. If nothing is specified then the target size is taken from the source size.

You can prepend a create command to repack a HDF to another sized HDF.


> xdftool new.adf repack old.adf            ; repack 'old.adf' into 'new.adf'
> xdftool new.hdf repack old.hdf chs=10,2,32; repack 'old.hdf' with given geo
> xdftool new.hdf create size=10M + repack old.hdf ; repack to larger disk
> xdftool new.hdf repack old.rdisk part=dh0 ; repack one partition of a disk

Low-Level Commands

xdftool also provides a set of low-level commands that let you look into details of the file system to better understand its inner workings. These commands are suitable for experts only.

bitmap - Inspect the block allocation bitmap of the file system

bitmap info
bitmap free [brief]
bitmap used [brief]
bitmap find [n]
bitmap all [brief]
bitmap maps [brief]
bitmap root [brief]
bitmap node <ami_path> [all] [entries] [brief]

The info command calculates the free and used blocks.

The free and used commands show the unallocated/allocated blocks on the disk. Use the brief option to show only bitmap lines with contents.

The find command calls the block allocator and tells you what would be the next free block on the disk. Give a number n to reserve a sequence of blocks.

The all command shows all allocations in the bitmap. maps shows the blocks allocated by the bitmap itself. root gives the root block.

The node command requires an <ami_path> on the image and shows the blocks allocated for the given file or directory. If a directory is specified and the all option is given then all blocks occupied by files and sub dirs are also shown. If the entries option is given then a directory and its entries are shown.

The bitmap output used different characters to code the block meaning:


no information available


reserved blocks


unallocated/free block


allocated/used block


volume dir/root block


root block


directory header block


directory cache block


file header block


file data block


file extension block


bitmap block


bitmap extension block


> xdftool test.adf bitmap free brief
> xdftool test.adf bitmap used
> xdftool test.adf bitmap find 10
> xdftool test.adf bitmap all
> xdftool test.adf bitmap node C entries brief

block - Show blocks of the file system

block boot
block root
block node <ami_path> [data]
block dump <block_no>

The boot and root sub commands simply show the boot and root block (similar to boot show and root show commands above).

The node sub command requires an <ami_path> and shows all blocks associated with this file or directory. If data option is given then also data blocks of a file are included in the display. Otherwise only structure blocks are shown.

The dump command requires a block number and simply gives a hex dump of the block``s data


> xdftool test.adf block boot
> xdftool test.adf block root
> xdftool test.adf block node c
> xdftool test.adf block node myfile data
> xdftool test.adf block dump 880