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/// AmigaWorks
    By Boydell Brown and Douglas R. Cootey

                       Life after Death
                     (or "Mounting RAD:")

       It's 2 o'clock in the morning.  You've been typing all
through the evening on the term paper that is due the next
morning.  And then it happens:  the dreaded software failure.
The flashing red border is like a beacon from Hell, signifying
the death of all your work and effort.  With your term paper
transformed into digital smoke, you wonder if you should have
been playing that old PD game on Workbench2.0 during your break.
What will you do?
       You have several options, actually.  This first, of course,
is to start over from whatever point you last saved your work on
disk.  Didn't save anything on disk?  You preferred the quick
access of RAM, you say?  Well, you could simply slide in a
stick of dynamite into your disk drive, then stand back.  Or
you could cram your computer down the garbage disposal while
it's still plugged in.  If you leave the water on, it should put
on quite a show.  These later solutions don't help you get your
paper done any faster, but at least they would make you feel
better.  Then again, you could have saved everything in RAD: to
begin with.  Even after the software failure, your term paper
would still be there when your Workbench booted back up.


       What makes RAD so unique is that it is a virtual disk
drive.  Now, the term "virtual" is tossed about a lot these days.
In fact, one could almost say it is a virtual buzzword for our
modern times.  It basically means "almost like the real thing,
except that its not."  The RAD device is a partition of your
computer's memory that pretends that it is a real disk drive.
You can format it, you can copy disks to it, and you can reboot
from it.  You'll find the RAD device configured in the mountlist
within your Devices directory ("devs" for short), unless you have
WB2.1 where RAD is stored in the Storage drawer.  In addition,
RAD cannot function without the "ramdrive.device", also in your
Devices directory, and the ramhandler in your L directory.  These
directories are located on your System disk.  For Workbench2.0
owners, these programs are resident within the 2.0 Kickstart
       By the way, your "RAM Disk" is also a virtual device.
Where the two differ is in their (meta)physical makeup.  Unlike
the "RAM Disk", RAD will survive a warm boot.  This means that
when you reset your Amiga by holding down the Control-Amiga-Amiga
keys, everything in RAM will be a virtual memory, whereas RAD
will be waiting for you when the Workbench screen loads back up
complete with all the files you had stored in there before your
system went to Red Alert.  Often, the RAD disk can even survive a
system crash.


       Now that you know what the RAD device is, and where its
information is stored, you may be interested in knowing how to
use it.  We have already mentioned how useful RAD is to use as
a storage disk.  Since it is a partition of your RAM, reading
and writing to the RAD disk is exceptionally fast.  Coupled  with
its ability to survive everything except a power outage, it makes
an excellent place to store your current works in progress.
Another excellent aspect of the RAD device is that it is
bootable.  If you were to copy your system disk onto a large
enough RAD disk, you could have your Amiga reboot from memory.
Not only does this give you a very quick boot-up, but it also
frees up one of your real disk drives, allowing you to transfer
information much more conveniently and saving you from constantly
inserting your Workbench disk during disk validation.  Even
though 2.0 uses resident commands to validate disks, you will
find that freeing up two disk drives is still very helpful.  For
owners of hard drives that are not autobootable, a smaller RAD
disk can be mounted that can pass system control to your hard
disk without having to insert the boot-up disk when you want to
       These are simply a few suggestions for the use of RAD.  You
may think of others that meet your own individual needs.  Doug
likes to mount RAD when he's optimizing disks with B.A.D.  By
optimizing the source disk to RAD, then optimizing RAD to the
source disk, he achieves blazingly fast results.


       Mounting RAD is as easy as inputting any other AmigaDOS
command.  Forget about sensible English for a while, and let your
mind become one with DOS.  You will need to use your mouse for
this first step.  Relish the experience while you can.  AmigaDOS
may be powerful, but it is as intuitive as a brick in the face.
       Open up your Shell icon by double clicking on it.  If you
have Shell, then you shouldn't bother with the CLI.  Amazing as
it may seem, we have met people who actually never use the
Shell, but instead prefer to use the CLI.  These people seemed to
know that the Shell was somehow more powerful than its ugly
brother, but were too intimidated by AmigaDOS in the first
place to even find out why.  The truth is that the Shell is a
CLI (Command Line Interface), and that it operates from the "CLI"
within your System directory.  Where the Shell is different is
that it has a  memory buffer, and it allows the use of aliases,
whereas the CLI does not.  By WB2.x, though, the CLI and the
Shell were one and the same.
       We will pad our AmigaDOS commands with blank lines for
legibility.  In  addition, we will put comments out to the side
after a semicolon (;).  DO NOT input anything after a semicolon
into your Shell window.  This is not to say that your Amiga will
explode if you do, but that AmigaDOS knows that everything after
a semi-colon is a comment, and so should you.  These comments are
there for your benefit and not AmigaDOS's.
       Type the following into the Shell window:

       mount RAD:  ;Remember to hit <Return>

       If you typed in the above statement correctly, then you will
get another Shell prompt (>).  That's it.  You've mounted your
RAD device.  If you were expecting something to happen on your
Workbench, then you will need to access your RAD disk from the
Shell.  For example, type the following to list the contents of

       list RAD:

       Since there is nothing in your RAD at this moment, you will
not see very much.  However, you should have noticed the RAD's
icon popped up onto your Workbench.  From now on, you can access
RAD as you would access any other disk drive:  with your mouse
or through the Shell.  Most of the work has already been done for
you in the mountlist we referred to earlier.  For WB2.1, the
mountlist is the "RAD" file.  Every time you reboot your
computer, RAD and everything you stored in it will always be
there.  If you wish to reclaim the memory RAD takes up (unlike
the RAM disk, RAD  allocates a specific amount of memory) you
will either need to  physically shut off your Amiga with the
power switch, or you can type the following into the Shell:

       remrad   ;Removes RAD.  "REMRAD RAD:" for 2.x users

       This will delete all of RAD's files, and liberate all that
memory back to the system.  Now if you reboot, there will be no
RAD icon waiting for you next time.

       Since we only use the Shell if we have to, we like to have
RAD take its place on our Workbench as soon as possible so that
we can put the command line beast away.  A typical Shell session
to mount RAD for us may go as follows:

       mount RAD:

       relabel RAD: LAD  ;Life After Death

       diskchange RAD:   ;not necessary for 2.0 users


       In one fell swoop, we have mounted the RAD device, renamed
it "LAD", and ended the Shell session.  1.3 users will need to
use the "diskchange" command in order to inform  AmigaDOS of the
name change.  AmigaDOS2.0 does this automatically.  Since you are
already in the Shell when you are mounting RAD, it is easier to
change the volume name there, than with the mouse from the
Workbench.  Another reason to rename RAD in the Shell, is that
for 1.3 users, AmigaDOS may not recognize the new name.  Of
course, you could always live with the name "RAMB0", which is
sure to impress even the staunchest IBM fanatic.
       In the event that the default RAD size is not to your
liking, there is a way to choose your own size.  Unfortunately,
this may take you far out of your comfort zone.  You will need
to use the delicate practicality of Ed (one of your AmigaDOS
commands) or even the very user friendly MEMACS.  Not to knock
these text editors too badly, but they are very intimidating for
the uninitiated.  You may want to find a Public Domain editor
that offers a more wordprocessor-like interface.  In fact, if
you have a word processor that accepts vanilla text (ASCII), you
may even want to use that, especially if you are more familiar
with it than the others we have mentioned.  Then, once you have
chosen your weapon, it is time to load it.

       Load the SYS:Devs/mountlist file into your text editor.
(SYS: is AmigaDOS for your Workbench disk.)  If you are using
Ed, you would type the following:

       ed devs/mountlist

       Never mind all of the cryptic entries in here; just keep
your eyes out for the entry for "RAD:".  We would also like to
point out that the "/*...*/" you see in front of each device
entry functions much like the ";" we used to set apart our
comments in the above examples.  The location of the RAD: entry
depends on which operating system you are using.  But whether it
is 1.3 or 2.05, the RAD: entry should look something like this:

       RAD:    Device = ramdrive.device

               Unit   = 0

               Flags  = 0

               Surfaces  = 2

               BlocksPerTrack = 11

               Reserved = 2

               Interleave = 0

               LowCyl = 0  ;  HighCyl = 21
               Buffers = 5

               BufMemType = 1


       Depending on what you want to do with your RAD disk, you
will need to set the "Cyl" values accordingly.  "Cyl" stands for
"Cylinder", which represents the amount of information this
device can hold.  For instance, a typical floppy disk has 80
cylinders, 0 to 79, which adds up to 880K of storage.  Therefore,
if you were to change the HighCyl value equal to 79, you would
have a RAD disk of 880K.  If you want to use RAD merely as a
safe, but convenient, storage area for your term papers while you
are typing them, you may find 880K a bit too large for your
needs, and also a waste of precious memory.  For those interested
in only forcing RAD to do their bidding without knowing too much
about it, remember the simple equation below to figure out how
many cylinders you need, and ignore the technical, boring stuff:

       Divide the amount of kilobytes you want by 11.

       For example, 880K divided by 11 gives us 80 cylinders.  If 0

represents the first, or Low, cylinder, then 79 would be the
eightieth cylinder.  Set your HighCyl to equal 79, and you have
a floppy disk in RAM!  If you only want a small portion of memory
reserved for RAD, say 220K, then divide that number by 11 and
set up your RAD entry with the resulting number.  Just remember
that the HighCyl value is calculated from 0, your LowCyl value,
meaning that 20 cylinders will yield a HighCyl value of 19, not
       Once you have changed the high cylinder value to meet your
needs, save the file, and mount RAD.  Of course, you will need
to make sure RAD is not already mounted in order to see the size
change.  In the event that RAD already exists, you will need to
either use "remrad", then reset your Amiga with the hot keys
(called a soft boot), or you will need to completely shut off
your Amiga and turn it back on again (called a cold boot).


       As far as teaching you how to access RAD and manipulate its
size, we have covered all of our material.  Now you know what
you need to know in order to utilize this powerful feature of
the Amiga.  Although we have given you a few examples, the
individual applications are up to you.  If you can come up with
some creative ways to utilize the RAD device that we have not
covered here, or if you would like to just share with us how you
use the RAD device to make your computing life easier, please
send your comments along to:

Douglas Cootey 1:312/18................................Fidonet

57 E 400 N #9
Provo UT 84606-2987....................................US Mail

       We would like to pass along the best comments to the readers
of this electronic magazine in future issues.  And of course, we
are always looking for the easy way to do things.  :)  In
upcoming issues, we will cover AmigaDOS scripts, ARexx scripts,
and many other utilities that help make you more productive under

       AmigaWorks(tm) 1993 Douglas R. Cootey