The boot menu

Hold down the left shift key while booting FreeMiNT to enter the boot menu. There are nine options in this menu, all of them can be toggled by pressing the key next to the menu entry.

  1. Startup FreeMiNT: Would normally be set to yes (for obvious reasons). If you don’t use a boot manager, you can use this feature when you don’t want/need to boot FreeMiNT.
  2. Load external XFS: Normally set to yes. If set to no, filesystem drivers are not loaded. You will then not be able to access other filesystems than FAT and FAT32.
  3. Load external XDD. Normally set to yes. If set to no, no device drivers will be loaded.
  4. Execute AUTO PRGs: Normally set to yes. If set to no, FreeMiNT will not execute programs located after FreeMiNT itself in the auto folder.
  5. Memory protection: If yes then memory protection will be enabled (recommended).
  6. Init step by step: If set to yes, booting will be paused after each step until you press a key. Useful when debugging the boot sequence.
  7. Debug/trace level: Applies only to debug kernels. Sets debug level.
  8. Debug output dev.: Applies only to debug kernels. Select debug output device.
  9. Remember settings: If set to yes, the selections you’ve made in the boot menu will be saved to mint.ini.

The boot delay (the amount of time FreeMiNT waits for the user to enter the boot menu) can not be set in the boot menu. If you want to change this delay, you must edit mint.ini with a text editor.

The configuration files

There are three configuration files in FreeMiNT. All of them are located in the system folder. These files are only read when the system starts, so for any changes to take effect the system must be restarted.

This file is automatically created by FreeMiNT, and contains the settings in the boot menu. It can be manually edited, but any comments will be deleted the next time FreeMiNT saves it’s boot-settings.
This file contains a set of commands and variables that determines how FreeMiNT will behave when started. The installation tool will set up some usable defaults, but if you want to tune your system this file is where you start.
Similar to mint.cnf, this file contains settings relevant to XaAES.

Keyboard layout

If your language is not directly supported by TOS, or if you use a non-standard keyboard (e.g. a PC- or Mac-keyboard) you will probably need to modify the keyboard layout in FreeMiNT to match the physical layout of your keyboard. Traditionally this has been done by a small auto folder TSR that installs a new keymap. This will also work with FreeMiNT, but a safer way of remapping the keyboard is to let FreeMiNT do it by loading a keyboard layout file during boot. If the file keyboard.tbl is present in the system folder, it will be used as the default keyboard layout in FreeMiNT.

This has a few advantages over the traditional TSR-solution:

  • Clean and safe.
  • The ALT-key can be used as a modifier.
  • On the Milan and under ARAnyM, the AltGr-key can also be used as a modifier.
  • Deadkeys are supported, very handy if your language has more than a handful of accented characters.

Keyboard tables can be generated with the mktbl utility. If you prefer a GEM-tool, KeyEdit can create, edit and install FreeMiNT keyboard tables.

Since kernel 1-17-0, keyboard.tbl files for several different keyboard layouts (ready to use) can be found in the FreeMiNT build.

Filesystems and filesystem drivers

Filesystems are implemented as kernel modules. Filesystem kernel modules can be identified by the .xfs file extension. Usually you just have to place the filesystem kernel module into the system folder to enable support for an specific file system.

Currently supported filesystems:

  • ext2
  • minix
  • fat/vfat/fat32 (integrated into the kernel)
  • nfs

When you partition a hard drive for use with GEM, all partitions are usually set up with the FATfilesystem. If you want to use other filesystems, you have to do two things:

  1. Copy the required filesystem driver to the system folder.
  2. Initialize at least one partition with the new filesystem.


VFAT and FAT32

Support for these FAT extensions is integrated in the kernel, no separate driver is necessary. VFAT is an extension to the FAT filesystem that allows long filenames to be used. This can be used on all existing FAT partitions, one needs to allow VFAT extension for each drive in mint.cnf though. It’s not recommended to use VFAT-aware drives later in TOS as this can lead to filesystem corruption.

FAT32 is similar to FAT(16), but can handle much bigger files and partitions. You need to initialize at least one partition using mkfatfs or HD-Driver. The partition type must be set to ‘F32’ using a partitioning tool to use this filesystem. FAT32 partitions can not be accessed from TOS.

VFAT/FAT32 in FreeMiNT is fully compatible with Windows VFAT/FAT32, so if you use a harddisk driver that understands PC-partitioned disks you can directly attach a disk formatted under Windows as FAT32 to Atari and read / write files from / to it. MagiC offers similar option but it’s much slower with accessing such drive.


   maximum partition size
   FAT16                      : 2 GB
   FAT32                      : > 16 TB
   maximum file size          : 2 GB
   block size                 : 512 byte - 32 kb
   physical blocksize must be smaller or
   equal to logical blocksize : yes


This filesystem is used by linux. It has several advantages over FAT, and if you want to install e.g. EasyMiNT it’s mandatory. To use this filesystem perform the following steps:

  1. Copy ext2.xfs to the system folder.
  2. Use a partitioning tool to set the partition type for the desired partition to ‘lnx’ or ‘raw’.
  3. Create the filesystem with mke2fs.
  4. Reboot.


   maximum partition size     : > 16 TB
   maximum file size          : 2 GB
   block size                 : 1, 2, 4 kb
   physical blocksize must be smaller or
   equal to logical blocksize : yes


Made obsolete by ext2. If you want to use this filesystem anyway, the procedure is similar to ext2.

  1. Copy minix.xfs to the system folder.
  2. Use a partitioning tool to set the partition type for the desired partition to ‘mnx’ or ‘raw’.
  3. Create the filesystem with minit.
  4. Reboot.


   maximum partition size      : 2 GB
   maximum file size           : 2 GB
   block size                  : 1 kb
   physical blocksize must be smaller or
   equal to logical blocksize  : yes


A networking filesystem. Copy nfs.xfs to the system folder to enable it. This filesystem is used to mount NFS or Samba shares on a network.