AmiKit XE

So our friend Ján has done it again, and while I was impressed when I looked at AmiKit X, the improvements made with this new version are, quite simply, amazing. In my humble opinion, the updates more than justify the very reasonable cost. This is the biggest update to AmiKit so far, and for every obvious change, there is probably another 2 or 3 that you may not spot straight away, but they’re there, providing a more refined experience.

What’s new? AmiKit XE includes 20 new features, 29 new programs & plug-ins, 6 new games, 4 new demos, and 22 software updates.

The AmiKit XE Crystal Flash Drive in action.

As with AmiKit X, it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, but is now also available on a Bootable Crystal Flash Drive, which I think is visually stunning and means you now have the most portable modern Amiga desktop experience ever.

The AmiKit Crystal Flash Drive.

Visually, one of the most obvious changes once it’s installed and up and running is the new “Modern Retro theme”, which does a fantastic job of making it feel like the good old Workbench 1.x days, but with a modern twist.

AmiKit XE in action.

As with most Amiga emulation options, you’ll need to supply your own Kickstart and Workbench files, with the easiest option being to utilise these items from Amiga Forever, which is helpfully linked to when installing AmiKit XE. Without these, you won’t be able to install AmiKit XE, due to legal issues. Personally, I used Kickstart 3.1 from an Amiga 1200 and Workbench 3.9, but any version of Workbench from 3.1 up to 3.9 should work to the best of my knowledge (3.9, 3.5, 3.1, 3.1.4, XL, Amiga Forever are specifically listed).

I thought the performance of AmiKit X was fantastic on my aging desktop machine, but AmiKit XE starts even quicker and feels even more responsive, as well as more stable – not that AmiKit X wasn’t stable, but I have not experienced any crashes, lockups or any problems at all with AmiKit XE thus far. I have no idea how this magic has been achieved, but it’s breathtaking. And that’s on a machine that is, by modern standards, ancient, with a CPU that is literally 10 years old at the time of writing this.

I also installed it on my new Ryzen 3500u powered Lenovo ThinkPad E595, so I could gauge it’s performance on more modern hardware, and it felt like everything was running from a RAM disk, with loading times not being measurable when loading from a modern NVMe SSD.

For many people, the Amiga was all about the games, and AmiKit XE doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Included are remakes of Barbarian and New Zealand Story, as well as the “Lost Level” of the legendary Another World. There is also Mad TV – the strategy TV simulator game. There are exclusive games as well, A shoot ’em up game called Kobo Deluxe and an adventure called Abandoned House. So no matter your taste, there is most likely something there that you’ll enjoy.

One of the new features that I found particularly impressive is the new PIP (Picture In Picture) mode, which allows some games and demos to run in a Workbench window, instead of full screen. This can be handy when combined with the multi-tasking ability of the Amiga, so you can play a game of Genetic Species in a window while you keep an eye on another task, without needing to keep switching between the two.

AmiKit XE now includes a new desktop pop-up notification system similar to the OS4 one, which is another really nice feature to have and makes using AmiKit XE feel that bit more modern.

Honestly, I could see myself using this as a main system, rather than Windows/Mac or Linux, particularly with the “Rabbit Hole” feature, meaning you can open your Amiga files in your favourite Windows/Mac/Linux applications, or use your favourite Windows/Mac/Linux applications without needing to leave AmiKit XE.

But will you need to utilise this feature? Well, it depends on what you want to do, of course. You may be surprised how often there is an application already installed as part of AmiKit XE that may meet your needs. There are several email applications, an IRC client, several elderly Amiga web browsers and a modern one in NetSurf. There are lots of audio and video players, CD burning applications, paint programs, and so much more. And of course, there are many more Amiga applications you can add yourself if you have them – Deluxe Paint V, Personal Paint 7.3c, Brilliance 2, WordWorth 7, Final Writer 5, PageStream 3, Professional Page 4.1, Photogenics 2, OctaMED Sound Studio and many, many more that will work beautifully under AmiKit XE. Of course, how well 3rd party programs work can and does vary, but many professional applications, including many of those I have just listed, have been tested by The Amiga Museum and found to work well.

This reminds me of another feature of AmiKit XE, one shared with previous versions. By default, you get access to all the files on your computer, as any and all drives from your host system are added as drives within AmiKit XE. So you can easily open your own personal files in your favourite Amiga applications, or create new files and then access them later when you’re not using AmiKit XE if you save them to your host systems drive.

If you’re interested, but would like to “try before you buy”, AmiKit 8/9 is still available and is free, but is nowhere near as feature rich (It has very few of the features I’ve mentioned above), stable or fast as AmiKit XE, but it does give you an idea of what it’s all about and how it will work on your own system. If you do try this, please do keep in mind that AmiKit XE is far superior in every way.

If you want to get AmiKit XE, head on over to

The review copy of AmiKit XE was provided to The Amiga Museum by Ján (creator of AmiKit XE) for review purposes, but this is an honest review, provided after many hours of using the software to form a proper opinion that The Amiga Museum stands by.