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Thread: Compact Flash or Hard drive booting

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cornwall, England

    Compact Flash or Hard drive booting


    I am going to build a car PC and wanted to know how much quicker a CF card will boot XP than a hard disk, roughly speaking, as none of the posts seem to mention speed difference.

    My first car PC was a Pentium 233 which I built 5 years ago. It was purely an mp3 player and used a DOS mp3 player, 10Gb hard drive, custom keypad and a dot matrix display. It only took 6 seconds to boot from cold to hearing music, which isn't too bad considering the processor speed and old hard drive.

    One more question. If I were to 'ghost' a working version of XP onto a Compact Flash card, could I make it read-only and use the hard drive for the swap files etc.? and would it still be possible to install things onto the computer, eg. plugging external drives in to update mp3s and possibly installing programs onto the machine?

    Thanks in advance for your replies


  2. #2
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    That's because there is very little, if any speed difference when booting from a CF card.
    The primary reason fro booting from a CF card or some other flash memory is to allow the system to boot despite a harsh environment, namely extreme cold that would congeal the fluid surrounding bearings, causing the drive not to spin up until it warms up a bit.

    And no, the Ghost image to a CF card isn't going to work, at least not for very long. CF cards have a limited number of write cycles. Since windows is going to write to the boot partition repeatedly during the course of normal use, you're going to exceed the write cycle limitation in short order.

    There is a guide to preparing a Windows installation for a CF card so that it doesn't need to write. I don't know what all is involved, because that's nothing I'm doing for my project.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?

    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cornwall, England
    Thanks for the reply. I understand that the read/write to a compact flash will eventually burn the card out and this could happen in a matter of months. But is there a way of installing XP to a compact flash and making it read-only and using the laptop hard drive for the normal Windows XP scratch disk?

    I have looked but cannot find any tutorials etc. here about putting XP on a card, could someone post me a link.

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Little Elm, Texas
    Solid State Drives and Boot Times

    Search is your friend!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  5. #5
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    check here:

    and the WinNT forum. search for EWF.

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cornwall, England
    SFiorito, A genius....

    I read a massive post which you and a few others were talking about putting XP on a flash card, and now with the link you gave me, everything seems possible.


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