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Thread: Problems booting from CF card

  1. #1
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    Problems booting from CF card

    Hi all

    I've been a regular reader here for a while now - just not a poster! My project isn't a carpc - I'm making a silent media centre so it's running from CF, but I don't have any power problems as it's running from mains. Just for backgrounds info, the setup is:

    MSI K7N2GN2 MicroATX nForce2 motherboard with onboard graphics
    XP2600+ (2GHz, Barton core)
    Pretty big copper Zalman heatsink
    2x 512MB DDR400
    1GB TwinMOS 140x CF card
    Wireless NIC
    Audigy soundcard
    WinMCE 2005

    It's going to spool the media from my server over a wireless 108MB/s connection (it won't be 108MB with WPA on though, but still plenty quick enough).

    Initially I think I'm going go use speedfan (great program) to draw air over the CPU and chipset, and out through the PSU (although I am going buy a fanless PSU at some point). It'll be running a distributed app - probably rosetta@home - so it'll need some level of active cooling unless I go for something passive that's pretty substantial I guess.

    Anyway, to my problem - I've got windows running on a hard drive quite happily, having nlited, and then stripped what was left down to around 820MB. I've put the EWF on and that works fine too. The CF card is formatted as FAT16 and I ran bootprep on it. I then coppied the entire contents of the HD partition to the CF card (using a 2nd PC). When I try and boot the computer from the CF card it starts to boot, and then there's a breif BSOD which I can't read, and then it restarts. I checked the card's contents against the HD using beyondcompare and both were exactly the same. It boots fine from the HD still. When I tried to boot in safe mode it got to mup.sys and then restarted.

    Any ideas?

    TIA
    Danny
    your computer is bored - give it something useful to do!:rosetta@home

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate
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    Jul 2004
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    welcome to the forum

    It sounds like you are doing everything right to me...it could possibly be that the CF card you have chosen will not work. In the beginning...it was discovered that Lexar CF cards didn't seem to work for CF installs. Perhaps this is the same deal with your TwinMOS CF? Can you try a different CF card for the install and see if it makes a difference?

    As an aside, I haven't heard of TwinMOS CF cards. At 140X, that makes it the fastest CF card I know of. The fastest card I'd heard of before this was the Sandisk Extreme III (that is what I have). Looks like the TwinMOS 140x card you are referring to can be had for ~$60 which is a killer price!

  3. #3
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    Yeah - the TwinMOS seemed like a bargain. I've not got another CF card that I can try at the moment - I had a 512MB crucial card but it seems to have issues when connected to the IDE adapter now - works fine in a CF reader though... might have been an issue with the previous motherboard though -I'll try it again.

    I'll keep trying with the TwinMOS too and see if I can get anywhere... I'll try an minimal install I think- see if i can get that to boot fully. The fact that it's starting to boot at all is promising I guess though - I've been trying for ages but my previous problem was a really cheap PC Chips motherboard that just won't boot from CF - took me ages to figure that one out!

    Thanks for the reply and reassurance!

    Danny
    your computer is bored - give it something useful to do!:rosetta@home

  4. #4
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    Well, according to the specs that card is True IDE compatible and the fact that it boots means it's fine... So that means something is getting messed up in the transfer of the OS to the card or how the card is hooked up.

    The CF card is running as the primary IDE device and the hard drive is removed, correct? I can't think of what else it could be if you did everything properly.... Actually, what CF-IDE adapter are you using and what cable are you using? You need to use the 40 conductor IDE cables, not the Ultra66 etc. cables.

  5. #5
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    yeah - i've seen a few posts about problems with using an 80-core ide cable, so i'm using a 40-core one. I'll recheck that I've got it on the right IDE channel and that it's master - I'm fairly sure both the HD and CF card are though.

    thanks for the response - will update on the CD adapter later (if i ever get away from work!) It's a cheap one from ebay though! I've had a different card boot into Win98 on it before, but not XP (yet!)
    your computer is bored - give it something useful to do!:rosetta@home

  6. #6
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    that may be the problem then...i would go with the one from Logicsupply. It seems to be the fastest. or if your mobo has SATA then get that new CF-SATA adapter.

  7. #7
    Newbie Cesar_Barba's Avatar
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    Quick question. I plan to basically do the same with hibernation to a CF card while having either a 3.5" or a 2.5" HDD for storage. I wanted to know if there is any difference in both boot up from cold start or from hibernation? Also, do they consume power while in hibernation?

  8. #8
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    If your computer is hibernated, there is no power consumption as it is completely switched off. Any content of RAM is stored on your hard drive or CF card.

    By the way, hibernation file is very big. In fact it is the same as your total RAM amount. Why do you want to store in in CF? If you have a HDD available, use it for this purpose.

  9. #9
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    Well, I've finally got it working! It turns out there were a couple of problems in my setup - I'll post them in full in case anyone else has problems with this:

    nForce2 IDE drivers - they worked fine for the HDs, but not for CF! I found this out from I/O errors I was getting in Windows when trying to access the CF card, although I could access it fine from DOS! It just involved changing the driver back to the MS one (Device Manager > (P)IDE controller > Driver > Update > choose MS one! (easy when you know how!)

    I've also had to disable UDMA in the BIOS, and change from Auto to LBA. Works now though - it's running BOINC/Rosetta@home from my server so there's no local disk writes, but it can still run the program fine. I've thought of a way of allowing my 70MB Win Media Player database file to work too (as I can't find any way of having WinMP looking anywhere but the default location for it) - I'm gonna have the computer pull it from the server on boot, and save it to the local folder (but as EWF will be running it'll be kept in RAM) and then copy it back to the server on shutdown so the changes are saved. I might have it do that at intervals too, incase of power cut/crash as I don't plan on shutting this comp down very often.

    Boot is a bit slower than from HD, but not much in it, and it's nice and quiet! Will post back with more info when I get any further. One of the next steps might be RAID0... 2x 140x CF cards should be quite quick. Thanks for the help so far guys!

    Danny
    your computer is bored - give it something useful to do!:rosetta@home

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