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Thread: Boot problems with CF

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate crooper's Avatar
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    Boot problems with CF

    Okay I finally had some time to play with my CF setup.

    I formatted my 4 gig SanDisk Extreme III with "format c: /s", and it boots to DOS fine. I made a Norton Ghost image of my boot partition (about 2 gigs) and copied it to the CF. The CF goes to my equivalent of the Windows logo boot screen (I customized the image), and then after about 5 seconds it BSOD's and reboots.

    In the process of troubleshooting my problems, I repartitioned and reformatted (both quick and deep) the card using several different programs (dos prompt, partition magic, smart fdisk -- always FAT32) and redid the mbr with various utilities a few times because it kept saying it might have a virus. Norton disk doctor found problems with the mbr a few times and fixed them. I finally zapped and redid the mbr and it doesn't give me the virus warning anymore, but it still doesn't boot. I hope I don't ruin the card with all the repartitioning, reformatting, and repeatedly copying my drive image to it.

    Any ideas?

    (If it matters, this is a genuine SanDisk card. I'm using a Logic Supply IDE-CF adaptor, which is set as master in the primary IDE channel. I've been running minlogon and ewf on the hard drive for several weeks, ironing out the bugs and stuff.)

  2. #2
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    Don't ghost. I have an 8GB sandisk Extreme and went through exactely what you did. Turns out that Windows does not like it when you switch it from a physical hard drive to a "Removable" hard drive. If you have an adapter, you should be able to see it in the Windows Setup. Why are you ghosting (If you don't mind me asking)?

    -Erik-

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate crooper's Avatar
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    I'm ghosting it to copy the hard drive image directly to the CF without losing anything. Does Ghost get confused when writing to a removable?

    I'm not going to install directly to the CF card, that involves too many read/writes, and I've worked too hard to customize my install to remember how to redo it all. Would copying straight from HD to CF work? What program is best to do this, ensuring the hidden files, directory structure, and boot files remain intact? My Hiren's Boot CD has several tools, I just used Ghost because I've heard of it before.

  4. #4
    Newbie Machinist's Avatar
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    Just boot from another computer besides that HD you wish to transfer, but have both the CF and that drive connected (I use a USB enclosure). Then drag and drop all the files including system and hidden over, excluding the Recycle Bin and System Volume Information. And do this after the CF is already properly formatted.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate crooper's Avatar
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    Does using the "show hidden files" option in the folder view settings ensure that all hidden files are copied?

  6. #6
    Newbie Machinist's Avatar
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    Yeah, I just show hidden files and show protected operating system files. I prefer this above using a cloning utility, so I don't need to worry about resizing the partition before cloning it.

  7. #7
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    I tried copying the files over like you said, but it gave me the "non system disk" error. I tried again using Ghost to copy straight partition to partition and it did better, but again in the Windows bootscreen it got a BSOD and subsequent restart.

    I've tried this so many different ways and I've been unsuccessful. I'm about ready to give up. So frustrating.

  8. #8
    Newbie Machinist's Avatar
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    There is a method people like to use for determining whether the CF is properly formatted for XP.

    Copy over a boot.ini and ntldr onto the CF from your normal install. Modify the boot.ini to have a timeout and second boot option.

    Example:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP" /fastdetect /noexecute=AlwaysOff
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP 2" /fastdetect /noexecute=AlwaysOff

    This way, you can easily check if your CF is correctly formatted. If you see the boot loader with the boot option, then it's your install which is causing your problems. If you get a disk error, or you don't see the boot option screen at all, its probably your formatting.

  9. #9
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    What's the best way to partition and format the CF? I have several different programs on my Hiren's Boot CD, and it seems when I partition/format with one program (e.g., Smart FDisk) another program says there's partition errors (e.g., Partition Magic). Also, it only seems to try to boot when I format it certain ways, but I haven't figured out the pattern.

    In desperation, one day I used some MBR tools to try to make it boot, and I accidently installed something called Smart BootManager. For the life of me, I can't get it to uninstall, even by low level formatting and wiping the MBR.

  10. #10
    Newbie Machinist's Avatar
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    For NTFS I generally just format with an XP CD and cancel out right after the format.

    When I come across MBR problems with CF that fdisk /mbr or linux cant fix I use WinHex, a hex editor which also doubles as a great zerofill utility and disk cloner.

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