XP Pro on CF card working!!
I know SFiorito has achieved this already, but I will detail my experience here.
Also, this turned out to be a really long post, but please read through it all. I kept it to the point.
1st I tried a cheap CF-IDE adapter off ebay with a Lexar CF 1gig card with no success. You can find my emotional roller coaster of a thread in this forum.
Then I came to the conclusion the Lexar simply will not work. I had another CF card from here on the way. I sold the Lexar card to a friend and bought a 1gig Sandisk Extreme CF card.
The same disk image I tried with the Lexar worked with the new CF card adapter and the sandisk on the 1st try!!!!!!
I have the CF card partitioned into 2 partitions. One for the OS with EWF enabled(see EWF thread) and a smaller 100meg partition where I have Frodoplayer installed. This partition will be for any other software that requires persisted writes to the CF card.
This is my current setup and it works like a charm.
I was curious to know if the problem was the CF adapter or the CF card in the 1st setup. I no longer have the Lexar to try out, so I tried the cheapy CF adapter from ebay with the Sandisk, and it works! It is much slower though. The boot up time was an extra 15 seconds!
Now i'm pretty sure the Lexar was the problem then, but it was getting half way through the boot up process. It was close. The only way I can be 100% sure is to try it with the new CF adapter, but I can't cause I don't have the Lexar anymore. If anyone succeeds with any brand of CF card besides a sandisk please let me know.
So, back to my current setup. The Sandisk card works fine without setting it to fixed disk using Sandisk's utility, however, the second partition does not appear in windows. Windows will only show the 1st partition of removable media.
I too my CF card to a buddy who has the utility. He set it to be a fixed disk and voila! XP now sees both partitions.
So, to summarize the final requirements:
1. Sandisk brand CF card
2. Set to fixed disk if you have more than 1 partition. If not, fixed disk is not neccessary.
3. From my one comparison of only 2 adapters, cheapy ebay adapters are slower! The one from prism(link above) is amazing. It even fits in laptop drive locations. The screw holes are the same, but you will need spacers for clearance of the PCB pins.
Now I know you are all curious about the boot up times.
Boot up times are not that much quicker. About 5 seconds faster compared to the laptop drive. 32s compared to 37s. Factor in some human error in the timing and that's not really a big improvement. The key advantage here though is the shock resistance and weather proofing.
So with my new CF card for the OS and apps, my laptop drive is in a USB enclosure holding all of my media. The important results are:
1. Shock resistant. The only moving parts in my system are now the CPU fan and the case fan.
2. Weather resistant. A must in these -30C days here in Ottawa, Canada. My laptop drive would need about 10 mins to warm up before the bios could find it.
3. Boot times are no really improved, but more importantly are not increased.
In conclusion using a CF card over a hard drive is a must for those in cold weather conditions and pretty much makes your system shock proof. These two advantages may not be important for many, but for others this is a big step forward for in car computers.
Ok, i'm tired of typing now and my eagles are losing, so I'm half happy from because of this car pc stuff and half ****ed because there's another eagle injured on the field right now.
Feel free to ask any questions.