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Thread: Making a CF card bootable

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate kpjuk's Avatar
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    Unhappy Making a CF card bootable

    Hi guys,

    has anyone got any suggestions as to how to make a CF card bootable. I have followed sFiorito's instructions, and can format the card in Fat16, fat32, or NTFS. The card is then visible in dos (xcept ntfs) xp and knoppix, but I can't seem to make it bootable !

    I have tried formatting it with a win98se boot disk, it won't boot. I have formatted it with xp, and then tried to sys it with the 98 boot disk, no joy. I have even formatted it knoppix, and still no joy. The card holds data which is visible with all three OS's.

    I have to say I am stuck ! It is a cheap 512MB card from ebuyer, but I want to test for myslf the pros and cons of booting from CF v booting from disk. There doesn't seem to be a lot of difference, but call me "thomas" I want to see for myself.

    I thought to make a card bootable you just needed a bootloader in a specific place on the disk and bobs your uncle, so much for what I know ! Neither fdisk, cfdisk, or Partition Magic can sort this out, what have I missed ?

    Tired and depressed from the UK !
    M1000, 512MB, 512MB CF, 6GB Disk (4200rpm),
    DVD/RW, Dynamix 8" screen, M2-ATX, Custom case,Too many hours building and rebuilding and rebuild.......

  2. #2
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    What motherboard are you using and how is your CF card connected to your system? CF-IDE adapter, USB card reader, or MII CF slot?

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate NOS TANG's Avatar
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    kpjuk,

    First question is what OS are you planning to install on the 512 CF?

    XP won't fit on less than a gig, 2000 I have installed on a smaller CF and 98 or lower I have not tried.

    Next, I experienced similar problems to you when I setup my CF as the boot drive. I am using a 4Gig Microdrive, but it still suffers from the same problems. First thing I have to suggest not setting up the machine with the CF for the 1st install. I was able to do an install from a XP CD using NTFS only, FAT32 failed on the first reboot every time. Same issues using 2000, but that is expected. However after getting it installed I got page file errors and I could not install many applications because XP tagged the CF as a "Removable Drive" and software like AVG, MS Office, and many other apps won't install to that drive.

    My cure was to install everything I wanted to a regular hard drive and then use Ghost to make an exact copy "image" and place it onto the CF. This bypassed the major problems for me and made it bootable. I keep a bootable 2 CD image of my original install to save time. I have also used 7tools partition imager with no luck coping from the HD to CF, it says it's exact but it will not boot when done. Also I notice that 7tools says the CF is invalid data type when I read it on another XP machine. So there is something about the CF drives that MS can't [or doesn't want you to] understand.

    Last there are these options, find a manufacture that makes an ATA only CF style device. The issue here is that CF cards have a hardware or hard coded setting that says they are "CF formatted" and or ATA compatible. DOS sees that CF in the hardware description and does not like it for some reason. I have used a drive tool to set every block to "0" on a CF card and it made no difference. But I do know there are ATA format only CF cards out there, Drivesoft uses them but would not elaborate on their source.

    The "new" silver case Creative Labs MuVo II Mp3 player uses a 4Gig ATA only CF drive and I think the IPOD mini uses this same drive. They removed the CF format from these units and made them ATA only to keep people from popping them open and stripping the drives for digital cameras. Hence they may have made them PC compatible at the same time... Have not personally tried a new one yet, but for less than $200 for a 4 gig drive you may want to buy a MuVo II and play with it. The older version is what I ripped my 4 gig from.

    Also suggest looking at using XP embedded, several guys here us it and I have been playing around with it. Like Ghost your making an image and placing it on the CF drive. You will need to setup the PC with XP first to get the hardware configs, or use the dos boot disk program to do the same. From what I have found it should run on about any CF card out there. There is another image based loader app based on XP but I don't recall them name at the moment. Search "CF" here and you'll find it for sure. So best I can say, image a bootable drive and copy that to the CF and I'll bet it boots, beyond that best of luck.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    You shouldn't have to use Ghost or any other imaging program to boot off a CF disk. Even on a removable CF disk I can boot by simply running fdisk, formatting to FAT32, running bootprep (from XPe to allow FAT drives to boot into XP), and then just copying my XP installation from the HDD to the CF disk (just copying the files over). I always test a new CF card by just running "format c: /s") to make it boot into DOS. If that works then I know I can boot it into XP. But if he can't even boot into DOS that means something else is wrong.

  5. #5
    Raw Wave tj!2k4's Avatar
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    There's a nice HP utility I use to make my USB-keys bootable, might work for your cf card. Don't be fooled into thinking that this will only work with HP devices.

    Edit: This utility has also worked for me to make external USB hard drives bootable.

    http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/fi...oad/20306.html

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate NOS TANG's Avatar
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    SFiorito, what CF adapter are you using??

    I am using a ituners model in the car PC and a sandisk USB adapter in the house. I've experimented with both and had the same problems. Maybe your CF adapter is a better design. I do know some of the IDE versions may not be bootable..

  7. #7
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    I've used 2, one from l0gicsupply.com and the other from acscontrol.com. The l0gicsupply one was slightly faster. I also was able to boot DOS from a cheapo USB card reader.

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate OdysseyPC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS TANG
    First question is what OS are you planning to install on the 512 CF?

    XP won't fit on less than a gig
    I think you'll find that it does ... guys have XP installs fitting on 256CF's
    Caputer Mk. II
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    MII12000, 512MB RAM, 60GB HDD (5400rpm), 16X DVD, TS200V
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  9. #9
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    what about xD cards?? is it possible to boot from them? I guess it must be, you can get an adapter to use an xD card the same as a USB memory stick...

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate kpjuk's Avatar
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    Cool

    Thanks for the feedback guys, in the formatting and reformatting, I am wondering if I have screwed up the disk geometry ? The disk is a 512MB card, but when formatted it reports only 497MB ? 15MB is quite a chunk to "lose".

    I have tried the HP USB tool, it works great for my USB drives, allows me to boot from them, although only DOS, I have given up trying to get Windows booted from one, as I have found with the 2 USB disks I have that they are not that quick, re: access times.

    What is frustrating is that I did have the disk booting to DOS (many hours ago) but I can't seem to get it booting to DOS now ....... but don't you just love a challenge !

    I have formatted the drive under XP to NTFS, and have downloaded a diskclone freeware prog, to see if it will boot as an NTFS disk..... worth a try, but I don't expect it to work. If it won't work for DOS (Fatxx), then It ain't going to work for XP(NTFS)


    regards
    KPJUK
    M1000, 512MB, 512MB CF, 6GB Disk (4200rpm),
    DVD/RW, Dynamix 8" screen, M2-ATX, Custom case,Too many hours building and rebuilding and rebuild.......

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