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Author Topic: Questions about compact flash cards  (Read 2810 times)

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kbit

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Questions about compact flash cards
« on: January 25, 2015, 08:13:14 PM »
 I bought a Lexar Platinum II 8gb 200x compact flash card to use as a boot drive { my machine has jumper for cf to be c:\ } and at first it did not show as c: drive at all . I used Lexar usb tool to flip the removable media bit and it then showed as c: drive but could not read or write and said incorrect drive perimeters error . I changed the jumper back and now as a slave I could fdisk and format so I made 4 partitions and formated them no problem . After I tried c drive , same problem as before , but works perfect as  the slave { installed win98se , runs perfect } . When I checked the bios as c: drive it said 12000 {approx.}cylinders  20 heads and 63 sectors but as slave it reports 16000 {approx }cylinders 16 heads and 63 sectors . I tried inputing the drive perimeters but no go . I've never seen a drive report 20 heads before so I assume that explains the error incorrect drive perimeters thing and I assume my CF card was never meant to act as a boot drive . My C: drive is a 64mb dom , hence the interest in a bigger C: drive . I wanted to run dos and win3.11 but quite the squeeze for a full install . So my questions are , do you have to get a purpose built CF card to be a boot drive ? What specs should I look for ?

Geek-9pm


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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 08:50:48 PM »
A simple answer would be NO. No, you do not need a spacial flash drive..
You are using Windows 98 SE. Right?
It was not meant to boot from a flash drive. Windows 98 installs on the first hard drive it finds.  But there is a way to make it use a flash drive.
But why do you need to boot from a flash drive?
Have you read the tutorials? There are several out there.
You can Google:
Boot Windows 98 from a flash drive
And find hundreds, even thousands of people who did it.
Here is just one of so many:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qd7cDbtwj4
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In this installation, C:\ drive is your flash dis
Does that help any?  :)

kbit

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 09:23:31 PM »
 As far as I can tell it has nothing to do with win 98se , as it boots just fine from the dom { disk on module , flash }but seems to be a geometry difference . Win 98se will install on any drive but needs to put boot files on c: drive . Plus I changed the CF card to show as a fixed drive and it was recognized as such , c:\  , but when I tried to do anything with it , it came back  as , ERROR INCORRECT DRIVE PERIMETERS . If I tried formating it with Win xp and trying the install , I would get INVALID FAT TABLE {or something similar }Yet as a slave it reports a different geometry than when as master , which I find odd , and works flawless . I tried both the dos fdisk and format and win 98 fdisk and format and always same error message .

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 10:03:37 PM »
A number of things you ought to know.
MS-DOS does not do large drives. The limit is 2 GB for a partition.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118335
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Microsoft MS-DOS versions 4.0 and later allow FDISK to partition hard disks up to 4 gigabytes (GB) in size. However, the MS-DOS file allocation table (FAT) file system can support only 2 GB per partition. Because of this fact, a hard disk between 2 and 4 GB in size must be broken down into multiple partitions, each of which does not exceed 2 GB.
NOTE: Windows 95 OEM Service Release version 2 and later support drives larger than 2 GB using the FAT32 file system. For more information about the FAT32 file system, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 154997
TITLE : Description of the FAT32 File System

Also, the traditional Track, Head, Sector description of a hard drive geometry is now outdated.  To allow compatibility, a hard drive d may be defined as having a very large number of heads when if fact it does not.

You need to do some research and get up to date. A hard drive formatted to work with a OS that has a history going back some 30 plus years differs from what is now common practice.  So do not think it is the fault of the drive. It is not.
BYW: How old is the BIOS of your PC?

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 11:02:30 PM »
Hi

What adapter are you using between the CF card and the ide or sata connections. Most IDE to CF adapters have a jumper for master / slave  so if this is the boot device it will need to be on master. If you are triyng to replace a 64 mb Disk on module with an 8 gb CF card in USB/CF card adapter it's not going to work on an old machine with WIN98. You would need something like this  http://www.pcengines.ch/cf5h.htm

Then everything treats the CF card the same as a IDE hard drive or DOM

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 12:10:34 PM »
 I found out that this is a bios translation problem , mine uses CHS , CF cards are in LBA , and to top it off different CF cards WILL report invalid CHS as apparently even cards of the same size can and do report various geometry and software simply won't be able to read them . Something to do with multiple MBR sectors on CF cards and the way it is read by bios . So I've learned that CF cards come with many different implementations { removable , fixed , correct and weird geometry for old bios } that is no problem for newer bios . I will try an industrial CF card that is made to work in a pc as an IDE device and see if it works as boot device . Saying any CF card will boot is technically false as older bios do have problems and all CF card do not have the same geometry perimeters and will not boot without thirdparty software that may or may not work . This post forced me to dig deeper as I first thought installing a CF card would be easy { having a passing knowledge from the web } My computer has a built in slot with jumper to be C:\ so I assume it is meant to boot from CF card .
 
I know all about limitations of MSDOS but I used win 98 fdisk which HAS large drive support .

 
You need to do some research and get up to date. A hard drive formatted to work with a OS that has a history going back some 30 plus years differs from what is now common practice.  So do not think it is the fault of the drive. It is not.
BYW: How old is the BIOS of your PC?


Bios is 2006 but is old because of machine hardware and uses CHS not LBA which appears to be the problem , not win98 as it installed and works fine on CF card , just could not get CF card to be boot drive only slave . Technically it is the drives fault for reporting incorrect CHS values to my bios but this CF card is not purpose built to be an IDE drive [which some are ]  Besides , drive size is not an issue , I could install MSDOS on a 100GB drive and fdisk would only see and partition 4 GB and simply ignore the rest { have done it before } I have played with numerous computers and currently have 7 running computers[old to newer] . Never did anything with CF cards till now though .

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 02:31:38 PM »
No. technically it is not the fault of the drive. The CHS idea was old long before 2006. In PC technology fifteen years is a long time. One does not expect modern automobiles to have a crank starter or a spark advance. Likewise a BIOS that wants CHS is a relic of another age.

You can get it to work. Just not the way you like. One choice is to deal with the BIOS issue. The BIOS is just out of out of date. There is a way to work around that.

References:
http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/resolving_drive_barriers.htm
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1101/~/how-to-install-dynamic-drive-overlay-%28ddo%29-on-a-hard-drive
Hope you find a happy solution.  :)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 02:43:52 PM by Geek-9pm »

kbit

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 09:28:07 PM »
 Yeah I know it is not the cards fault [ typing doesn't express the tone of humor in blaming the card ] , here is a technical explaination of what I believe is my problem ;

" So, for those of you who are aware of that classic UDMA 40wire vs. 80wire stuff, note that this CF DMA/UDMA affair is quite a different story. If you try to run a DMA-capable CF card in an old PIO-only CF socket, the card doesn't work at all, UDMA2 doesn't help, not even MWDMA, and there's no salvation in automatic fallback to PIO. The CF card is identified by the BIOS and OS, but as soon as the BIOS or the OS attempts some UDMA transfer, that IO transaction immediately grinds to a screeching halt, maybe followed by a series of pathetic messages about timeouts and bus resets. Your only chance out of this mess is by forcing "PIO4 only" in some way, ahead of talking (U)DMA to the card at all (since the last power-up/reset).
Consequently, using a 40pin cable (CF socket wiring) doesn't help, as even that way, BIOS/Windows/Linux attempt the 40pin-compliant UDMA2 (33 MBps) and fail. There are also some higher-end CF cards of the past, featuring high transfer rates, yet uncapable of UDMA, but supporting MWDMA - those are guaranteed to fail as well, with identical symptoms."

Mine was identified by both bios and setup as C:\ but nothing except error if I tried to do anything .
So I will try a PIO mode CF card and see if it works , have to wait a few weeks tho . Funny how the card works fine as a slave . The joys of old stuff , good thing I find it fun .

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Re: Questions about compact flash cards
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 07:34:42 PM »
Hi kbit

So you have done all this research but still haven't said what the motherboard is.  It is possible that if the mother board has 2 IDE ports and a CF card connector that it would have all sorts of  limitations on the use of the cf card. But if you could just give the make and model of the motherboard. I would be able to check in the manual what you are trying to do.