Boot from PCMCIA microdrive


C

Craig Graham

We have a machine we're trying to build that has a small CF card on an IDE
controller, visible from the BIOS, and a 5 gig microdrive in a PCMCIA slot,
which is not visible to the bios but is visible to the Windows 2000 setup
CD. I am trying to install Windows 2000 to the PCMCIA card, using the small
CF card to do the initial bootstrapping.

When booting from the Win2000 installation CD, I can successfully complete
the first stage of formatting the microdrive and copying the files to it.
The machine then restarts, the Windows boot menu comes up, it tries to boot
Win2000 and dies with a "Could not read from the selected bot disk. Check
boot path and disk hardware" error.

I know there is a mechanism by which you can boot from non-standard devices;
the function key you press in early startup to allow you to load drivers for
things like nonstandard IDE cards, however I don't have such a driver to add
in. The fact Setup can see the drive and install to it, though, indicates
that the required drivers are present but are not being placed on the CF
card, or are not being loaded in early enough from the CF card. How can I
rectify this?
 
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C

Craig Graham

Steve Parry said:
Craig Graham wrote:


press F6 at setup boot time and install drivers from the manufacturer
Thank you for the response. However, see the final paragraph of my post. I
do not have a "Windows PCMCIA slot driver disk", neither with this piece of
kit we are building nor with any of the laptops dotted about.
 
S

Steve Parry [MVP]

Craig said:
Thank you for the response. However, see the final paragraph of my
post. I do not have a "Windows PCMCIA slot driver disk", neither with
this piece of kit we are building nor with any of the laptops dotted
about.

can you plug the PCMCIA card into a working laptop and copy the i386 folder from a cd to the card
then tranpose it back to the system you're trying to setup ... then run winnt.exe from there
 
C

Craig Graham

Steve said:
can you plug the PCMCIA card into a working laptop and copy the i386
folder from a cd to the card then tranpose it back to the system
you're trying to setup ... then run winnt.exe from there
Wrong end of the stick- I can read from the installation CD just fine on the
target machine.

I should point out that a microdrive is a hard disk in the form of a PCMCIA
card, since a phonecall to Microsoft tech support got me through to someone
who knew neither what a microdrive was nor what a compact flash card was. A
previous encounter with MS tech support on a different issue was very good,
I might add- there's just good and bad people in there I guess.

The problem is that drivers are needed to see the microdrive. The machine
bios cannot see it to boot from it. Windows 2000 setup can obviously see it
since it tries to load a large variety of drivers in to work on lots of
software. Windows 2000 setup copies all the files to the microdrive and then
resets the machine, intending to boot the new installation; however since
it's not put the PCMCIA drivers on the compact flash boot disk- which the
bios CAN see and can boot from- it gets as far as the startup menu and then
on trying to go into the Windows installation on the microdrive, it fails
since it can't find the drive any more.

What I'm trying to find out is how I can get whatever drivers Setup is using
to copy the files on the microdrive to be installed to the compact flash
card along with boot.ini and the like, so they're there at startup.
 
S

Steve Parry [MVP]

Craig said:
Wrong end of the stick- I can read from the installation CD just fine
on the target machine.

I should point out that a microdrive is a hard disk in the form of a
PCMCIA card, since a phonecall to Microsoft tech support got me
through to someone who knew neither what a microdrive was nor what a
compact flash card was. A previous encounter with MS tech support on
a different issue was very good, I might add- there's just good and
bad people in there I guess.

The problem is that drivers are needed to see the microdrive. The
machine bios cannot see it to boot from it. Windows 2000 setup can
obviously see it since it tries to load a large variety of drivers in
to work on lots of software. Windows 2000 setup copies all the files
to the microdrive and then resets the machine, intending to boot the
new installation; however since it's not put the PCMCIA drivers on
the compact flash boot disk- which the bios CAN see and can boot
from- it gets as far as the startup menu and then on trying to go
into the Windows installation on the microdrive, it fails since it
can't find the drive any more.

What I'm trying to find out is how I can get whatever drivers Setup
is using to copy the files on the microdrive to be installed to the
compact flash card along with boot.ini and the like, so they're there
at startup.
Hi Craig

Without the correct drivers your're going to struggle to get W2K to work as required as NT base
systems have always relied heavily on a strict HCL.

What setup uses to initally copy files may be little more than a 16bit sub system where once booted
NT systems required a 32 bit sub system.
 
C

Craig Graham

Steve said:
Hi Craig

Without the correct drivers your're going to struggle to get W2K to
work as required as NT base systems have always relied heavily on a
strict HCL.

What setup uses to initally copy files may be little more than a
16bit sub system where once booted NT systems required a 32 bit sub
system.
Ah. I keep getting caught out by assumptions. In this case it was my
assumption that the Setup program would be loading the kernel and real
drivers rather than using something cobbled together from odds and ends.

I've now given up on this approach and have bounced the problem back to the
people who make the board; I'm told if the hardware does its job properly I
don't need to mess about with the compact flash card and can simply boot
straight from the microdrive. Much simpler once we figure out what is
missing.
 
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S

Steve Parry [MVP]

Craig said:
Ah. I keep getting caught out by assumptions. In this case it was my
assumption that the Setup program would be loading the kernel and real
drivers rather than using something cobbled together from odds and
ends.

I've now given up on this approach and have bounced the problem back
to the people who make the board; I'm told if the hardware does its
job properly I don't need to mess about with the compact flash card
and can simply boot straight from the microdrive. Much simpler once
we figure out what is missing.
remember the IT golden rule

Assume makes an ASS of U and ME

:blush:)
 
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Just a thought from an amateur, no disrespect meant

Hi, and apologies if this is nonsense. I am very interested in the idea because it would allow me to use some laptops that I have no hard disk for (and no physical adaptor for HD if I bought one) This is exactly what brought me to the site
My view, based on what I read in this thread, is that if the BIOS cannot see the PCMCIA microdrive then no matter what is on that microdrive, even if all the drivers are there, ready to be read, the system cannot read them.
That's would appear to be whole idea about being able to boot from a device that the bios can see and therefore read from, at least enough tothen knopw how to go from there.
In this case, however the ios cannot see it so.... it's like the chicken and the egg .
I will follow with great interest, in case I am wrong and a solution exists

Craig Graham said:
Steve Parry [MVP] wrote:
> Craig Graham wrote:
>> "Steve Parry [MVP]" wrote in message
>> news:OKpRMr1WDHA.2272@TK2MSFTNGP11.phx.gbl...
>>> Craig Graham wrote:

>>
>>>> I know there is a mechanism by which you can boot from non-standard
>>>> devices; the function key you press in early startup to allow you
>>>> to
>>>> load drivers for things like nonstandard IDE cards, however I don't
>>>> have such a driver to add in. The fact Setup can see the drive and
>>>> install to it, though, indicates that the required drivers are
>>>> present but are not being placed on the CF card, or are not being
>>>> loaded in early enough from the CF card. How can I rectify this?
>>>
>>>
>>> press F6 at setup boot time and install drivers from the
>>> manufacturer

>>
>> Thank you for the response. However, see the final paragraph of my
>> post. I do not have a "Windows PCMCIA slot driver disk", neither with
>> this piece of kit we are building nor with any of the laptops dotted
>> about.

>
>
> can you plug the PCMCIA card into a working laptop and copy the i386
> folder from a cd to the card then tranpose it back to the system
> you're trying to setup ... then run winnt.exe from there


Wrong end of the stick- I can read from the installation CD just fine on the
target machine.

I should point out that a microdrive is a hard disk in the form of a PCMCIA
card, since a phonecall to Microsoft tech support got me through to someone
who knew neither what a microdrive was nor what a compact flash card was. A
previous encounter with MS tech support on a different issue was very good,
I might add- there's just good and bad people in there I guess.

The problem is that drivers are needed to see the microdrive. The machine
bios cannot see it to boot from it. Windows 2000 setup can obviously see it
since it tries to load a large variety of drivers in to work on lots of
software. Windows 2000 setup copies all the files to the microdrive and then
resets the machine, intending to boot the new installation; however since
it's not put the PCMCIA drivers on the compact flash boot disk- which the
bios CAN see and can boot from- it gets as far as the startup menu and then
on trying to go into the Windows installation on the microdrive, it fails
since it can't find the drive any more.

What I'm trying to find out is how I can get whatever drivers Setup is using
to copy the files on the microdrive to be installed to the compact flash
card along with boot.ini and the like, so they're there at startup.

--
Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer
Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk/
 
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Boot from PCMCIA device

I have been struggling with the same problem for a while. I seem to be close to the solution, however to no avail.
 

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