Booting WindowsXP from an external drive (using ExpressCArd)

  • Thread starter C.Joseph S. Drayton
  • Start date

C

C.Joseph S. Drayton

There has been discussion over the last couple of weeks as to whether
or not WindowsXP can be booted from an external drive. A few months
ago, a similar question came up in regard to booting from an
Expresscard. Below is part of my response to that question;

The hardware I am referring to is;

1) Hewlette-Packard Pavilion dv8100cto laptop with a ExpressCard port.
2) Addonics ADEXC34-2E with 2 eSATA ports
3) Addonics AASA2SAP15C SATA-to-eSATA converter cable
4) Mapower MAP-H31SS-01 Drive case
5) Seagate Barracuda 7200.7

The Seagate is mounted in the Mapower case. The Mapower case is
connected to the Addonics ExpressCard via the Addonics SATA to eSATA
converter cable. The Addonics ExpressCard is plugged into the
ExpressCard slot on the dv8100cto laptop.

Immediately after pressing the power button, press the [Esc] key. I
then get the window to enter the bios password. I enter the BIOS
password and see the BIOS initialization screen. The screen clears and
I get a screen that list the possible boot devices (at the bottom of
the list is the option to enter 'setup').

I choose the Seagate drive and it boots.

It booted successfully a couple of times. I did not do extensive tests
since as I said I hate having to rely on external drives and would
definitely NOT put a production system on an external drive.

I have no idea whether it is an integrated HP function or not. I never
bother to download the User Guide. Off the top of my head I would guess
yes since the drive is recognized as bootable at a BIOS level.



Hi Anna,

I finally got around to do a test that will hopefully answer your
question definitively. I followed the below steps;

1) removed primary drive from my dv8100cto
2) removed secondary drive from my dv8100cto
3) put Hitachi 40Gb hard drive into position drive position 1
4) turned on booting from CDROM
5) Installed WindowsXPpe (full retail)
6) removed CD and turned off booting from CDROM
7) Booted from drive installed WindowsXPpe drive. I'm sure it worked
because it asked to be activated. Rebooted it 6 times all six
times worked fine.
8) Turned on booting from CDROM
9) Connected Addonics ExpressCard connected to Mapower box with
Seagate SATA drive in it
10) Booted Hiren's v9.1
11) Ran Ghost
12) Shut down computer
13) Pulled Hotachi hard disk from position 1 (there was now NO hard
disk in the machine).
14) Removed CD from CDROM
15) Kept ExpressCard plugged in
16) Got a screen I had not gotten before.
A screen that looks like my Select Boot Device screen instead
though it said;

IDE Channel -- None

Then it gave me a boot drive list, it showed;

CDROM
Ext - Hard disk
Network
17) Selected choice '2' (Ext - Hard disk)
18) WindowsXPpe booted and Uncle Bill reminded me that I needed
to activate.
19) Tried rebooting a couple of times got the same screen each time.

I had never pulled both drives to see what the computer would do . . .
Now I know.

A few weeks ago I upgraded the BIOS of my dv8100cto and the ability to
boot from the ExpressCard port still works.

Above in step 16 I mentioned getting an IDE Channel -- None. thinking
about it of course, does make sense. There are 2 IDE controllers one is
for the 2 hard disk and the other is for the DVD-RAM. Since I pulled
both hard drives it couldn't find anything on the IDE0.

I have also had the time to check USB booting capability and it also
appears to work.

Now then Anna as I have said before, I have tested this specifically
with WindowsXPpe[sp2]. I have only tried this with the above listed
hardware. The booting does in fact work consistently.

Whether this is a feature for all HP laptops I do not know. When I
called HP customer support for info, they told me that they didn't
'think' the dv8000 series could boot from the ExpressCard port. I asked
to speak to speak to someone who could give me a definitive explanation
as to why this was working on my dv8100cto. I stayed on hold for about
20 minutes then hung up. I also didn't get any response via e-mail.
Since the previous thread appeared to die I didn't look into it any
further since I have no need for the above mentioned feature. If you
have a specific question or test you would like me to run with my
hardware, I can make some time to run the test for you.

--

Sincerely,
C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

Web site: http://csdcs.itgo.com/
E-mail: (e-mail address removed)
 
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A

Anna

C.Joseph S. Drayton said:
There has been discussion over the last couple of weeks as to whether
or not WindowsXP can be booted from an external drive. A few months
ago, a similar question came up in regard to booting from an
Expresscard. Below is part of my response to that question;

The hardware I am referring to is;

1) Hewlette-Packard Pavilion dv8100cto laptop with a ExpressCard port.
2) Addonics ADEXC34-2E with 2 eSATA ports
3) Addonics AASA2SAP15C SATA-to-eSATA converter cable
4) Mapower MAP-H31SS-01 Drive case
5) Seagate Barracuda 7200.7

The Seagate is mounted in the Mapower case. The Mapower case is
connected to the Addonics ExpressCard via the Addonics SATA to eSATA
converter cable. The Addonics ExpressCard is plugged into the
ExpressCard slot on the dv8100cto laptop.

Immediately after pressing the power button, press the [Esc] key. I
then get the window to enter the bios password. I enter the BIOS
password and see the BIOS initialization screen. The screen clears and
I get a screen that list the possible boot devices (at the bottom of
the list is the option to enter 'setup').

I choose the Seagate drive and it boots.

It booted successfully a couple of times. I did not do extensive tests
since as I said I hate having to rely on external drives and would
definitely NOT put a production system on an external drive.

I have no idea whether it is an integrated HP function or not. I never
bother to download the User Guide. Off the top of my head I would guess
yes since the drive is recognized as bootable at a BIOS level.



Hi Anna,

I finally got around to do a test that will hopefully answer your
question definitively. I followed the below steps;

1) removed primary drive from my dv8100cto
2) removed secondary drive from my dv8100cto
3) put Hitachi 40Gb hard drive into position drive position 1
4) turned on booting from CDROM
5) Installed WindowsXPpe (full retail)
6) removed CD and turned off booting from CDROM
7) Booted from drive installed WindowsXPpe drive. I'm sure it worked
because it asked to be activated. Rebooted it 6 times all six
times worked fine.
8) Turned on booting from CDROM
9) Connected Addonics ExpressCard connected to Mapower box with
Seagate SATA drive in it
10) Booted Hiren's v9.1
11) Ran Ghost
12) Shut down computer
13) Pulled Hotachi hard disk from position 1 (there was now NO hard
disk in the machine).
14) Removed CD from CDROM
15) Kept ExpressCard plugged in
16) Got a screen I had not gotten before.
A screen that looks like my Select Boot Device screen instead
though it said;

IDE Channel -- None

Then it gave me a boot drive list, it showed;

CDROM
Ext - Hard disk
Network
17) Selected choice '2' (Ext - Hard disk)
18) WindowsXPpe booted and Uncle Bill reminded me that I needed
to activate.
19) Tried rebooting a couple of times got the same screen each time.

I had never pulled both drives to see what the computer would do . . .
Now I know.

A few weeks ago I upgraded the BIOS of my dv8100cto and the ability to
boot from the ExpressCard port still works.

Above in step 16 I mentioned getting an IDE Channel -- None. thinking
about it of course, does make sense. There are 2 IDE controllers one is
for the 2 hard disk and the other is for the DVD-RAM. Since I pulled
both hard drives it couldn't find anything on the IDE0.

I have also had the time to check USB booting capability and it also
appears to work.

Now then Anna as I have said before, I have tested this specifically
with WindowsXPpe[sp2]. I have only tried this with the above listed
hardware. The booting does in fact work consistently.

Whether this is a feature for all HP laptops I do not know. When I
called HP customer support for info, they told me that they didn't
'think' the dv8000 series could boot from the ExpressCard port. I asked
to speak to speak to someone who could give me a definitive explanation
as to why this was working on my dv8100cto. I stayed on hold for about
20 minutes then hung up. I also didn't get any response via e-mail.
Since the previous thread appeared to die I didn't look into it any
further since I have no need for the above mentioned feature. If you
have a specific question or test you would like me to run with my
hardware, I can make some time to run the test for you.

--

Sincerely,
C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

Web site: http://csdcs.itgo.com/
E-mail: (e-mail address removed)


C.Joseph...
Many thanks for the detailed additional info. Much appreciated.

As I've previously indicated, we have been singularly unsuccessful in
booting to an externally-connected SATA HDD via the ExpressCard device (both
the 34mm 54 mm models). We've used four different ExpressCard/34 devices and
one ExpressCard/54 device involving a number of different makes/models of
laptops/notebooks including a half-dozen or so of the major brands. In no
case were we able to achieve this "bootability". (We have not worked with
the Addonics card you have used although I'm virtually certain at least two
of the cards we worked with contained the same Silicon Image chipset used by
the Addonics card. The others used the JMicron type).

I should mention that all the laptops/notebooks we worked with had inherent
SATA capability. What makes your situation even more interesting is that
your HP laptop (inherently) has only PATA capability. Am I right about that?

So I guess we should get a hold of the Addonics card and see if that makes a
difference. I really don't think the external enclosure would have any
bearing on this issue.

We have been in touch with both the SATA & ExpressCard organizations to get
their input on this issue. Unfortunately the feedback we have gotten from
those sources has been contradictory, if not outright bewildering. So I
guess we'll have to muddle through on our own.

We believe that achieving this external-drive boot capability with
laptops/notebooks would be a most important capability for those devices. As
I'm sure you know desktop PC users already have that routine capability when
an external SATA HDD is connected to the desktop machine either through a
SATA or eSATA connection. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence that a
laptop/notebook will be equipped with an external eSATA port. We have found
it nearly incomprehensible why late-model laptops/notebooks are not
routinely equipped with such as they are with one or more USB ports.
Anna
 
C

C.Joseph S. Drayton

Anna said:
C.Joseph...
Many thanks for the detailed additional info. Much appreciated.

As I've previously indicated, we have been singularly unsuccessful in
booting to an externally-connected SATA HDD via the ExpressCard
device (both the 34mm 54 mm models). We've used four different
ExpressCard/34 devices and one ExpressCard/54 device involving a
number of different makes/models of laptops/notebooks including a
half-dozen or so of the major brands. In no case were we able to
achieve this "bootability". (We have not worked with the Addonics
card you have used although I'm virtually certain at least two of the
cards we worked with contained the same Silicon Image chipset used by
the Addonics card. The others used the JMicron type).

I should mention that all the laptops/notebooks we worked with had
inherent SATA capability. What makes your situation even more
interesting is that your HP laptop (inherently) has only PATA
capability. Am I right about that?

So I guess we should get a hold of the Addonics card and see if that
makes a difference. I really don't think the external enclosure would
have any bearing on this issue.

We have been in touch with both the SATA & ExpressCard organizations
to get their input on this issue. Unfortunately the feedback we have
gotten from those sources has been contradictory, if not outright
bewildering. So I guess we'll have to muddle through on our own.

We believe that achieving this external-drive boot capability with
laptops/notebooks would be a most important capability for those
devices. As I'm sure you know desktop PC users already have that
routine capability when an external SATA HDD is connected to the
desktop machine either through a SATA or eSATA connection.
Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence that a laptop/notebook will be
equipped with an external eSATA port. We have found it nearly
incomprehensible why late-model laptops/notebooks are not routinely
equipped with such as they are with one or more USB ports. Anna

Hi Anna,

The reason you are receiving "contradictory, if not outright
bewildering" responses is because there are 2 variables that neither
the SATA or ExpressCard organizations have any control over; 1)
motherboard (including system bus) configuration and 2) BIOS.

In other words, from what I have read, the ExpressCard port can be
treated as a USB system bus connection or an IDE connection (there
might be other that I don't know about). Then even if the hardware is
actually capable of supporting the device, unless the BIOS is aware of
the device, the fact that the physical hardware is there and
operational is useless for booting.

Unfortunately, BIOS upgrades can have unwanted side-effects. I recently
upgraded the BIOS on my laptop. I then needed to boot from a CD and
couldn't the boot order was correct, booting from CD was enable, but it
just didn't seem to work. I was very annoyed. What had happend was that
the little message saying to press a key to boot from CD wasn't being
displayed. The capability was still there, it just doesn't show the
prompt anymore. Upgrading a BIOS is one of those things that should
only be done when ABSOLUTELY necessary. With laptops, BIOSes are VERY
specific, and is the responsoibility of OEM. There are more than a
dozen machines in the dv8000 series, a company like HP is not going to
spend the development cost for upgrading BIOS firmware unless they get
a lot of complaints or request for a feature.

As I mentioned back in the original discussion, I simply got lucky. I
was not interested in that capability and discivered it only by
accident. I fear that for the time being, it will be hit or miss as to
whether it will work with certain hardware. I think if AMI and Phoenix
where to FORCE standards for the ExpressCard port that would change.
Whether they could agree to a standard then enforce it is questionable
.. . . This is not '86 and anti-trust rules are monitored a bit more.
Can you imagine the initial squealing if AMI and Phoenix did that
<LOL>. Standardization is a good thing, but manufacturers that like to
push the envelope hate them.

"We believe that achieving this external-drive boot capability with
laptops/notebooks would be a most important capability for those
devices.", I was wondering if you would mind explaining that comment a
little more. Since most laptops come with an optical device, wouldn't
it be easier to simply boot from a CD/DVD. As to literally running an
OS environment from a portable drive, you still have to do the repair
install to account for the hardware diffrences. I really can't imagine
a situation where I would NEED to boot from my ExpressCard device,
ditto for USB, I have set up a 4GB thumbdrive and a 80GB portable hard
disk just to see if it could be done, but again, why would I need it? I
guess from my point of view my computer work bag is big and heavy
enough that I really would prefer not carrying anything more than I
actually NEED.

--

Sincerely,
C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

Web site: http://csdcs.itgo.com/
E-mail: (e-mail address removed)
 
A

Anna

C.Joseph S. Drayton said:
Hi Anna,
The reason you are receiving "contradictory, if not outright
bewildering" responses is because there are 2 variables that neither
the SATA or ExpressCard organizations have any control over; 1)
motherboard (including system bus) configuration and 2) BIOS.

In other words, from what I have read, the ExpressCard port can be
treated as a USB system bus connection or an IDE connection (there
might be other that I don't know about). Then even if the hardware is
actually capable of supporting the device, unless the BIOS is aware of
the device, the fact that the physical hardware is there and
operational is useless for booting.
(SNIP)

"We believe that achieving this external-drive boot capability with
laptops/notebooks would be a most important capability for those
devices.", I was wondering if you would mind explaining that comment a
little more. Since most laptops come with an optical device, wouldn't
it be easier to simply boot from a CD/DVD. As to literally running an
OS environment from a portable drive, you still have to do the repair
install to account for the hardware diffrences. I really can't imagine
a situation where I would NEED to boot from my ExpressCard device,
ditto for USB, I have set up a 4GB thumbdrive and a 80GB portable hard
disk just to see if it could be done, but again, why would I need it? I
guess from my point of view my computer work bag is big and heavy
enough that I really would prefer not carrying anything more than I
actually NEED.
--
Sincerely,
C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T
CSD Computer Services
Web site: http://csdcs.itgo.com/
E-mail: (e-mail address removed)


C. Jospeh...
My comment re the desirability of achieving external-drive boot capability
with
laptops/notebooks is related to establishing & maintaining a comprehensive
backup system for those machines through the use of disk-cloning programs.
While we know a USB external HDD can be the recipient of the cloned contents
of a laptop/notebook's internal HDD, the USBEHD is not a bootable device in
an XP environment. Based on our experience with many users/customers this
boot capability from an external device is a most important capability
should it be achieved in a laptop/notebook environment.

As I'm sure you know this capability is relatively easy to achieve in a
desktop PC environment through a variety of means - chiefly through a
motherboard's (or computer case) eSATA port or through an adapter affixed to
the backplane of the desktop's computer case.

Unfortunately laptops/notebooks are not equipped with an eSATA port except
in rare circumstances, so booting from an external device, i.e., a HDD
containing the cloned contents of the laptop/notebook's internal HDD and
capable of SATA-to-SATA connectivity, cannot be accomplished. We were hoping
that the ExpressCard devices (equipped with an eSATA port) would routinely
provide that capability much the same way we've achieved that capability
with desktop machines. (Our previous experience with a wide variety of the
older CardBus (PCMCIA) devices convinced us this capability was absent from
those devices).
Anna
 
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C

C.Joseph S. Drayton

Anna said:
C. Jospeh...
My comment re the desirability of achieving external-drive boot
capability with laptops/notebooks is related to establishing &
maintaining a comprehensive backup system for those machines through
the use of disk-cloning programs. While we know a USB external HDD
can be the recipient of the cloned contents of a laptop/notebook's
internal HDD, the USBEHD is not a bootable device in an XP
environment. Based on our experience with many users/customers this
boot capability from an external device is a most important
capability should it be achieved in a laptop/notebook environment.

As I'm sure you know this capability is relatively easy to achieve in
a desktop PC environment through a variety of means - chiefly through
a motherboard's (or computer case) eSATA port or through an adapter
affixed to the backplane of the desktop's computer case.

Unfortunately laptops/notebooks are not equipped with an eSATA port
except in rare circumstances, so booting from an external device,
i.e., a HDD containing the cloned contents of the laptop/notebook's
internal HDD and capable of SATA-to-SATA connectivity, cannot be
accomplished. We were hoping that the ExpressCard devices (equipped
with an eSATA port) would routinely provide that capability much the
same way we've achieved that capability with desktop machines. (Our
previous experience with a wide variety of the older CardBus (PCMCIA)
devices convinced us this capability was absent from those devices).
Anna

Hi Anna,

I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you. I have a WD passport
250Gb hard disk that I carry on my belt along with a Hiren's 9.1 bootCD
in mini-CD format. With that I can boot from the mini-CD and then I
have images of or install packages for all of the software that I need
for doing maintenance. I have one partition of the Passport that
contains a clone of my system drive. between the mini-CD and the
Passport, I could restore my main development machine very easily.

I think though that I might see what you are saying. You want to be
sure that there is little or no down time in the event of a hard disk
failure . . . thus the ability to boot directly from the external
drive. I have been fortunate and not had that dire a need for a backup.

Although I see your point, I'm not sure that without more complete
standardization of the ExpressCard that such a goal could be
accomplished. I think quite often that people don't realize just how
specialized laptops and there components are. The situation is similar
to the "PC standards" of 1986 to 1989. Although there were some basic
conceptual standards, you could buy expansion cards that worked in a
Kaypro that didn't work in the Morrow Micro-Decision or the Tandy 1000.
because there is a lot of things that can be done better on laptops,
there are simply to many manufacturers that are trying to find
different, better, cheaper ways to make laptops. In this kind of
environment expecting companies to compromise probably won't happen
(ie. set standards that might stifle their creativity).

--

Sincerely,
C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

Web site: http://csdcs.itgo.com/
E-mail: (e-mail address removed)
 

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