CF error



Hi, all

My xpe project met a great trouble. We use SanDisk Ultra II 512MB Compact
Flash. In the past five months, half of CFs are damaged, some of which ran
into blue screen, some reported disk error. After I format them again, it
would work then. However, today two bad CFs I got from our client could not
even be formatted! I heard CF has life limitation, although I have no EWF
protect on it, but our CF is used only for 5 months and it's too early to
reach the limitation.

Should I change to another brand of CF or improve my image? And any other


Slobodan Brcin \(eMVP\)


You run them for 5 months. This is very good life time that you acomplished to get from them. Some people were able to ruin them
with few FBA passes on the development desk.

Only way for you is to find some wear leveling driver (don't know if they are comercialy awailable) or to use EWF.



Hello Maverick

I use SanDisk-1Gb-CF with disabled EWF an have no problems. Some suggestions:
- Use industrial grade SanDisk CF
- You can calculate the life duration of the CF with formula which can be
found in the SanDisk specification
- Disable the PageFile support (you prevent unessecary problems)
- Use NTFS-file format (FAT32 causes some problems)

Maybe you can fix the problem whith those suggestions.

best regards

Slobodan Brcin \(eMVP\)


How many XPe reboot cycles have you tried on that CF? (just for record)




I can not give you an excact answer. We distribute the systems over one year
with success (in our company about 100-200 devices). So when the customer
boots once per day: over 365 boot cycles or more. We never had any problems -
even with power loss during boot the process or when the XPe is started up. I
have calculated the life duration with the SanDisk specification for five
years. Our configuration is much more stable than our previous NT
configuration with Harddisk!

For simulation purposes I use a Compact Flash since the first distribution
(one year) and this CF still works.

best regards,
P.S.: I hope I am right with my life duration calculation, because I do not
know how much datas the XPe writes on the CF during the boot process and when
it is started up. Maybe there is any measurement tool around?

Slobodan Brcin \(eMVP\)


IIRC FAT was most destructive FS in terms of repetitive writes at certain sectors.

FBA writes to same sector can go up to 9000-10000 writes.
Regular boot is between 60-100 writes to same sector.

Now you do the math.



One important thing that a developer of ours noticed is that we
couldn't find any default way to disable AutoLayout -- apparently, XP
(and previous NT flavors?) will kinda-sorta defragment your hard drive
in the background, or at least try to optimize file ordering when the
system is idle. This, of course, means more writes, and shorter life
span. We created a "DisableAutoLayout" component -- it's just one reg
entry IIRC -- to turn this feature off. I highly reccomend it to
anybody who won't be using EWF with a flash card. Better still, USE
EWF and write your data elsewhere. Just a thought.

More Info:

Matt Kellner \(MS\)

In the SP2 component database, there is also a component named "Background
Disk Defragmentation Disable" that you can use to turn that feature off.

Matt Kellner ([email protected])
STE, Windows Embedded Group

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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