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Boot from PCMCIA-CF card with no floppy?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by andrew0812, May 18, 2006.

  1. andrew0812

    andrew0812 Guest

    I am planning on converting an old laptop into a digital picture frame
    like many are doing today. I would like to make this all solid state,
    no spinning media. I know that I should be able to boot from a CF card
    using a CF-IDE converter board, but is it possible to boot PCMCIA-CF
    with no floppy drive? This is an old 600 Mhz Dell laptop. I don't
    even know if it can boot USB.

    I am doubting that it is possible without an IDE boot loader, but I
    just wanted to throw the question out there. I guess if it will boot
    USB, I could use a bootloader on a USB device to boot the PCMCIA card,
    but at that point, might as well just stick the whole system on the
    USB. It will have USB 1.0, which will be too slow at boot, so CF-IDE
    is probably my best bet, right?

    andrew0812, May 18, 2006
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  2. Sure, it'll work, just replace the hard drive with a PCMCIA card
    adapter and go at it. Note, however, that Windows will not run (long)
    on this setup, as it constantly writes stuff, and CF has a limited
    number of write cycles...

    What does the floppy drive have to do with anything?
    William P.N. Smith, May 18, 2006
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  3. andrew0812

    andrew0812 Guest

    I'll be using linux with no swap.

    I was under the impression that to get something to boot from the
    PCMCIA slots, you had to chain it with a bootloader. All the info I
    have seen talks of boot floppies and such, to either boot PCMCIA
    microdrives, or PCMCIA CD-ROMs.

    Have you done this before? To be clear, I am talking of using a PCMCIA
    to CF adapter, not an IDE to CF adapter.

    andrew0812, May 18, 2006
  4. Oops, I missed that detail. Nope, the only thing I can think of (I'm
    assuming the machine can't boot from USB) is an IDE->CF adapter.

    PCMCIA drivers can get really ugly, and there are several different
    incompatable chipsets. None of the recent boot disks I've seen can
    talk to them, and I don't think I've _ever_ seen a laptop with a "boot
    from PCMCIA" option.

    IDE->CF adapters are cheap, what's wrong with that solution?
    William P.N. Smith, May 18, 2006
  5. You might want to visit the following links and see if they answer your

    (Research into Booting a Linux System with an IDE - Compact Flash Adapter)
    (Booting Linux from Compact Flash)
    GlowingBlueMist, May 19, 2006
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