Boot Windows XP Setup From Compact Flash

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Boot Windows XP Setup From Compact Flash

Postby SleepyDrink » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:42 pm

Original Source: http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.c ... pc-laptop/
Note: Tutorial originally meant for Asus' EEEPC's.

Hardware you'll need

1.) A USB memory key. 1GB is recommended, but if your going to use a custom nLite installation of Windows XP, then you can get away with a 512MB one.

2a.) A SD Memory Card. Any size will do, even if you have a 16MB one laying around, that's heaps.


2b.) A Second USB memory key. Any size. (It should be noted I've only tried this with the SD card option)

3.) A Windows XP SP 2 Installation CD.

Software you'll need

1.) Download physdiskwrite. A small utility to use for creating a boot disk for our XP installation.

2.) A boot disk image.

Grab the one called 'MS Windows XP System Setup Disk'.

Step 1: Creating a SD boot disk
Create a temporary directory on your PC and unzip physdiskwrite.exe into this folder.

Using your file compression program (WinRAR, WinZip, 7Zip etc) extract the file "WXPBOOT.IMA" to the same folder as physdiskwrite.exe.

NOTE: The wxpboot.exe is not an archive, programs such as WinRAR may throw an error, but still extract at least 'WXPBOOT.IMA'.

Insert your SD or your 2nd USB memory key into your PC.

Next go to into disk management of your PC by going into:
Control Panel --> Administration Tools --> Computer Management --> Disk Management

Make a special note of the drive number (not the letter) of your SD card or USB memory key.

Next open a command line and navigate to your temp directory where physdiskwrite.exe is located.

Type: physdiskwrite -u wxpboot.ima

WARNING: It will list all of your drives and ask you which one you want to write to. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE. You need to make sure you aren't writing to any of your actual hard disks.

It should only take a few seconds. This device becomes your 'boot disk'.

Step 2: Copying XP to your USB memory key
Take your windows XP installation CD and stick it in your DVD/CD drive.

Copy the folder 'i386' to your USB key (the first one, not the one you put your boot disk onto).

If you are using a standard XP SP2 CD without using nLite, it will be around 550MB to put on. I'd highly encourage anyone doing this to grab nlite at to cut down the size of your Windows XP size. Remove unwanted or unneeded utilites and applications to save room. (I was able to cut the CD size down to 325MB without to much sacrifice).

This USB key becomes our 'Windows Disk'.

Step 3: Preparing EEEPC
Insert your SD boot disk into the SD card slot, or USB port if it's a memory key.

Boot your EEEPC and go into it's bios by hitting F2 when it first switches on.

Change 'OS Insallation' to 'Start'. Hit F10 to save and exit.

As soon as the EEPC restarts hit escape to load the boot loader.

At the memu choose either your SD card if you used that, or the USB mem key.

It shouldn't take long and at some point will ask you to hit any key to continue.

When you finaly reach a command prompt you should see:


Type: fdisk

When asked if you want to enable large HDD support just hit Y or enter.

It should show several non-DOS partitions, and a DOS partition named BIOS. We want to wipe all these.

Once you've wiped all three partitions create a new partition DOS partition. Save and exit.

Restart your EEEPC (ALT+CTRL+DEL will do the trick here) and boot back into your boot disk again.

This time at the command prompt:

Type: format c: /s

Once it's formated ensure that the boot linux boot loader is gone by typing:

Type: fdisk /mbr

Your SSD should now be bootable to DOS without a boot disk.

Step 4: Installing XP Pro
Insert your Windows USB memory key into the left hand side USB port . The reason for this is that the boot disk assigns this port as 'D:\'.

Reboot your EEEPC back into the boot disk. Once there:

Type: d:
Type: cd i386
Type: winnt

The Windows XP installation should start. The first part will be windows copying temp files to your SSD drive. Windows may ask you where the i386 folder is. Just make it's pointed to the 'D:\i386' directory. When it's finished copying these files and is about to reboot, remove your USB memory key/s, and or SD memory card from the EEEPC as you won't require these anymore.

Reboot your EEEPC. You should see a windows boot loader appear that shows:

Windows XP Install/Upgrade (Or something to that nature).

Just let it boot on it's own, it will automatically start the next phase.

Now you should see the normal Windows XP installation start. When it asks you would you like to convert your HDD to NTFS, you should say yes.

From that point on, it should be a normal XP installation. Once it's complete and booted into windows the first time, restart the EEEPC, go into the bios by hitting F2 and change 'OS Installation' to 'Finished'.

It's recommended to install the ACPI driver, and then the chipset driver before other drivers.

Hopefully by this stage your in your fully functioning Windows XP EEEPC!

Just remember if you want to return at anytime back to the original image, you can create a new bootable restoration disk from the included EEEPC DVD.

One last thing. To remove the boot loader at the start of loading windows (where it asks you where you'd like to boot) go to:

Right Click My Computer->Properties->Advanced->Startup and Recovery

Make sure "Windows XP" is your default OS, and untick the "Time to display list of Operating Systems."

The EEEPC will then boot straight into Windows.

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Re: Boot Windows XP Setup From Compact Flash

Postby Admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:20 pm

How-To: Boot Windows XP Off a Compact Flash Card

By Will Wagner | December 15th, 2004 comments icon Comments (22)

compact flash win xp bootWith the cost of solid state disks like Compact Flash and USB thumb drives coming down in price, they have become an attractive option to use as a replacement for hard drives on home entertainment PCs. They are noise free and generate very little heat. This article describes how I was able to get BeyondTV Link, a .Net application, running Windows XP Home using an inexpensive compact flash card. As a disclaimer, please note that your mileage may vary when doing this procedure so please don’t blame me if things go badly, your spouse leaves you, and/or your dog bites you as a result of this article.

My first attempt was to do this with a USB thumb drive, given the motherboard I was using, a Via Epia M10000, has an option in BIOS to boot to a USB drive. After many failed attempts and investigation, I believe Windows XP does not support booting off of a USB drive no matter how much wishful thinking, so I took an alternative road using a compact flash card and an IDE adaptor. Please let me know in the comments if you have found a way to get USB drives to boot into Windows XP.

I used a cheap 1 gig Compact Flash card but depending on your skill level and tolerance of repeated attempts, I believe this can be done on a 512MB card as well. BeyondTV Link (and the associated Firefly remote software) use .Net which increases the disk usage significantly, so if you are using a different application, I think 512MB is adequate. I also used a compact flash IDE adaptor which is pretty easy to find both online and at electronics stores.

I used two applications in the process. One I think is essential to the cause for anyone who isn’t an expert, XPLite from the, a very handy application that will help you remove components from the Windows OS. The other is Partition Magic, which makes it easy to resize and copy one hard drive to another. I believe there are open source projects that can do some of this, but I find Partition Magic easy and dependable so it’s worth the cost to purchase it.

Step 1 - Build system using a hard drive
Windows XP Home requires a minimum of 1.5Gigs of hard drive space, so the first step is to build the system using a standard hard drive. I created a partition of 2 Gigs but found it inadequate to installing Service Pack 2, so I suggest putting the OS on a 3 Gigs or bigger drive to start. I installed a fresh copy of the OS using NTFS since it has a handy “compress files” option which I use later. I then added the VIA drivers and spent a good deal of time in Windows Update getting all the latest patches. I also installed BeyondTV Link and the Firefly Remote software. I then verified everything was working properly. At this point, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to back everything up using a tool like Partition Magic in case you need to come back to this point (I learned this the hard way)

Step 2 - Turn off Virtual Memory
The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off virtual memory so it doesn’t create a paging file on the drive. This can be found by right clicking “My Computer” and selecting “Properties”. It’s under the Advanced Tab, buried in another dialog by selecting the “Settings” button under Performance. From there, it’s under yet another “Advanced” tab and it’s labeled Virtual Memory (screenshot). Make sure that when you select “No paging file” you hit the “Set” button or it won’t actually adjust the settings.

Step 3 - XPLite from LitePC
The next step for me was pruning back the OS using XPLite from LitePC. The first thing you should do is “disable” Windows File Protection in the aptly named “Window File Protection” tab (screenshot). If you don’t, you’ll find windows constantly complaining about missing files. I removed most components including those Advanced Components you can get to show up by changing the default settings (screenshot). Be careful though, since you’ll likely remove the System Restore feature which gobbles up a lot of space, but prevents you from doing something completely irreversible. See my review on XPLite for more information on how to use the product. Make sure you reboot a couple times afterwards to remove any system restore points.

Step 4 - Clean up
The next thing I did was to boot into Windows Safe Mode (hold down the F8 key) to do some basic clean up of the system. Make sure you have changed file explorer to show hidden and system files. This can be found in the “Folder Options” menu in the “View” tab. Your final system will likely be different from mine, but here are a few good things to remove or change to get more disk space:

* Delete anything in the Windows directory that starts with $NTUninstall.
* Delete anything I the Windows/SoftwareDistribution/Download directory.
* On larger directories, go to the properties dialog and select the “Advanced” button and pick “compress contents to save disk space”. Note that this is only available if you formatted your drive using NTFS. I did this to the following folders: Program Files, Windows/Microsoft.NET, Windows/.inf, Windows/system32.

Doing just that, I got the system down to 750MB or so. Being more aggressive, at one point I had a working system under 500MB.

Step 5 - Resize and Copy
I ran the floppy boot disks for Partition Magic to resize and move the OS to the compact flash card. Make sure you resize the hard drive partition small enough to fit the compact flash card, and then from within Partition Magic, copy the drive over to the compact flash drive.

Final Step - Remove original Drive and put Compact Flash Drive in its place
The final step is to remove the original hard drive and switch the connectors so it puts the compact flash drive in its place. Make sure it’s in the same location on the ID Bus (e.g Master Drive, Primary IDE channel) or you’ll quickly run into a “NTloader is Missing” error. With any luck, it will boot up as it did before, albeit a lot more quietly than that squeaky old disk you were using before.

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Re: Boot Windows XP Setup From Compact Flash

Postby Admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:22 pm

Now keep in mind a BootSect on a Compact Flash card differs from a IDE Harddrive, but when you plug in a CF cards, The Computer sees it as a IDE unit and thus looks for that type of BootSect.

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