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Thread: Boot from a solid state memory stick

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Boot from a solid state memory stick

    Is it possible to set up a computer to boot from a solid state memory stick like compact flash cards or those USB pen things or the like? My parents are really hacked off with their old computer being so slow.

    It only runs Win98 and they only use it to go on the interweb every now and then. I have tried to speed it up by reformatting and doing a fresh install but it's just taking forever to boot and shut down. Virus checkers bring up nothing and I can't see much being run on startup either.

    Doing a boot from a solid state memory like a 256MB card/stick should be able to hold a minimum install of Win98 and I think should boot up very fast (if I'm wrong here, please correct me!).

    Cheers for any advice.

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    Triple Ox
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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Cheers, but it doesn't state if you can boot to Win98 or not. Swafeman asked the question but didn't get a response.

    Enverex suggested to plug it in and try, if the BIOS recognises it then it may boot, but I don't wanna buy a 256MB one just to find it doesn't work.

    Software to emulate a floppy drive should work, anyone know of this please?

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    Perhaps the HD is running in PIO mode rather than UDMA for some reason. That really slows things down- it's worth checking.

    Anyway, you can indeed boot and run off USB pendrives, although it would only be faster than a HD if the HD is in PIO mode. Pendrives are relatively slow, especially USB 1.1 ones. Also Pen drives have a limited number of write cycles; an operating system that uses the page file as much as Windows will probably kill the drive eventually.

    There's been a lot of discussion of this over at the [H]ardOCP forums; people there boot off a pen drive in order to run crunching blades for Folding with a minimum of heat/noise. I'll dig up some links if you like.

    Rich :¬)

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Cheers mate, that would be appreciated.

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    It would be painfully slow booting into windows off a usb1.1 device as the transfer rate is around 600k(i think) usb2 pen drives the rate is around 6 mb/s which is still way slower than udma 5 drives at 30-40mb/s

    I gave up searching for answers on how to boot off one but maybe you'll have more luck so i'll lurk a bit

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    You know, I'm thinking of something else, not this type of solid state memory but the type that the BIOS or CMOS (or something) is written to. Can't remember what it's called. It costs a fortune in large sizes so isn't financially viable. Didn't realise USB2 drives would be so slow.

    I'll just have to try harder to rid their HDD of whatever is making it go slow.

    Anyone know of any 'go-faster' stripes for HDD's?

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    Kensey66 - XBL
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    I think you mean Static ram or SRAM, incredibly quick and expensive. It's the memory they use for cache mem on CPU'S

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sk!mD4Rk
    I think you mean Static ram or SRAM, incredibly quick and expensive. It's the memory they use for cache mem on CPU'S
    That's the stuff. Wonder how long before Windows is sold on it and hard installed into your system.

    Dream on baby...

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    U can get a converter to allow u to use a compact flash in the IDE slots, check out http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/product.php?view=5418

    although the CF cards are pretty expensive, I think that a 512Meg cf card should fit Windows98 easily, I know that people used to stick a cut down version onto a 250meg zip by removing IE, so I'm sure that a 512 one should fit it, IE can't be that hoooge

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    O.K., here's the main thread from the [H]:

    http://www.hardforum.com/showthread....0&pagenumber=1

    Like I say though mate, it sounds to me like your HD is stuck in PIO mode. You should check that before you try anything else.

    Rich :¬)

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll have a look at that when I'm home.

    What is PIO mode? And how do I check?

    Parents comp has Win98.

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rave
    O.K., here's the main thread from the [H]:

    http://www.hardforum.com/showthread....0&pagenumber=1
    That's complete double dutch to me! I think I'll forget about it for now...

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    Oh no!I've re-dorkalated! Jiff Lemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Al
    Thanks, I'll have a look at that when I'm home.

    What is PIO mode? And how do I check?

    Parents comp has Win98.
    Check in the Bios first.
    In 98 (and this is based from memory!) you'd got to device manager, check properties of the hdd and check that DMA is enabled.

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Cheers, I'll give it a go later.

  16. #16
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    PIO mode is the old way of interfacing with an IDE drive. It's drastically slow because everything has to go through the CPU. UDMA allows the HD to talk direct to memory and is a lot faster. My comp. is stuck in PIO and it's a massive PITA, I can tell you. Windows XP (and possibly 98?) defaults to PIO if it detects errors and refuses to come out again unless you re-install drivers.

    Rich :¬)

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