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Old September 14, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Question Change old low HDD to a CF card?

Segate 13G ST313021A on Pentium 90 @ 125MHz:



Average - 6.4MB/sec - now this is SPEEED! :p

...

I wonder, if anyone have in operation slower HDD :D

...

Therefore I wonder, if someone have a experience with replacing such SLOOOW HDDs with PATA to CF adapter and CF card(s)? The latest models promise very fast speeds - 160MB/sec is quite above PATA possibilities:


SanDisk Extreme PRO 32G CF card

...and since the adapters are just wires, connecting the CF card to PATA interface (CF cards work on same PATA interface!) and only in best cases, you can choose the voltage (3.3V or 5V) and you get the power and activity lights:


DeLock 91620 PATA to CF

...then there should not be any problem of using CF cards as old PATA HDD replacement(s). Only problem I hear, that there should be changed bit on the card somewhere, that change the device type from removable to fixed. Then it should act as normal HardDriveDevice.

But maybe I missed something...? Do anyone have experience with this? Could someone share tips, software for the change (from removable to fixed) and experience in general?
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Last edited by trodas; September 19, 2015 at 11:24 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old September 14, 2015, 05:34 PM
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The removable device bit only applies for a minority of hardware IIRC. Typically more obscure stuff.

I have used/currently use CF cards in my IBM 5150, 286, 486, K6-2, 68k and PPC Macs(desktop and portable), etc.

Just plug it in and try it. If it does not work double check the settings and try a different card.
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Old September 15, 2015, 01:22 PM
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Glad to hear from someone who tried this many times in many different machines! Thanks! 68k? Motorola 680x0? That sounds like old Mac's or Amigas :)

Quote:
The removable device bit only applies for a minority of hardware IIRC. Typically more obscure stuff.
So, with the SanDisk Extreme PRO 32G CF card I should be good to go? I would like to get all the possible speed I can out of the PATA, because I would like to have a record: Can I overcome 1st place on Pentium 90? - HWBOT forum

And when one really need to set this removable / fixed device bit, what one can do...?
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Old September 15, 2015, 01:50 PM
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Honestly, I have never used the specific card so you are really just going to have to try it.
I personally think that it has a high probability of functioning. What sort of speeds you will get I do not know.
I am pretty sure the only computer I ever had a removable device bit issue on was my PowerBook 150 combined with the CF card I now use in my IBM 5150. But I am pretty sure I remember the newer cards I checked in that same system seemed to work fine.
The only other issue I have had was unrelated and with my 286's stock BIOS. In that case I was not allowed to manually set C/H/S, and was getting corruption on any card that was not a specific SanDisk card. In the end I burnt XTIDE Universal BIOS to an EPROM and am sitting pretty with it in an ethernet card's socket. Can now use any drive I want in the 286!

Other options for you are those little IDE<->SATA adapters. Did anyone ban PCI SATA cards and a SSD?
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Old September 16, 2015, 10:53 AM
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Well, the card is there, but the adapter come by Friday, so I better ask, what to use for example to change the bit from removable to fixed, before the device arive :) I hope for some universal tool, as other people should run into that problem as well... already.

Nope?
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Old September 16, 2015, 05:18 PM
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This makes no mention of the removable device bit and their example uses Windows XP and a Sandisk card: Addonics FAQ: Booting Operating Systems off a Compact Flash Card
This mentions it but does not go into any real detail: CompactFlash boot drive - ThinkWiki

Please just wait until you can try the CF card first. You have access to the tools but you never know, it might work without pain.
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Old September 18, 2015, 01:36 PM
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Well... first the good news: I tried 3.3V first and the good news are, that SanDisk Extreme PRO 32G CF card works well with 3.3V settings! There are the result, enabling Smart a 32bit mode transfer did nothing, PATA133 is supported, but it is not going to get higher. Sadly. Still, I think that this is a reasonable speed improvement:


(ASRock 775Dual-VSTA, 3.8GHz P4, 2G DDR2 Crucial Ballistix rams)

However, now to bad news. The CF card is completely useless, unless someone tell me how to change the removable bit to fixed. Period. You cannot use the CF card for anything w/o that. Two examples:

I use Mini Tool Partition Wizard Pro to setup the drive on boot CD - it let me allign the partitions - when creating second partition (one 4G FAT32 for OS, rest for DATA and NTFS = usable settings for waza), it tells me, that I cannot use that partition under Win, as Win recognize only ONE partition on removable device. I was like... that it is, I'm screwed.

So for lolz, I started the install. It want well even at 83MHz FSB with the ATI Rage XL card (IDE HDD refused to work under such conditions, it worked only when S3 Trio64 is used as graphic card at that clock), but then I get to the drive partitioning and problems arise. D partition is invisible (unpartioned space, lol) and there is no way to create a new partition there, because on removable drive, only one partition is supprted. So OK, I try installing and using only the 4G partition... but no! It cannot install, because this partition is NOT compatible with WinXP.
(additionally the card then refuse to work in any PC... formating in my Nikon Coolpix 4300 camera was the only way to fix the caard :-O )

So basicaly, w/o the change from removable to fixed, any usage of any CF card as HDD replacement is doomed.

...

I'm quite mad at SanDisk - they should rename themselves as ScamDisk, because they are selling not CF cards, but CF compatible *) cards, with the *) exception for the possibility to change removable to fixed bit. I believe, that there is open possibility to lawsuit against SanDisk and any other CF card producing company, that produces products, that does not meet the CF card specifications. Because this is false advertising and misleading labeling of product. This is not a CF card, period.
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Old September 18, 2015, 05:58 PM
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Well, either try just a single FAT32 partition set to bootable like in the thinkwiki instructions, or check to see if ATCFWCHG.COM is even compatible with your card?
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Old September 19, 2015, 11:41 AM
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No, it is NOT. Nothing helped right now, the removable / fixed bit set is the most important thing EVER...


But first... Well, since SanDisk is not going to reply, I tried with the default 5V setting the DeLock adapter I mentioned earlier with very old, 0.5G CF card SanDisk SDCFH. It does support PIO 4, but no DMA and the speed is very slow:



Tested on ASRock 775Dual-VSTA (P4, 3.8GHz WinXP, alligned). Also works (or more precisely, get detected) on the target Asus TXP4-X, so so far, so good. Except the speed, lol.

Now the question is - what voltage to use for the SanDisk Extreme PRO 32G CF card and how to change the removable bit to fixed, so there will be the caching in Windows possible.


...


I found two ways, ATM, that attempted to flip the removable / fixed bit on my SanDisk CF cards. I have own a oldie SanDisk 5V and 0.5GBy big CF card (SDCFH-512) too. The second tested card was the SanDIsk Extreme PRO 32G (SDCFXPS-032G) CF card.

1 - there is a program called BootIt v1.07, that offer the flipping between the removable and fixed devices:
USB Powered Gadgets and more.. ยป Flip Your Bit USB Utility To Make Local Drive
It does promise that it will work (despite showing my 32G CF card as 18G) and it even claim to work:

...but the device stays as removable. Both my CF cards cannot be changed. It should work good on USB drives... but it does not work on both mentioned CF cards.

2 - there is program called atcfwchg.com:
How to Set a CF Card to Fixed Mode | eHow
Again it claim to flip the removable bit to fixed on CF card, connected thru PATA to CF card adapter into a PATA interface. The usage is shell and it is simple:
atcfwchg /P /F
That should set the CF card, that reside on the primary IDE channel to fixed mode. In reality it output this error:
Quote:
D:\>ATCFWCHG /P /F
NAND Athens ID Drive Config Word (Fixed/Removable) Change Utility Version 1.4.
Fail (error #20)
D:\>
So changing the "most important bit" on any CF card is not possible for these SanDisk cards, witch make them virtually useless for any PC usage, as for example, two partitions are not possible on removable device under Windows, while it is not a problem on fixed device...

There are also "solutions", like a diskmod-0.0.2.2, witch is basically a driver that trick Windows into treating all devices as fixed. Yet that is not going to help me to be able to install Windows on the CD card, therefore I cannot attest on it's functionality of quirks or bad things that happen, when you use it. I saw video of this driver working well on Win 8.1, but since the change is not permament ON THE DEVICE and it is just a Win patch, then it does not interest me one bit.

So far, I'm clueless. Hopefully the information I gather will help someone... On SanDisk forum this message I posted disappeared very quickly (under 20 min)... so, beware, users. SanDisk does not sell CF cards, but compatible CF cards with the exception that the most important change you are forbidden to do it and they will even activelly seek and eradicate all informations regarding the topic...
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Old September 28, 2015, 10:02 AM
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Guy that goes with nick fzabkar discovered that the SanDisk utility change the Identify Device configuration word from 848Ah to 044Ah:

Code:
1283:16C1 BF0006        MOV	DI,0600                          | if removable, then
1283:16C4 833E280801    CMP	WORD PTR [0828],+01              | write 0x848A to 0x630 
1283:16C9 740A          JZ	16D5                              |  
1283:16CB C6453084      MOV	BYTE PTR [DI+30],84              |
1283:16CF C645318A      MOV	BYTE PTR [DI+31],8A              |  
1283:16D3 EB08          JMP	16DD                             |  
1283:16D5 C6453004      MOV	BYTE PTR [DI+30],04              | else write 0x044A to 0x630  
1283:16D9 C645314A      MOV	BYTE PTR [DI+31],4A              |
Witch makes me wonder, if someone could re-create such utility to change my CF card to fixed device rather that being removable, witch cause all sorts of problems with Windows and other programs... and slow-downs.
(for example backing up or restoring a partition by DriveImage boot CD impossible!)

Once I managed to run the card using the Hitachi CF card driver with DMA and I get pretty nice 20MB/sec speed:



...but on next reboot it fails to PIO mode again (and stay that forever since) and the speed is about 2MB/sec with *HUGE* CPU load :(

Hopefully could someone help me out, because that suxx :(
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