Using the Everex gBook as a base, easily swap large CF cards for multiple OS booting and quasi-SSD storage
Posted 05.08.2008 at 6:56 pm
Before we begin this project, here are some sage observations and precautions that were earned “the hard way” during development.
- Not all CF reader/writers are created equal. In fact, we had to discard one SanDisk Model SDDR-92-A15 for failing to reliably read/write CF disks. CF disks can also vary according to capacity, manufacturer, and rate of transfer speed.
- CF cards are generally not designed for the stressed of frequent read/write activity that will result from using them as a boot volume. It's probably a good idea to keep backups of anything vital stored to a CF card being used as a boot volume
- Don’t fret if your BartPE CF disk doesn’t boot properly the first time. You may have to reboot the disk a couple of times before everything works properly. In fact, we've been using our gNote for a couple of weeks and we still have to occasionally reboot 1-3 times for our BartPE CF disk to load correctly.
- BartPE does not install a working version of Windows XP on your gNote. Rather it is a working “shell” based on elements of Windows XP (and it requires an XP install disc to function properly). One fringe benefit is that BartPE does not require Windows Product Activation (WPA). Also, if you wish to install Windows XP apps on BartPE, then you must create a BartPE plug-in:
- If you follow the BartPE creation/installation instructions correctly, you will have a bootable CF disk containing a 150Mb ISO image. Yes, the CF disk will boot from the ISO, if you follow the BartPE instructions found here: “Installing BartPE to USB Flash Disk”
There are three potential “gotchas” that could happen when trying to follow these installation instructions:
- I don’t have a “sr1sp” folder: Just make a folder named “sr1sp” inside your BartPE PEBuilder3 folder.
- There is no “sr1sp.exe”: That’s right; the correct file name should be the name of the 300+Mb Microsoft Server 2003 Service Pack 1 file that you downloaded (see above). Just change the sr1sp.exe name to the EXE file that you downloaded and keep the remainder of the BartPE instructions the same.
- My “expand” doesn’t work: Use 7-Zip instead (see above FREE SOFTWARE). Just locate the ramdisk.sy_ file with 7-Zip and “expand” it to your desktop. Then move the final ramdisk.sys file to the BartPE Builder sr1sp folder.
You can also find other references to this installation here:
Phew, with that out of the way, let's continue to the step-by-step: