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Booting Windows 7 from ExpressCard


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#1 ooter37

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:06 PM

Sorry in advance if this is the wrong forum. I was unsure where to put it. I searched google seven pages deep and searched your forums, but was unable to find an answer to my question. If I missed a post that already answers my question, sorry in advance for that too.

Anyways, my question is this. I have a 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive in my laptop. It is a very fast laptop, but some tasks (such as booting and loading programs) seem to go slow because of the hard drive speed. To remedy this, I have purchased a Solid State Drive. Because there is not an available hard drive expansion slot in the laptop, and because it does have an open ExpressCard slot, I purchased an ExpressCard SSD. I have seen elsewhere that the card itself is capable of booting (many MacBook Pro users boot or dual boot off this exact drive, I believe). However, in the bios of my laptop, it does not list booting from ExpressCard as an option. Is there anyway I can work around this? Perhaps it will boot to the normal hard drive for a moment, to load drivers necessary for the ExpressCard boot, then boot from the ExpressCard?

My goal is to run Windows 7, programs, and the files necessary for those programs, from the ExpressCard, while storing backups and my large media collection on the main drive.

The last caveat that may or may not be relevant is that my laptop has a feature called "One Key Restore". I do not fully understand how this works, but I believe a certain partition is dedicated to this feature, and I should not touch that partition, lest I lose my restore feature. I know I probably will not be able to install Windows 7 from "One Key Restore" onto the SSD. I have obtained a separate Windows 7 install disc, however, so I should be okay. I am unclear as to how I will install all the necessary drivers and software that comes on my laptop from the factory, however, as the install disc I have is just Windows 7, not a restore disc from my laptop's manufacturer.

My laptop is a Lenovo Y550P (exact model found here http://www.newegg.co...82E16834146613).

My Solid State Drive is a FileMate SolidGo 48GB SSD (exact model found here http://www.newegg.co...-325-_-Product).

Thank you for any help you can offer!

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:56 AM

If there is no provision in BIOS to boot from the "express card" slot, I guess that there is no app capable of booting from it.

But you can most probably do a "hybrid" boot, i.e. start the booting from something else (bootable from BIOS) and then "switch" to theExpress Card.

Though I have no idea how fast is the Express Card Bus. :D

Your best bet is booting from "internal" hard disk grub4dos and see how (and if) it "sees" the Express Card Drive.

See the guide:
http://diddy.boot-la...os/Grub4dos.htm
http://diddy.boot-la...iles/syntax.htm
http://diddy.boot-la...iles/basics.htm
http://diddy.boot-la...s/files/cli.htm

And this seemingly unrelated thread for a start:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=20314

;)

jaclaz

#3 ooter37

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 03:37 AM

I'm sorry, I don't understand much of what is in those links. Would you mind giving me more of a step by step guide as to what I should do? I would really appreciate it! Thank you for your help.

#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:27 AM

Well it will be a LOONG thread.

I will try and help you, but you will need to do your homework. :)

I cannot (and I don't think anyone else can give you a step by step guide for something that has NOT been tested/developed before.

First goal: You need to somehow boot grub4dos from your internal hard disk.

You need to read the guide:
http://diddy.boot-la...os/Grub4dos.htm

to have an idea of what is grub4dos and how it works.

Get grub4dos LATEST from here:
http://nufans.net/grub4dos/
http://nufans.net/gr...-2009-10-16.zip

Then:

What is your laptop running?
XP?
Vista?

If XP try following these instructions:
http://diddy.boot-la...ws.htm#windows1

If Vista, try following these ones:
http://diddy.boot-la...ws.htm#windows3

Once you have it booting, we will check whether the external drive in the slot is somehow made visible by BIOS.

Not to put you down, mind you, but you must understand that yours will be episode 0 (zero) of the series, so don't take for granted:
  • that it is possible
  • that it is possible easily

Please post also some details on your laptop, make, model, etc. and on the SSD drive.

;)

Wonko

#5 ooter37

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:30 PM

Thank you, I appreciate your help. I'll go through the instructions, and show you what I've done for each step, as well as where I'm stuck at.

[codebox]To install grub4dos copy the file C:\Grub4dos\grldr.mbr to the Windows boot partition (usually the active partition on the first hard disk - the drive will contain the BCD store and bootmgr).[/codebox] I extract the grub4dos zip to the directory c:\Grub4dos. [codebox]Open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges (right click and select Run as administrator)[/codebox] I open command prompt with administrator privileges. [codebox]Enter the following text (where - %STORE% = path to BCD file (e.g. C:\boot\BCD)) -[/codebox]Here is where I get stuck. I can't find any instructions that tell me how to find the path for the BCD file. It suggests "c:\boot\BCD", but I don't have a directory with that name (I'm showing hidden files). My computer runs Windows 7. I put the links to the product information on my computer and the SSD in my first post. The laptop is a Lenovo Y550 and the SSD is a SolidGo Filemate 48GB ExpressCard SSD. If you want more information, just tell me what you need, and I'll go search for it and post it here.

#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:59 PM

Two problems, both probably some kind of misunderstanding.

1. To install grub4dos copy the file C:\Grub4dos\grldr.mbr to the Windows boot partition (usually the active partition on the first hard disk - the drive will contain the BCD store and bootmgr)

Means "copy the file C:\Grub4dos\grldr.mbr to the Windows boot partition" and "(usually the active partition on the first hard disk - the drive will contain the BCD store and bootmgr)" means "(usually the active partition on the first hard disk - the drive will contain the BCD store and bootmgr)".

I don't actually care where you unzipped the files ;), grldr.mbr has to be copied to ROOT of the Boot partition, as well as grldr.

As an example:
C:\grldr.mbr and NOT C:\Grub4dos\grldr.mbr


2. It seems to me like you don't even know which is your Active (Boot) partition.

Uness you use some bootmanager, you will have a file BOOTMGR in it, AND a directory \boot\ and in it a BCD file, and in 99% of cases, it will be the C:\ partition.

Maybe you should get familiar with normal Vista/7 boot process first:
http://www.multibooters.co.uk/
http://www.multiboot.../multiboot.html
http://www.multiboot....uk/system.html

On boot-land we like to call things with their name (unlike Microsoft does :)) so when we say Boot partition we actually mean Boot partition and not System partition ;):

You say Tomato
Microsoft calls the partition with the boot files the System partition, and the partition with the operating system the Boot partition. Everyone else refers to them exactly the other way round. The boot files on the boot partition. The operating system on the system partition.


Please do also check this:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9697

(most probably you can omit the /store parameter)

:)

Wonko

P.S.: Maybe you'd better use EasyBCD or a similar GUI tool:
http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1

#7 ooter37

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:20 PM

I think some of the confusing may stem from the unique factory partitioning of my laptop. It comes with a feature called onekeyrestore. Basically, the result of this is that there are, I believe, three partitions. One partition (C drive) where windows, program files, storage, and almost everything else is stored. It is 420GB. There is another partition (D drive) that is 30 GB, but is almost empty (29 GB of free space). It contains drivers for the computer. There is also, apparently, a hidden partition that contains other stuff related to onekeyrestore, and it takes up the rest of my 500GB hard drive. I can't see the hidden partition.

I have installed EasyBCD. Is there a guide I should follow to do this with EasyBCD?

#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:21 PM

I think some of the confusing may stem from the unique factory partitioning of my laptop. It comes with a feature called onekeyrestore. Basically, the result of this is that there are, I believe, three partitions. One partition (C drive) where windows, program files, storage, and almost everything else is stored. It is 420GB. There is another partition (D drive) that is 30 GB, but is almost empty (29 GB of free space). It contains drivers for the computer.


Yep, it's a bit "queer" but I've seen worse setups. ;)

There is also, apparently, a hidden partition that contains other stuff related to onekeyrestore, and it takes up the rest of my 500GB hard drive. I can't see the hidden partition.

Well, if you could see it, it wouldn't be hidden, wouldn't it? :rolleyes:

However, can you access disk management and post a scrrenshot of your disks similar to the ones depicted here:
http://www.multiboot....uk/system.html

Not to doubt your word for it :), but I would like to make sure how your disk is partitioned.

From the screenshot it will also be clear which one is you "actual Boot" (please read as "MS system") drive.


I have installed EasyBCD. Is there a guide I should follow to do this with EasyBCD?

Well, it was just a provocation. :confused1:

Using directly BCDEDIT gives more control, in this particular case using EasyBCD will even be more complex.

Try opening a command prompt and run in it:
bcdedit
[ENTER]
or:
bcdedit  /enum
[ENTER]

Check syntax here:
http://technet.micro...667(WS.10).aspx

If you get something starting like:

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {bootmgr}
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {globalsettings}
default {default}
displayorder {default}
toolsdisplayorder {memdiag}
timeout 30
....

....


It means that although you don't know where it is, your installed system knows where /boot/BCD is. :cheers:

:cheers:

Wonko

#9 ooter37

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 11:28 PM

When running that command, I got the following info:
Windows Boot Manager--------------------identifier                                           {bootmgr}device                                                partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1description                                      Windows Boot Managerlocale                                                 en-USinherit                                                {globalsettings}default                                               {current}resumeobject                                {ebf98391-afc5-11de-8ab7-00262292b621}displayorder                                   {default}toolsdisplayorder                         {memdiag}timeout                                             30
I hand typed that, so hopefully I didn't make any typos (is there a way to copy/paste from the command prompt?).Here is a link to the screenshot http://www.flickr.com/photos/46420937@N04/4263545763/My work bans image upload sites so I had to go in a roundabout way to upload that. Hopefully you can see it alright.

#10 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 11:46 PM

I hand typed that, so hopefully I didn't make any typos (is there a way to copy/paste from the command prompt?).

Sure.

Try right clicking with the mouse on the command window, you should have something like "Mark".

Select it, than highlight the part you are interested in nand press [ENTER].

Open Notepad and Paste.


Well, I can hardly distinguish vaguely something in that image, but you seem to have one of those "new age" setups where the actual Boot partition is the 200 Mb small volume with no drive letter assigned.

In disk management right click on that partition and assign to it a drive letter, say "Y:".

You should then be able to see it's contents in Explorer.

Wonko

#11 ooter37

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:13 AM

Ok I've done that. The drive is blank (I have show hidden files on). It says it has 167 of 199 MB free.

#12 ooter37

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:22 AM

To make this simpler, I'm just going to remove the onekeyrestore and make my entire hard drive into one partition. I've backed up all my files. Should I reformat the drive and reinstall Windows 7 on it? Or can I leave it as is and install Windows 7 on the ExpressCard (where I want to boot from) then later, when it's booting properly, reformat the main hard drive?

#13 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:24 AM

Hmm. :confused1:

I guess we have to wait for someone more familiar with 7 ( and this particular 200Mb Boot partition way to setup it) to join our little party.

There must be some settings to allow you seeing the files that have to be there, though not strictly necessary as BCDEDIT can find the BCD store allright, but always better be safe than sorry, as I see it. ;)

Wonko

#14 ooter37

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 02:46 AM

Hmm. :confused1:

I guess we have to wait for someone more familiar with 7 ( and this particular 200Mb Boot partition way to setup it) to join our little party.

There must be some settings to allow you seeing the files that have to be there, though not strictly necessary as BCDEDIT can find the BCD store allright, but always better be safe than sorry, as I see it. ;)

Wonko


I will just wipe the hard drive, repartition it, and reformat it like a standard Windows 7 drive (which would eliminate all the partitions and what not, I assume?).

Can I just install Windows 7 to my ExpressCard and then proceed from there (without touching my main drive, other than to create the thing that tells it to boot the ExpressCard)?

#15 resrevni

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:46 AM

If there is no provision in BIOS to boot from the "express card" slot, I guess that there is no app capable of booting from it.

But you can most probably do a "hybrid" boot, i.e. start the booting from something else (bootable from BIOS) and then "switch" to theExpress Card.

Though I have no idea how fast is the Express Card Bus. :)

Your best bet is booting from "internal" hard disk grub4dos and see how (and if) it "sees" the Express Card Drive.

:)

jaclaz

Hello! I have been searching all over web to find a solution that will allow me to boot Win7 from expresscard solid state drive (SSD). Thus far, I have successfully installed Windows 7 to the expresscard, but with warning from Windows that hardware "might not support" booting from device. But otherwise there was no complaint about installing onto expresscard.

On boot, Windows Boot Manager screen shows entry for Windows 7 (expresscard) as well as native OS Vista. When choosing 7, the following error is given:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:



1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.

2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."

3. Click "Repair your computer."



If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.



	 File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

	 Status: 0xc000000e

	 Info:  The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.
To continue, I have installed Grub4Dos-0.4.4 to my Vista laptop per the recommendation in this thread and can report that Grub4Dos doesn't recognize the expresscard SSD.

With the expresscard SSD inserted, root command output is as follows:

Grub> root (

	 Possible disks are: hd0 rd
To investigate further, I inserted a USB 2.0 flash drive and eSATA external hard drive and I can report that Grub4Dos does see both. So it seems that Grub4Dos has support for both USB and eSATA, but not for expresscard (PCI-express).

In searching for expresscard boot solution I discovered that many Mac users are sucessfully booting from the very same expresscard SSD and it's being controlled by the very same JMicron36X controller that resides in my laptop. Lucky for them they are not limited by a BIOS.

So, can anyone point me in the right direction for my next step? I know that no one is going to do this for me and I'm happy to be the first. I will not give up like everyone else. How can I get expresscard to be detected in Grub4Dos?

#16 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:25 AM

How can I get expresscard to be detected in Grub4Dos?

Unfortunately it cannot, unless the BIOS provides a "connection" to it.

This is the case of some Toshiba laptops, as the one in the already linked to thread.

If that machine does not provide such a support, there is nothing (short of writing from scratch a dedicated extension to grub4dos) that will make it recognize the SSD.

But, it is possible that a different approach can be used, the equivalent of the "XP Kansas City Shuffle" for Win7, pre-booting a smaller image and then load the "real" install on the SD card.

Again, unfortunately, AFAIK noone has tested/documented such an approach. :)

How is the express card slot "connected" ? (go in device manager and report the "tree" of device that lead to the SSD, usually it's either USB or PCI BUS.

Maybe, if it's USB, you can try PLoP boot manager.

There is an ongoing thread - but XP related - here:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9036
(unfinalized but that you should read to get familiar with some of the concepts/ideas)


:)
Wonko

#17 JoshuaCL

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:20 PM

I think I have a solution.

I googled Grub Expresscard

http://osdir.com/ml/...3/msg00007.html
"By default GRUB2 uses BIOS to access disks. So BIOS-invisible disks are invisible. To change this behaviour add --disk-module=ata to grub-install command"

I found a guide on how to install grub2 to usb

http://www.pendrivel...m-ubuntu-linux/
"Grub2 USB Flash Drive Install using the Ubuntu Live CD:

1. Boot from your Live Ubuntu 9.10 Linux CD
2. Once booted, insert your USB Flash Drive
3. Open a terminal and type sudo su
4. Type fdisk -l (and note which device is your USB)
5. Type mkdir /mnt/USB && mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/USB (replacing x with your actual usb device)
6. Type grub-install –no-floppy –root-directory=/mnt/USB /dev/sdx (replacing x with your actual USB device)
7. Type cd /mnt/USB/boot/grub
8. Type wget http://pendrivelinux...nloads/grub.cfg
9. Type df (and locate where cdrom is mounted I.E./dev/sr0)
10. Type dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/mnt/USB/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso (replacing sr0 with the device found in step 9)
11. Remove your Live CD and reboot your PC, setting your BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device.

If all goes well, you should now be booting into your Grub2 prepared USB Flash Drive, with a Grub2 Boot Menu option to Boot from your Ubuntu 9.10 ISO."

I modified the instructions to include the --disk-module=ata

and the instructions don't have the double -- you need (step 6) for calling the grub-install command, should read grub-isntall --no-floppy --root-directory=/mnt/USB /dev/sdx

Doing so, I get a "no such disk" error on boot
using ls
I SEE THE EXPRESSCARD!!!
I can set root=(ata4,1)
And that's about it.


The device comes up as ata4-ata4,1
I haven't tried it without the --disk-module=ata, I'm wondering if this is causing the no such disk error.

now time to work on my grub2 scripting

#18 resrevni

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:28 PM

I think I have a solution.

I googled Grub Expresscard

http://osdir.com/ml/...3/msg00007.html
"By default GRUB2 uses BIOS to access disks. So BIOS-invisible disks are invisible. To change this behaviour add --disk-module=ata to grub-install command"

I found a guide on how to install grub2 to usb

http://www.pendrivel...m-ubuntu-linux/
"Grub2 USB Flash Drive Install using the Ubuntu Live CD:

1. Boot from your Live Ubuntu 9.10 Linux CD
2. Once booted, insert your USB Flash Drive
3. Open a terminal and type sudo su
4. Type fdisk -l (and note which device is your USB)
5. Type mkdir /mnt/USB && mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/USB (replacing x with your actual usb device)
6. Type grub-install –no-floppy –root-directory=/mnt/USB /dev/sdx (replacing x with your actual USB device)
7. Type cd /mnt/USB/boot/grub
8. Type wget http://pendrivelinux...nloads/grub.cfg
9. Type df (and locate where cdrom is mounted I.E./dev/sr0)
10. Type dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/mnt/USB/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso (replacing sr0 with the device found in step 9)
11. Remove your Live CD and reboot your PC, setting your BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device.

If all goes well, you should now be booting into your Grub2 prepared USB Flash Drive, with a Grub2 Boot Menu option to Boot from your Ubuntu 9.10 ISO."

I modified the instructions to include the --disk-module=ata

and the instructions don't have the double -- you need (step 6) for calling the grub-install command, should read grub-isntall --no-floppy --root-directory=/mnt/USB /dev/sdx

Doing so, I get a "no such disk" error on boot
using ls
I SEE THE EXPRESSCARD!!!
I can set root=(ata4,1)
And that's about it.


The device comes up as ata4-ata4,1
I haven't tried it without the --disk-module=ata, I'm wondering if this is causing the no such disk error.

now time to work on my grub2 scripting

Hi JoshuaCL! Thank you for your post.

Are you positive you are seeing ExpressCard? Does ls reveal contents of ExpressCard? Reason I ask, from what I understand of GRUB2, it counts partition from 1, instead of 0. So it's easy to get confusion there.

Also, what type of filesystem is your ExpressCard formatted with? WIN32, NTFS, HFS, et al?

#19 JoshuaCL

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:54 PM

I am positive I see the expresscard, but only when I use the insmod ata at the grub2 console menu, then i ls, then i set root=(ata8,1) 8 is mine, yours might be different, then I can ls / and I see the win98 files I copied onto the expresscard. It's fat32.

I was doing some reading, I'm wondering if coreboot might help, this is a really big pain in the ass.

Also, I'm posting my updates in the longer thread that is about expresscards. You should be able to see it from the recently updated forums on the homepage.

#20 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:24 AM

Also, I'm posting my updates in the longer thread that is about expresscards. You should be able to see it from the recently updated forums on the homepage.

And what would happen to it tomorrow, or in one week, or next month? ;)

Here is the link to it:
http://www.boot-land...?...=9036&st=96

Please, do also understand that there is no need, (and actually it tends to clutter a thread) to continue making new posts in it.
Generally speaking, if your post is last one in a thread and you have new info, edit that post instead of making a new one.

;)
Wonko

#21 JoshuaCL

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:30 AM

my bad. I'll do that. I was thinking I should leave a link. I wasn't sure about the new post things, it does clutter it. I'm giving up on the insmod ata from the flash drive at the moment, and am going to try from a regular hd.

#22 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:40 AM

my bad.

No prob. ;)

Just giving you some hints on using the Board in an as useful/easy as possible manner.

;)
Wonko

#23 JoshuaCL

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 01:00 AM

I went back and edited my post down, I got the hd with grub2 on it, and I can see both devices files' now in ata mode. however, I still lose connection with the grub files after insmod ata, so I'm going to try to install grub2 in =ata mode and see if that alleviates it. I think I'm in the final stretch of what I can do. I'm making progress from moving from a flash drive to a actual hd. For some reason, when you are switching types of devices, grub2 doesn't like to keep the file systems in tact. For ex... flash drive is fat32, but when I jump to ata mode, I can't read the flash drive anymore. If I have the hd as ext2 and jump to ata mode, ext2 mode isn't readable, and when I can read the expresscard (fat32), and enable insmod ext2, the hd still isn't readable, so I have to have both as fat32 from the get go, and I'm thinking I have to have grub2 installed in =ata mode so as not to lose the ability to read from different devices.

What does this mean?

It might carry over onto sata devices as well. Kind of hard to explain, but I think the sata device can start up as an ata device, just ensure the grub partition is the same fs as the one on the expresscard, or you might not be able to read from it if you do insmod ata. Eh whatever, I'll post in my original thread after I try this =ata.

#24 resrevni

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 02:52 PM

Hi JoshuaCL! That is very good news.

Can I ask you what is your end goal? Since GRUB2 cannot detect NTFS partitions, will it be possible to have Windows7 ExpressCard boot using this method?

#25 JoshuaCL

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 03:15 PM

Hi JoshuaCL! That is very good news.

Can I ask you what is your end goal? Since GRUB2 cannot detect NTFS partitions, will it be possible to have Windows7 ExpressCard boot using this method?


my end goal was to boot anything off the expressccard with grub2.

Why do you say grub2 can't detect ntfs partitions? I read something about ntfs3g, but I thought that was in reference to the host drive.

Grub2 is a replacement for grub, I would have thought it came with ntfs support.

Either way, I did get far by installing xp onto an expresscard, using win7rescuepe which had a grub loader on it, and booted from the expresscard only to get an unsupported harddisk configuration message (jmicron drivers?)




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