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Booting XP/Vista into RAM - have I got this at all right?


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#26 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:23 PM

The application requires tabctl32.ocx that was missing on my system. I got it from Internet. But then the application still fails
mounting the disk.

I have VMware version 6, and it has a built-in Map drive command under File menu.
So the problem is still there. Now I am installing a brand new XP virtual machine. Hopefully I can mount it.

#27 was_jaclaz

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:38 PM

@ktp
Doesn't VDK work for you?
http://chitchat.at.i...vmware/vdk.html

GUI's:
http://home.graffiti...ts/VDM/vdm.html
http://petruska.star...are/VMware.html

jaclaz

#28 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:59 PM

@jaclaz and niche99
Thanks for your help, but apparently there is a problem with my vmware. Even the newly created VM cannot be mounted,
so neither any of other disks from other vm. Or previously (few weeks ago) I was able to map those drives.
Still have vmware error message: cannot read volume information, and the OK button used to map the drive is greyed out! :-(

#29 niche99

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 03:18 PM

I assume you are formatting the virtual disk and installing XP on the Virtual Machine BEFORE you are trying to mount it? I have found it is best to install XP onto only one partition in this case. Your virtual Machine should only have one virtual disk with one primary partition on it, formatted and ready to have XP installed on it.

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#30 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 03:44 PM

I assume you are formatting the virtual disk and installing XP on the Virtual Machine BEFORE you are trying to mount it? I have found it is best to install XP onto only one partition in this case. Your virtual Machine should only have one virtual disk with one primary partition on it, formatted and ready to have XP installed on it.

niche99

Yes, that was exactly I did. But still cannot mount the disk. Maybe it is fragmented ?
Anyhow, I manage to use Partition Magic to create another partition, then use ubcd4win to copy the files to the second partition, then reboot the VM with the USB HDD plugged and seen by VMware. Then copy back the files from the second partition to the USB HDD. Experimentation result will be posted here.

#31 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 04:03 PM

Well maybe I used a VM with vmware tools installed. The USB key boots ok but then no mouse functioning, and lot of cpu and disk accesses. I had to
power off. Now I will try the freshly created virtual machine without any vmware tools applied.

#32 niche99

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 05:11 PM

I am currently recreating the process I used before. I am using VirtualBox as my VM Software, it's free. I post a step by step method here when and if I can recreate a successful USB Boot.

Only use a Pure XP source, it's OK to slipstream SP2, but DON'T do anything else to the source, eg use nLite, Ryan's RVM, or slipstream the DriverPacks. You can use a custom WINNT.SIF as long everything is on one partition.

Avoid installing VMware tools or VirtualBox Guest Additions.

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#33 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 06:37 PM

@niche99

Thanks for your effort, this would be very helpful for lot of persons.

Personally after several experimentations I have to abandon the game. Both methods did not work completely on BOTH of my two laptops.
Method 1 = usboot.org, method 2= inf change in XP CD.

Method 1: I tried with vmware, no vmware tools etc... It works for one laptop (first time a lot of new hardware detected, my usb mouse was not
recognized first, but the touchpad did). But then it hang on my second laptop at XP logo screen.

Method 2: it works for one laptop (the one I used to install on the USB HDD). But then this USB HDD cannot boot on my second laptop,
message hal.dll problem (windows root).

So for me there is no such "generic" solution. Fortunately there is BartPE/WinPE/VistaPE left on USB key/HDD, and at last resord bootable CD.
Thinking a little further, running full blown system on any system/PC is OK, but not the usual case. Rescue reasons are main points, and in rescue
situtation, no real need for full blown applications. There are a lot of portable applications that can do the job. Of course no much printing, sound, graphics
etc.. but this is acceptable, at least for me.

#34 ktp

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 08:26 PM

Other information : it looks like my second laptop causes lot of problem. Even method 2 did not work, since XP recognizes my external USB disk as C: with correct file system and size (the internal IDE HDD has been removed), but XP refuses to install on it, saying it could not operate the disk !

#35 was_jaclaz

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 09:11 AM

Other information : it looks like my second laptop causes lot of problem. Even method 2 did not work, since XP recognizes my external USB disk as C: with correct file system and size (the internal IDE HDD has been removed), but XP refuses to install on it, saying it could not operate the disk !


I seem to reember that Dietmar in the original thread found something of the like, cannot recall if there was a workaround.

jaclaz

#36 ktp

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 04:40 AM

Just a thought, about the problem on my second laptop: maybe I could use grub4dos and boot a hard disk image, about 3 GB containing the exact copy
of generic XP installed ?

#37 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 10:19 AM

Just a thought, about the problem on my second laptop: maybe I could use grub4dos and boot a hard disk image, about 3 GB containing the exact copy
of generic XP installed ?



Hmmm..., maybe NO, see here:
http://www.boot-land...?...ic=1655&hl=
http://www.boot-land...?...ic=1441&hl=

We simply do not have (yet :cheers:) a working way to load a HD or filesystem driver for 2K/XP/2003.

jaclaz

#38 ktp

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 07:57 PM

@jaclaz
I might find a solution using floppy image, but then I will need a floppy image of 3.7 GB. There is a site (reanimatolog?) that publish some
floppy images, the maximum being 700 MB only. Could you help, by providing me a ready-made image, or teach me how to build such image using
customized format of WinImage. Thank you! I really need this since apparently it is the solution to my problem.

Edit:
OK I find the link, maybe the information is there:
http://bootcd.narod...._e.htm#customfd

#39 ktp

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 12:23 PM

I am still desperately searching for a floppy disk image (or way to build it) of 3.8 GB-size.
It should be mountable as floppy under ImDisk, with read/write OK, and chkdsk a: from XP should see it as FAT or FAT32 format (and not RAW disk).
WinImage is not good to create such a disk, and the tutorial on reanimatolog site is wrong, since it said to create a logical disk (on a hard disk) then takes
the image. But this image is seen as RAW disk by chkdsk a:, and the boot sector has 0x80 as disk type (instead of 0) for floppy, and other different
values that must be zeroes for floppy BPB.

#40 was_jaclaz

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 02:39 PM

@ktp

Create an image "normally" with fsz and VDK and/or MBRBATCH/MKIMG, with 255/63 geometry, format it as FAT32.

Use dsfo to strip from it the first 63 sectors.

Mount the image with IMDISK.

Use this tool to change values in the bootsector:
http://www.roadkil.n...php?ProgramID=3

jaclaz

#41 thunn

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 04:47 PM

I think 3.8 GB. is much too large. Perhaps you can reduce the image. I've successfully built a full live xp inram of 150 Mb. (and shrinking) with minimal apps. My largest personal pe ramdisk image with full acronis apps, avast, a120, firefox, mplayer, etc., is 264 Mb.
Just to give you an idea of what's possible. :cheers:
Here are my xp inram 'notes' ..
http://thuun.boot-land.net/XPnRAM



Have fun inram!

#42 ktp

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 05:32 PM

@jaclaz
Thank for the pointer. I did not use bootbuild.exe from Roadkill.
The image mounted OK under ImDisk and chkdsk a: did see as FAT32 without any problem.
This image did not caus any error message from grub4dos

title XP FDD (floppy disk image)
map /xpfdd.ima (fd0)
map --hook
chainloader (fd0)+1
rootnoverify (fd0)

but it hang without any disk activity or message. Now I am stuck! Maybe tinybit could help ?

#43 ktp

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 05:38 PM

@thunn

In fact I did not want to boot XP in RAM as the topic title, I would like to load a real XP (HDD image).
But HDD image has currently problem with grub4dos (followed by another thread), so I use floppy image.
The floppy image contains at first boot.ini, ntdetect.com and ntldr. As proof of conceipt it has to be bootable.
In boot.ini I have a line
A:\WINDOWS="Boot from A:\"

This does work on small floppy image, so now I need a big floppy one to contain all real XP.
I did see it requires hal.dll: I add hall.dll in a:\windows\system32, then it asks for ntoskrnl.exe that I put also etc...
So it seems that it should boot OK throught floppy image containing all XP.

This is the technique I used to boot Vista PE from floppy image.

#44 was_jaclaz

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 08:11 PM

Well, no, if you do not use the roadkil's app (or a hex editor or PTEDIT32 or whatever) to correct the data, the image WON'T be bootable.

(but since none of the info that needs to be modified is used in normal access to the volume by IMDISK, IMDISK will access it allright, and of course, once IMDISK has mounted it correctly, chkdisk will have no trouble in using it)

jaclaz

#45 yvonne

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 12:05 AM

Wow...TONs of cool stuff here...great to be back. Will now read and think. There's SO much info all over 911 and boot-land that I'm gonna be looking for the most future-proof open source uhhh... solution.. hehehe. not easy to decide.... any thoughts on what's best as of 2008?? HUGE thanks to all the gurus for sure! amazing....

GOAL: Running a slimmed up [nlite] yet decent XP OS WITH the ability to install at least apps [if not drivers like nvidia etc etc] AFTER the USB drive is running HOPEFULLY all in RAM, though not necessarily.

cool. nice.



NOTE: my USB boot drive will generally always run on the same PC. This means nvidia drivers would be cool right? Generic drivers is a cool thing though.

#46 jozne

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 12:04 PM

Hi!

I've read the XPnRAM page, and various forums & threads
about this and I was just wondering... Did I got this right?
I can have system running completely in RAM? no need for
USB/HDD etc after it's loaded to virtual disk (@ RAM) ?

I was pondering, that I'd like to do just that. Like, plugging
usb to pc, booting, and it'll make virtual disk, and move all
XP stuff to that vdisk, and boot up xp. And yes, I know that
all the settings would be lost after reboot, but hey. the point
is, that XP would be shitloads fast, and if I have like 8GB of
ram, using 4GB from that to make the VDisk isn't bad, if I
get n+1 speed increase.

also, I made some assumptions that the whole bootup
process wouldn't take much time if I use fast USB stick
(32MB/s max speeds, from Voyager GT) and anyway I could
drink my coffee or take a shower when the system is
'booting'. the running part, is what I'm interested.

ps. and yes, I've googled about this for 3 hours now...
but you all are talking 2 seperate things together and stuff
that goes offtopic etc etc and so on, so I can't figure this out.

#47 was_jaclaz

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 04:05 PM

ps. and yes, I've googled about this for 3 hours now...
but you all are talking 2 seperate things together and stuff
that goes offtopic etc etc and so on, so I can't figure this out.

Well actually it's you the one that is mixing two different things. :thumbsup:

You see, booting XP completely in RAM is a "topic", and it's the same thing (having exactly the same advantages/disadvantages) WHEREVER you initially load the image from, i.e.:
- USB device "stick"
- CD-ROM connected through whatever bus, IDE/ATA, SATA, SCSI, USB or PCMCIA
- Hard Disk connected through whatever bus, IDE/ATA, SATA, SCSI, USB or PCMCIA
- Network (PXE)

So what you should do is go in steps.

First thing find your way to load the XP fully in RAM, loading it from your normal, internal HD, as this is the "easiest" interface and media, that allows for "on-the-fly" fixing and tweaking.

Once you have that working, and only once you do, you simply move the image to the whatever media you want to use and troubleshoot (if needed) just the "booting from another media" part.

jaclaz

#48 jozne

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 06:30 AM

Well actually it's you the one that is mixing two different things. :thumbsup:

You see, booting XP completely in RAM is a "topic"

jaclaz


Actually someone said in somewhere at this post (read it all) that topic is not
what he wants ("forget about the topic"). but it's what I want :D

#49 dracula

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:39 PM

It is never a good idea to turn the page file off completely as there are some files that are better stored in the page file, for example the things that have a lower priority. How ever I would not run the page file on the usb drive!!! only an idiot would. What i would do if I was you,
set the page file to, use this software to find out which of your hard drives is the fastest overall Roadkil's Disk Speed found on http://www.freewarehome.com/ then on the fastest drive set a page file from 2mb to 32mb which is as good as off, this will alow low priority files to be stored in the pgf which at that level will probably only use the hard drive cache anyway! Then once you have don that If you have an advanced defrag tool i.e ultimate defrag by disktrix run that and set it to put the page file to the outer tracks of the platters.
Then once you have that run xp in ram from you usb drive try to use a corsair one they are about 3 times faster! also smaller size ones are faster to. i would load only the os from there say on a 8gb drive. then install any other programs to hard drive.

this will allow the system to just read the os on boot and then make as few read writes to the usb drive because if you keep read writing to them itl go bust very quik! they only have a span of 10,000 read writes or so where as hard drives have 100,000,000 lol!
(except for ibm hard drives which have 1 read write!)

what i have don to my system is very simular but i load my os from 15krpm scsi to ram :) and then pgf to another 15krpm i have 4gb ram so the page file is barely used. but this is very expensive this set up so.... yeh.

you have a nice idea there but try not to read write to the usb drive to much. :(
(assumes that is solid state usb drive!)

urls to programs
roadkils disk speed (free) http://www.freewarehome.com/
ultimate defrag (not free but very good) http://www.disktrix.com/ (has a free trial)

#50 was_jaclaz

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:08 PM

Dracula,
first thing welcome to board. :)

Please whenever possible:
1) avoid hinting that anyone is or is to be considered "an idiot", most often a technical error is the result of mis-information or lack of information on the specific topic, and has nothing to do with his/her intellectual capabilities
2) when posting a link to a program, post a link to the Author's program homepage, rather than to a site that lists hundreds or thousands of apps.
The homepage for Roadkil's apps is:
http://www.roadkil.net/
and that of DiskSpeed is:
http://www.roadkil.n...hp?ProgramID=13
3) be very careful when citing COMMERCIAL apps, your post could be easily be mistaken for a form of advertising, which is not allowed on this site.

jaclaz




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