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eSATA booting


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#1 ktp

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:06 PM

In the PC world, there is no HDD Firewire booting. But how about eSATA boot ?
I believe on some new laptops there is eSATA port built-in, so I assume eSATA attached HDD can be booted
(menu in BIOS). Is it true ? And is there any difference (for BartPE, WinPE...) to boot eSATA vs. USB 2?
Any problem like BSOD 0x7B (INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE) for example ?


I do know that PCMCIA/ExpressCard providing eSATA ports could not be used for booting.
Only built-in eSATA port could.

Note : I do not have any SATA equipment, so I am newbie on this matter.

Edit: a Google search seems to indicate that it is possible:
http://forum.noteboo...ad.php?t=159970

#2 Nuno Brito

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 09:11 PM

Also seen the hardware from online vendors but I'm still waiting to actually play with one.. :cheers:

Why do you say that PCMCIA can't be used for booting? :cheers:

It's been booting fine other devices like external CD-ROMS for some time now - guess it depends on BIOS support for each manufacturer.

:cheers:

#3 mr_

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:59 PM

Add me to the list of interested people.

Someone can confirm he booted:
- DOS from esata?
- XP from esata?
- Vista from esata?
- or Linux vom esata?

I have none currently in front of me and informations on google are rare.

#4 was_jaclaz

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:52 PM

Though I have no e-sata hardware at hand, theoretically it should boot allright, as always if the BIOS allows for it, or if using a "kicker" of some kind.

Booting XP from USB (on motherboards without BIOS support for it) and from Firewire has been resolved with the "XP Kansas City Shuffle", it should work as well from e-sata:
http://www.911cd.net...o...c=21242&hl=


A thread (with no useful reports :cheers:) is here:
http://www.msfn.org/...ta-t118355.html
and another one here:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21408

It seems like people that are curious and willing to experiment do not have the needed hardware, and people with the hardware do not care to experiment and report....:cheers:

jaclaz

#5 mr_

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 09:40 PM

Well, does esata differ from sata much? I mean, yes it has another connector but in software it's seen as normal sata hdd?

I know that installing XP on sata isn't much fun. You either need a sata driver on legacy floppy disk or you need to fiddle the sata driver into your setup cd.

My globe says booting DOS should be no problem at all if handed as normal harddisk, DOS will just use BIOS drivers and currently it looks all the 8086 compatible mode stuff will be supported unlimited. Perhaps only protected mode drivers related problems.

But a confirmation would interest me. :cheers:

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:03 PM

Well, does esata differ from sata much? I mean, yes it has another connector but in software it's seen as normal sata hdd?


Yes.

As in already posted:
http://www.msfn.org/...n...5.html&st=3

As I see it (but I might be completely and utterly wrong, of course :cheers:) the problem might be the "Express Card" thingie.

What I am just speculating about and probably failed to express properly, is that the BIOS must be able to boot from the PCMCIA slot and accept an e-sata attached to it.

And, once the "real mode" part has booted, there should be the need for an Express Card (read PCMCIA) driver and that for a sata driver, so we are in a situation similar to the "Boot from USB" where more than one driver is needed.


A "direct" e-sata bus would not be a problem, I think, as e-sata is basically nothing but a connector for the normal sata bus to attach external devices, and as thus is supported by the "normal" appropriate sata driver.


There is no way a (desktop) motherboard can distinguish between a sata and an e-sata drive.

On laptops, an e-sata port may behave differently, as well as an e-sata port attached through a "bridge", like the Express card in the referenced thread.

jaclaz

#7 booty#1

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:22 PM

I do know that PCMCIA/ExpressCard providing eSATA ports could not be used for booting.

That is wrong. I remeber an article in the "c't" (the magazine ctmag is related to) about PCExpress card (e)SATA adapter. About half of them supported booting (two of them by a manufacturer named "onnto"). It looks like booting or not booting depends on the used adapter.

booty#1

#8 mr_

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:07 PM

There is no way a (desktop) motherboard can distinguish between a sata and an e-sata drive.

I think there is a little difference. I have read somewhere esata supports hotplug and therefore you see the device in the windows "hardware safe remove".

Hopefully this little difference is unimportant for booting and booting is same like sata.

About half of them supported booting (two of them by a manufacturer named "onnto"). It looks like booting or not booting depends on the used adapter.

Thanks for the info.

Bah, again this mess with standards everyone implements a bit other...

I purchased now an USB HDD enclosure with both USB and esata connector. First I will play a bit with booting from USB (more computers support it). Maybe I purchase later also an esata controller card.

If there are no success storys with which esata controller booting is working and with which it isn't I think I have the hard task to find out the chipset and find the data sheet. I am pretty curious about this.

#9 mr_

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:51 PM

My current motherboard here has no sata ports, therefore also no sata related options in BIOS. But there are sata controller pci addon cards.

How should it be possible in my case to boot sata directly? (Let's forget about hacks like fake signature method.)

Would any sata devices become IDE 0,1 or IDE 1,0 or what?

Or are sata controller pci cards only bootable if the BIOS is already aware of sata?

#10 booty#1

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:57 PM

My current motherboard here has no sata ports, therefore also no sata related options in BIOS. But there are sata controller pci addon cards.
How should it be possible in my case to boot sata directly? (Let's forget about hacks like fake signature method.)
Would any sata devices become IDE 0,1 or IDE 1,0 or what?
Or are sata controller pci cards only bootable if the BIOS is already aware of sata?

You should be able to boot from a sata disk via an bootable sata-pci card. The BIOS doesn't have to be "sata-capable". Booting from hdd's attached to add-on cards isn't a new feature. It has been used by SCSI-cards since the existence of PCI. Therefore you may have to select "boot from SCSI" in your BIOS for booting from the SATA adapter card.
Please note that only SATA-cards with an own BIOS are capable of booting.

booty#1

#11 mr_

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 01:06 PM

Therefore you may have to select "boot from SCSI" in your BIOS for booting from the SATA adapter card.

This sounds very strange. The sata card uses also some kind of scsi emulation to become compatible with older BIOS?

Please note that only SATA-cards with an own BIOS are capable of booting.

Ok, this is an important hint for me. You know a comparison of sata controllers? I am looking on ebay, the cards start at 10-15 € inclusive shipping. But technical informations (own BIOS or not) are rare.

#12 booty#1

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 01:26 PM

This sounds very strange. The sata card uses also some kind of scsi emulation to become compatible with older BIOS?

That is a misunderstanding. It is just a mechanism that is used for booting. Before SATA there were only SCSI-adapters using this mechanism, therefore in the BIOS it were called "boot from SCSI".

Regarding which controller to buy: If you don't know exactly what to buy, eBay is definitely the wrong place.
use the website of an big pc shop such as alternate.de and look whet they have in stock and select some controllers by their price. Then go to the manufacturer's site and find out if the card is bootable and the other technical details. After searching for about 4-10 controllers you will see which one fits your needs.

BTW: Don't expect too much from a SATA-PCI controller card regarding HDD speed. The PCI bus may limit the data transfer rate depending on what other PCI cards you have installed.

booty#1

#13 mr_

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 01:40 PM

BTW: Don't expect too much from a SATA-PCI controller card regarding HDD speed. The PCI bus may limit the data transfer rate depending on what other PCI cards you have installed.

Currently only my SoundBlaster Live.

The wiki says PCI is up to 133 MByte/s... Well, I hope to find some speed informations on the sites you recommend me.

#14 booty#1

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 01:43 PM

The wiki says PCI is up to 133 MByte/s... Well, I hope to find some speed informations on the sites you recommend me.

That is a theoretical value - you will never reach it. Expect 60-80MB/s max.
BTW: That the Soundblaster is your only PCI card does not necessarily mean it is the only PCI device: Most mainboards have additional on-board PCI components like a LAN port.

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#15 was_jaclaz

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 01:52 PM

The "old" SCSI cards, as well as the "new" SATA cards use the so-called "BIOS extensions", basically it is possible to "add" some code to BIOS, using an EPROM or EEPROM on a ISA/PCI card, (@booty, yes, well before PCI :cheers:, ISA worked just fine) just as you have for Network cards.
http://home.online.n...os/general.html
http://etherboot.sou...erman/x225.html

These extrensions can also be used to provide "fixes" for various issues:
http://www.fitzenrei...ta/ata_eold.htm

jaclaz

#16 mr_

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:14 PM

Ok, I have my eSATA controller card now and want to share my experiences.

In XP the eSATA harddisk isn't detected, you need to install the drivers first.

Right after the normal BIOS the controller BIOS will appear and you can enter the setup. It has not many options.

Booting from eSATA works by setting the BIOS to boot from SCSI. I think if your BIOS has no option to boot from SCSI you are kinda out of look since there is not "boot from SCSI even without BIOS support bootloader yet".

The speed is higher then with USB 2.0.

I did just unplug my USB bootable USB 2.0 harddisk and wanted to boot it now from eSATA (the harddisk enclosure has both USB 2.0 and eSATA). Initial booting worked, this is a prof that BIOS calls are working and this makes it very probable that also DOS will run from this harddisk. Later in booting phase it appeared like expected a bluescreen. This was because microsoft missed to implement to start windows also in compatibility mode if there is no protected mode harddisk driver (continue to use BIOS calls).

This ugly issue could I fix with booting the eSATA harddisk as a raw disk in VMware (booting again thought USB 2.0 would have been also possible, but I didn't remember the easy way at this point). After booting the working configuration I forced windows to install the eSATA controller driver. Luckily booting this harddisk works now from either USB 2.0 or eSATA.

#17 BLJ

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:30 PM

I think there is a little difference. I have read somewhere esata supports hotplug and therefore you see the device in the windows "hardware safe remove".


Usually SATA supports Hot-Plug, too.
It's Driver / Controller dependent.

The only differences between SATA & eSATA:

eSATA definiert abgeschirmte Kabel mit bis zu zwei Metern Länge und neue Stecker/Buchsen mit folgenden Eigenschaften:

Neue, inkompatible, Stecker/Buchsengeometrie ohne die L-Form der SATA-Stecker/Buchsen, was verhindern soll, dass versehentlich Kabel für den internen Betrieb extern verwendet werden.
Stecker und Buchse sind wie die Kabel geschirmt, um elektromagnetische Störungen zu verhindern.
Die Kontakte liegen tiefer in den Stecker/Buchsen, damit die Abschirmung sicher Kontakt hat und statische Aufladung abfließen kann, bevor sich die Signalkontakte berühren.
Die Buchsen haben kleine Federn, um die mechanische Stabilität zu verbessern und versehentliches Herausziehen zu verhindern.
Stecker und Buchsen sollen mindestens 5000 Steckzyklen überstehen (SATA: min. 50).
Durch Verschärfung der elektrischen Anforderung (leichte Erhöhung des Spannungslevels beim Sender, erhöhte Empfindlichkeit des Empfängerbausteins) soll die sichere Übertragung über zwei Meter erreicht werden.



A short version in english:

-eSATA cables are shielded, SATA re not.
-The Connectors are incompatible. They're shielded, too.
-The Connecters have small springs to make the connection more stable and to prevent incidental removal.
-Connectors should last at least 500 plug-cycles, as opposed to a min of 50 for SATA.
-Cables can be up to 2 meters long (SATA: 1m). To reach this, the Voltage is slightly increased and the senitivity of the receiver is bigger, too.

-if you use the Slot-Adapters (internaly connected with a standard SATA cable, externally an eSATA Connector) you are limited to 1m of total cable length, too. e.g. if you have a 50cm cable inside you can only use up to 50cm cable from the slot connector to the harddisk.

#18 booty#1

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 07:22 AM

Usually SATA supports Hot-Plug, too.

Sorry, but I disagree. A large number of controller do not support hot plug. take for example the often used Intel chipsets. AFAIK all Intel Chipsets (ICH?/ICHR?) except for the latest version do not support hot plug.

booty#1

#19 ktp

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:09 PM

It is interesting that now eSATA seems to be more and more standard equipment for new laptops. Previously only Asus has few models with eSATA, now HP new laptops models equipped with eSATA port too.

The problem is that currently eSATA still needs extra power cable.

#20 BLJ

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:54 PM

Sorry, but I disagree. A large number of controller do not support hot plug. take for example the often used Intel chipsets. AFAIK all Intel Chipsets (ICH?/ICHR?) except for the latest version do not support hot plug.

booty#1



i was never a big fan of intel anyway :whistling:

but now, that you say it.. i see that you're right. My ICH9R doesn't suppot it.

Even my old Nforce 3 (!) had hot-plug support, although it was partly broken...
it was never a problem to attach a new harddisk during operation, removing was sometimes a hassle.

oh, i just found this:

To enable hot plug capability for the SATA connectors controlled by the ICH9 South Bridge, you must install Windows Vista (on ICH9, hot plug is supported in Windows Vista only) and configure the SATA connectors for AHCI mode



#21 ktp

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 07:26 PM

This ugly issue could I fix with booting the eSATA harddisk as a raw disk in VMware (booting again thought USB 2.0 would have been also possible, but I didn't remember the easy way at this point). After booting the working configuration I forced windows to install the eSATA controller driver. Luckily booting this harddisk works now from either USB 2.0 or eSATA.


Could you put more details and explain a little more the procedure. Why don't you simply boot from USB2, and then install the eSATA driver ? By the way if XP already has SATA drivers (Intel matrix storage, ICHn stuff, ahci/iastor), is there a need for eSATA driver ? Is it possible or simpler to set Boot bus extender and start=0 for some registry entry for SATA as with USB ones?

#22 ktp

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 02:51 PM

Update: I confirm that with eSATA booting, no problem to boot either full XP or full Vista (no BSOD 0x7B). No need for any registry tweaks. The reason is that the SATA driver iastor.sys is text-mode and is classified as SCSI miniport and is loaded at the very beginning (while unde XP/Vista some usb* entries have to be tweaked to "Boot bus extender" class and set to start=0 to be loaded early).

But booting Linux Mandriva 2008.1 Spring or Ubuntu with eSATA does not work, "Booting has failed". It seems that there is problem with udev for determining devices. All boots OK with USB2 on the same hard disk (it is a HDD with both eSATA and USB2 ports).

Knoppix 5.3.1 boots well on both USB2 and eSATA.

DOS (io.sys, msdos.sys) boots OK with eSATA.

#23 lucav

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 05:45 PM

Hi to all,
i have installed Vista on my esata drive (connected by esata express card) but esata can't boot from bios so i have tryed to install a bootloader (grub4dos, super grub disk, etc...) but all of these bootloader can't detect my esata controller (and the drive).
I think because the bootloader need the controller driver.
But how i can load the needed driver?
I have search for a solution but i haven't find a easy way for esata booting. :cheers:

Could you please help me? :confused1:

Thanks

#24 was_jaclaz

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 06:10 PM

It is not an easily solvable problem.

As you can see in the thread previously referenced:
http://www.msfn.org/...Es-t118355.html
in the case of e-sata booting through an express card there is an additional "layer" of complexity (and driver).

The only possible way out at the moment is maybe to use something similar to the "XP Kansas City Shuffle" (link as well given previously):
http://www.911cd.net...o...c=21242&hl=

A subsequent thread with a basic batch:
http://www.911cd.net...o...c=21939&hl=

The method is still VERY experimental (and not fully documented) for XP, and AFAIK noone has tested a similar approach with Vista.

Theoretically, if there aren't additional "checks" implemented in bootmgr (as compared to ones in NTLDR) it could work, but really cannot say. :confused1:

If you have a XP license also, you may want to try replicating/adapting the method to the express card+e-sata for XP, and then try to find out if it is portable to Vista.

jaclaz

#25 lucav

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 07:35 PM

i don't understand, how grub (or other bootloader) can load needed drivers?
the most simple solution is to find a bootloader that can load additional drivers.
I have windows xp installed on my internal sata hard disk and i can use a bootloader in mbr of this disk.

i have read many topics that talk of usb/firewire booting but nothing for esata booting.

By the way, i have tryed to install mandriva linux 2008 on esata drive and it seem to be ok until the first reboot that freeze on grub load (that i have installed on mbr of internal sata disk) with error 21.




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