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Advice please: Booting from a hard drive that's not a hard drive?

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Hiya. I have two XP computers that I won't be downgrading to 7 or especially 10, for reasons with which I won't bother everyone.

I don't get online with these two "towers," so all of my emulators, applications, etc. will keep working, as long as I save plenty of back-ups, and at least one of my PCs outlives me.


Since XP boxes are surely getting harder and harder to find, however -- and hard drives obviously don't live forever -- I've been seriously considering finding an alternative to the hard disk, in terms of booting XP and, essentially, having my whole C drive on something external, or at least different from a mechanical, magnetic storage medium. Then I can, presumably, tell the BIOS to boot from that other thing, instead of the drive.


Has anyone ever done something like that? I'm really out of touch when it comes to modern PC technology, and I have no experience in doing the above. There must be a way to save all 500 GB, complete with XP itself, on an external device, and then boot from that. I just don't know what it is. Is it still just a matter of buying an external hard drive and copying everything over? Would I have to re-install XP from scratch on that external drive, complete with service packs (I still have those burnt onto CD-ROMs), and THEN copy over all of my applications and data? I'm still such a lamer!


I would be eternally grateful for any pointers.


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Never done it myself, but my workplace used to have Compact Flash to SATA drives. The purpose of which was to quickly swap out/in different configurations for testing purposes. Don’t know the max size of these CF drives though, I haven’t seen much over 128Gb.


Bootable Compact Flash CF I II to 2.5 inch inch SATA Converter


I guess you also need to worry about transfer rates (and wear cycling, and configuring Win to not write to disk as much, ie no Swap file and enough RAM)



Modern UDMA-7 CompactFlash Cards provide data rates up to 145 MB/s and require USB 3.0 data transfer rates. A direct motherboard connection is often limited to 33 MB/s because IDE to CF adapters lack high speed ATA (66 MB/s plus) cable support.


Edited by CapitanClassic
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