Windows 10: Internal bootable SD card - Can I make a bootloader for Windows Solved

  1.    09 Mar 2017 #1

    Internal bootable SD card - Can I make a bootloader for Windows

    Hi there

    I've a microserver with a bootable micro sd card (32GB). I've replaced a DVD drive with an SSD - (this isn't bootable in AHCI mode (the built in RAID is "Fake RAID" and not very good so I've disabled it and gone into AHCI mode where the I/O is much better on the HDD's using a software RAID program (Mdadm).

    Just writing a Linux boot loader to this microsd card boots the OS (Centos 7.2) from the SSD -- the only downside is it takes a few seconds longer to start the boot as the bootloader is read from the microSD card. However the OS runs perfectly from the SSD -- and the microsd card isn't needed again until next boot.

    Is there a way to load Windows this way - i.e install Windows on the SSD and run the bootloader from the micro SD card - I've tried a Windows to Go which works but the whole OS is then on the MicroSD card.

    I've 4 HDD's but boot can only be from the FIRST HDD in AHCI mode - as I am using Software RAID for these HDD's I want to keep them as 2 arrays of 2 X 2 HDD's so running the OS from the SSD seems the best bet.

    What I would like is for the boot loader to load W10 from the SSD and then using Storage spaces for my pool of HDD's to get the most optimal performance.

    Windows seems to have a problem with these sorts of bootloaders -- anybody managed to get BOOT from a USB / micro sd device and load Windows from an SSD.

    It *might* be possible using Windows "Virtual disks" - I did see a post ages ago about that but can't find it any more.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    09 Mar 2017 #2

    I use rEFInd.

    Works well. It will detect and boot Windows (Legacy or EFI) from wherever it finds it and all Linux (except Arch which needs some extra steps) automatically. It will boot any attached device (USB, SD card, SSD whatever) as long as you load a EFI driver for the filesystem (if it isn't FAT) if that is required.

    If you just copy it onto a small FAT partition on a SD card and your system supports booting from SD card it will work fine.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    09 Mar 2017 #3

    Hi there

    Thanks --worked an absolute treat and the overhead of having the bootloader on the microsd card is minimal and allows me to avoid having to use the poor "Fake Raid" on the server and use decent software RAID instead -- Windows storage spaces for Windows or MDADM for linux for my 4 HDD bays and after boot loader the relevant OS is loaded up to the SSD and runs fine.

    In AHCI mode only BAY 1 (for HDD's) is bootable but 4X USB 2 and 1 X micro internal SD card and 1 internal USB2 device are also bootable.

    Once booted there are also 2 USB3 slots available so decent external device transfer once machine is booted. Really nice piece of kit for a Home server actually. !!!!

    These HP Gen 8 Proliant "micro cube servers" are brilliant and cheap and far better IMO than using a dedicated proprietary NAS server. My only gripe is that you don't really need a DVD on these boxes = but with a MOLEX connector you can replace the DVD with an SSD. You have to set it with the built in RAID (set as a 1 Disk array as RAID 0 ) --sounds bonkers I know !!! but you have to do this if you want to boot the SSD directly -- however the built in RAID is hopeless --around 200% I/O performance improvement in not using the built in RAID and just use the AHCI SATA system.

    Thanks again for a good working get around so I can use SSD for the OS'es.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    09 Mar 2017 #4

    Good news :)

    I'm a bit evangelical about rEFInd but in my defense I have a lot of Mac hardware so I need a decent bootloader and Grub is too complicated for my tastes...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    10 Mar 2017 #5

    lx07 said: View Post
    Good news :)

    I'm a bit evangelical about rEFInd but in my defense I have a lot of Mac hardware so I need a decent bootloader and Grub is too complicated limited for my tastes...
      My ComputersSystem Spec


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