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Old October 31st, 2011, 05:12 AM   #1
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ExpressCard CF reader?

Having large capacities CF cards for my nanoFlash, I find off-loading them to my PC's HDD to slow using the USB CF reader that was attached with the nanoFlash. I therefore got an ExpressCard CF reader which can be very fast (up to 90 MBps sustained), but unfortunately doesn't always work as expected... Here are differennt scenarios that I'm dealing with:

- On my previous laptop with ExpressCard slot running Vista, when I inserted the reader containing a CF card, it was recognized and mounted instantaneously, ready for off-loading.

- With my desktop, thinks are not that rosy - the Synchrotech ExpressCard reader is not hot-swappable, so it is necessary to boot the computer with the ExpressCard reader inserted - from now on, the CF cards can be swapped and checking for new hardware in Device Manger will always recognize the new card's content

- on my new laptop (Dell Precision M6600 with ExpressCard slot), the things are bad indeed. The CF reader and CF card itself is actually recognized once inserted, but is never mounted as a drive; instead the Storage Management console reports it as "unallocated". To get access to the card I need to format it first, which of course denies the purpose - I need to off-load its contents first! But if I - just for testing purposes - do format it (to FAT32, 32k cluster size), the CF card can be read and written to without any problems - as long as it is not formatted in the nanoFlash.


I'd like to ask the fellow users about their experience, and what they think might be a reason for not allocating a CF in the ExpressCard reader under Windows 7 in one laptop, while it's correctly allocated a volume on another laptop running Vista....

TIA

Piotr
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Old November 10th, 2011, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: ExpressCard CF reader?

Hello Piotr,

Express cards are a very good option for coping off data very quickly, since you will most likely be limited by the compact flash card when it comes to speed,

The problem with the tower, may be specific to that type of express card, and how it interacts with Windows, since it does not support hot swap,

as for your Dell Laptop, I would check for updates for the drivers for the express card (From Dell ), also is this the same card that is used with the Windows Vista Machine?

If so then it may be something specific with that type or brand of Express card and Windows 7,

What type and Brand is the express card?

Best Regards
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Old November 13th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #3
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Re: ExpressCard CF reader?

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the answer. Yeah - as far as the tower PC is concerned, the issue of the BIOS not being hot-swappable for PCIe devices is well known, and I've found a good work-around for it.

More troublesome is my "latest & greatest" Dell Precision's behavior: it does recognize the hardware, but doesn't allocate a disk volume to it unless formatted.

Since my older Vaio laptop that didn't have this problem is Vista x86-based (and the Precision is of course W7 x64), I suspect the 64-bit OS just doesn't recognize some FAT32 file systems? You know - under the 32-bit version, you have both NTFS and FAT32 formatting options available; on the other hand, with 64-bit versions only exFAT is offered in addition to the default NTFS by the native Windows formatting tools*... So - extrapolating things a little - perhaps W7 x64 simply doesn't expect a CF to be FAT32 with 32k clusters?!!

* When I need to format my CF cards to FAT32 under W7 x64, I must use some external application (Guiformat FAT32 works well)...

What do you think?

Piotr
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Old November 14th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Re: ExpressCard CF reader?

Hello Piotr,

I have noticed that Fat32 is not a default option under Windows 7 64 Bit, but The machine in our Lab still recognizes Compact Flash cards with no Issue, via USB or Firewire, So I would check device manager, to see if there may be a conflict with the hardware and windows 7, also if you check the manufactures website, there maybe some updated drivers.

This may also fix it.

Hope that Helps
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:18 AM   #5
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Re: ExpressCard CF reader?

Unfortunately, Andy, my drivers are all up-to-date, and the CF card is also properly recognized via USB...
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