OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

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owen_r61
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OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#1 Post by owen_r61 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:08 pm

I bought an Expresscard with USB 3.0 ports. The idea was to experiment first to see how an operating system would behave being piped through the USB 3.0 ports. As a test I installed an operating system on a flash-drive, but the bios does not see this drive when plugged into one of the Expresscard USB 3.0 ports. I went through all of the Bios menu options, but didn't see a way of enabling something to make the Bios see the drive in the USB 3.0 Expresscard ports. The Expresscard ports work fine once an operating system boots up or even with a live Linux DVD. Could someone tell me a way to make the Bios see the drive , in the Expresscard ports, if this is even possible?

Owen

axur-delmeria
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:21 pm

Maybe this https://www.plop.at/en/plopkexec/full.html or this http://www.solemnwarning.net/kexec-loader/, but they only work with Linux kernels.

Addendum:

I have Debian 9 32-bit (Stretch) installed on an M.2 SSD inside a USB 3.0 enclosure. I use it for diagnostics, as a complement to Parted Magic which comes with Ultimate Boot CD. IMO boot time and overall responsiveness is OK even at USB 2.0 speeds. I have an X220 Core i5 model and have no bootable USB 3.0 ports.
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#3 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:53 pm

The Thinkpad doesn't see the expresscard as a bootable device. There are real Expresscard flash storage devices but you can't boot from them, storage only. Nor do I think Windows would want to boot off what it sees as a removable device including through USB.
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Enable advanced features on older Synaptics touchpads with the registry: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=122612

axur-delmeria
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:39 am

Booting from USB requires support from BIOS-- remember those Pentium II and III PCs with onboard USB ports which you can't boot from?

In the X220's case, since the Expresscard USB 3.0 card is an external device (not built into the motherboard) it's impossible for the BIOS to have boot support for it.
There's 3 standalone (not part of a platform/chipset) USB 3.0 controller chips (NEC/Renesas, Fresco Logic, and Asmedia) so it's unlikely that the X220's BIOS to have boot routines for all of them.
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owen_r61
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#5 Post by owen_r61 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:09 pm

axur-delmeria, Thanks for the links. I'll look into that closer. I'm just wondering if the bios-firmware could be modified like the Middleton Bios Firmware, which added many features to this R61, to add support for a USB 3.0 Expresscard.

axur-delmeria
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:55 pm

There's a story at the bios-mods.com forums IIRC where a guy somehow added boot support for a PCI SATA/IDE controller card into his motherboard's BIOS.
It worked because other versions of the controller card had a bootable firmware (his card doesn't), so he found a copy of that firmware and appended it to his board's BIOS. It's a very ugly hack, since the HDDs connected to that card only boot if he disables all the other boot devices in BIOS setup-- the disks doesn't appear on the boot selection screen.

For your particular case, it's a lot more difficult since I have yet to see a standalone USB 3.0 controller card (desktop or laptop) that contains a bootable firmware.
Daily driver: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M

In reserve: X61 T7500, X60 T2300
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owen_r61
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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#7 Post by owen_r61 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:10 pm

Thanks, again, for your reply! OK, it looks undoable then. I still haven't gotten around to trying your other suggestion, yet, but it's in the que.

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Re: OS on USB 3.0 SSD via Expresscard ???

#8 Post by larrystotler » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:56 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:39 am
Booting from USB requires support from BIOS-- remember those Pentium II and III PCs with onboard USB ports which you can't boot from?
From BIOS, yes. However, since he is using Linux, he should be able to configure GRUB to boot off the USB/Expresscard setup. He would have to install GRUB to the onboard drive and then have GRUB boot from the SSD. So, the BIOS would start GRUB from the onboard and then GRUB would start the USB/Expresscard.

I use openSUSE, which has an easy setup via YaST. Not sure how Debian does it.

I used to do this when I needed to boot from a USB on older systems that didn't support USB booting.

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