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bit for bit copy compact flash


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#1 realolman

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 08:56 AM

I know what I am about to ask is off topic, but I also know that many of you are quite expert.
Perhaps what I want to do may even be illegal, but I assure you I have no malicious or illegal intent. I only want this for backup.

We have industrial machines that are computer based, and instead of a hard drive, use a compact flash card which contains the machine info and is bootable in windows NT. The cards seem to go bad more often than you might think, and then we are out of production for at least two days till we get another CF.

The OEM has provided us with a CD that is written in LINUX, and is supposed to make copies of the CF using the PCMCIA slot to use for backup. It is not particularly reliable for reasons unknown to me, and if we get backup CF's from the OEM, they almost never work without them having to Email me with additional files, which I must install, or sending them back for some sort of fix. Meanwhile the machine is a giant paperweight.

I could go on with more explanation, but my question is pretty simple. Seems to me it should be possible to make bit for bit copies of the CF that would work identically in every way to the original. Perhaps my question is simplistic , but can you light up the address of each memory location of the CF, and copy what appears on the data bus to the same address on the second CF? Is that possible, and if so, does anyone know specific hardware and software to do it on a very small scale ( 6 CF's , but thousands of dollars in lost production).

thanks in advance

#2 roussell

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:05 AM

Not sure about Windows, but in Linux the dd command will do what you need. the basic syntax is:

dd if=/dev/device_name_of_cfdisk of=/path/to/backup/device/or/image

Where 'if' is the input and 'of' is the output. Be sure not to mix those up or you'll fill the thing you want to backup with nothing (erasing it)

Terry

#3 realolman

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:32 AM

....... Be sure not to mix those up or you'll fill the thing you want to backup with nothing (erasing it)

Terry



Thank you.... that sounds like the first ( and maybe the second ) thing I would do ;) .

I have a good bit of experience with MS DOS, windows, and programming in BASIC, VB and what not, but no experience at all with LINUX.

COuld you point me to where I need to go as a complete noob to start with LINUX?

What you have posted sounds similar to what a command would be in MSDOS.

Again... thanks

#4 Dan (electron)

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:41 AM

FYI, I JUST created an image of my Eye-Fi card for backup reasons, and used WinImage to do this successfully. It was a 2GB image, but since most of it was free space, it compressed down to 10MB after putting it in a ZIP file.

#5 drozwood90

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 07:01 PM

+1 Winimage

#6 TXFlatLander

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 07:50 PM

+1 WinImage as well...not sure if it is bit-to-bit location copy, but should copy files.

Another thought that I am sure you have thought of but would throw out: if nothing is on the CF that changes, why not have a spare on hand at all times from the OEM? If it changes, then I guess that idea won't work.

#7 drozwood90

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:03 PM

how about rawrite?

It's bit for bit.

--Dan

#8 petec

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 06:45 AM

Off the main topic a bit / but relating to CF boot OS, etc .....

Personally I have a couple of Firewalls (modified network terminals) which run off of 2 gig CF cards. I don't have any portable CF card readers on my Linux machines (although I should probably get one) so I am left to MS Windows with built in CF readers to have a secondary BU of the CF card.

Historically only played with copying TiVo images hard drive to hard drive. Will plug in a CF reader to my Linux box and try same (to check the speed of an image copy) and created USB flashdrive Linux/XP boot disks.

Will test today as I am building another "network terminal" small footprint FW box....size of a paperback but it has 1 additional slot for a second NIC....

....along a similar endeavor just finished a CarPC in a small case (Atom dual core). There is no CD rom and it has both front and back USB ports on it. I was thinking of maybe boot the OS from USB and just using the HD in it for caching / media. Current OS is WinXP but migrating it to Linux (same CarPC application).

Testing....using 2003 server with a built in CF reader and found a second USB CF reader. Using built in one and this external reader copying from built in CF card reader to USB card reader.

1 - Rawcopy - I like this program in that it sees the CF card readers as devices and drives. took about 30 minutes to do a byte by byte copy of a 2Gig CF card - validated it to work on FW.

2 - WinImage - Did an image backup of CF card written as an image file. Slower than RawCopy. I don't believe you can use WinImage to do a live byte by byte copy like "RawCopy". You can create an image then write the image. This would be good to archive the image. Currently having problems writing the image back to the CF Card. Low level formating CF card and will try again.

3 - RaWrite - similar to WinImage. Having same issue of writing the image back to the CF card

Out of the three applications: Rawcopy, WinImage and RaWrite. Doing this testing quickly. I could only get a snapshot using RawCopy that worked. Will play some more.

Will try same using Linux OS already on a copy of machines and a boot live Linux disk to see how fast it will copy.

Edited by petec, 13 December 2009 - 11:10 AM.


#9 Monk

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 10:07 AM

I was using Acronis software the other day and saw an option for "bit by bit" image creation. The terminology might have been "sector by sector" but in any case, it is relatively inexpensive.

#10 Dan (electron)

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 12:51 PM

+1 WinImage as well...not sure if it is bit-to-bit location copy, but should copy files.

Another thought that I am sure you have thought of but would throw out: if nothing is on the CF that changes, why not have a spare on hand at all times from the OEM? If it changes, then I guess that idea won't work.

it's bit by bit, my .IMA file was 2 gigabytes (size of card), eventho there was only little data on it. Because of the huge amounts of free space, I was able to compress it down to 10 megs.

#11 gatchel

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 06:18 PM

Perhaps what I want to do may even be illegal, but I assure you I have no malicious or illegal intent. I only want this for backup.


Covering your ass should never be considered illegal...

#12 petec

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 07:13 PM

I couldn't get WinImage to write back the IMG copy to the CF card. I looked at the img file though and it contained all of the files that were on the original CF card. The CF card I was trying to write to wasn't formated though. I took the earlier copy I made and I could write the WinImage IMG file back to the card.

Edited by petec, 13 December 2009 - 11:21 PM.


#13 Frunple

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 08:22 PM

If you have an ftp site available G4U (ghost for Unix) will keep a complete backup stored on your ftp server. really easy to use but you need the ftp.




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