Compact Flash (CF) Cards over 8GB & Compatibility with Windows CE

CESD-H-0049

Applies To:

  • Compact Flash (CF) cards over 8 GB
  • Windows CE 3.0
  • Windows CE 4.0
  • Windows CE 4.1
  • Windows CE 4.2
  • HPC2000

Overview:

This article provides information on accessing the full byte size of a Compact Flash (CF) card whose size is greater than 8GB. The article is written in response to users with 16GB CF cards who are reporting that their CF cards are only being reported as 8GB in Windows CE.


More Info:

While Windows CE 2.11 through 4.2 .net is theoretically capable of reading and writing to volumes up to 32 GB, users of devices with these versions of Windows CE have reported that their devices will only recognize the first 8 GB of newer Compact Flash cards larger than 8 GB. This appears to be due to a different cluster density in these newer cards.

In H/PC 2000 and Windows CE 4.x .net devices, however, a fix is available that allows these devices to recognize the full volume of these newer cards. The fix involves the use of a third-party mass storage driver, together with a registry edit.

WARNING: If you use a Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to hard reset your Handheld PC back to its factory installed configuration. Edit your Windows CE registry at your own risk.
  1. Download and install Tapani J. Otala's Storage Brick Driver, available from the HPC:Factor Download Centre:
    This installs a file called ExDrive.dll in \Windows.

    Download: HPC:Factor Download Centre
  2. Using a registry editor, navigate to the following key:
    HKLM\Drivers\PCMCIA\ATADisk
  3. Find the DWORD value
    Dll
  4. Edit the string to the following:
    ExDrive.dll
  5. Close the registry editor, soft reset the device, and insert the CF card.
NOTE: in the case of a CE 4.x .net device with a persistent registry, the device must be powered off before resetting, to allow the device to save the change in the registry.

The full available volume of the CF card should now be recognized.

Acknowledgments

With thanks to Grehe Young for providing us with this information.