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Boot From CF

Booting or running from Compact Flash ( CF ) offers many advantages.  First and foremost is that the machine is completely solid state with no rotating media.  The is a major advantage for the reliability of your embedded pc.

Compact flash devices are solid state with no rotating or mechanical parts.  We all have experienced a hard drive failure, not only does this result in lost data but requires a complete and time consuming reinstall of the operating system.  By using a CF to boot your embedded pc the unit will still boot and allow you to run your application.  Microsoft XP Embedded also provides Enhanced Write Filtering ( EWF ) which protects the boot partition from corruption from any source.

Lower service cost
Compact Flash is a solid state device without any rotating parts.  This means no service calls to replace a hard drive that has failed.  Also, if you do not need giga-bytes of data compact flashes are cost competitive with hard drives

Value Add
Because your software is now operating on a completely solid state platform, it is a complete solution.  Many times the end users only see some software running on a desktop computer and fail to see the total value.

Compact flash Limitations
Compact flashes can not be partitioned, so if you are using the Enhanced Write Filter (EWF) to write protect the compact flash that is the boot drive you will not be able to log data to the boot drive, it will be lost when you reboot.  Because the EWF offers the advantage of protecting the boot drive from corruption we offer many way around this limitation.
1) Use a USB thumb drive as the data log drive this way the embedded computer remain completely solid state
2) If you need to log a lot of data use a network drive that is part of a system back-up procedure
3) Use an internal hard drive

If you do log data to a flash drive remember that most flash drives have a 100,000 write limitation.  This means that any one location on a CF can only be erased and written 100,000 times.