Main Menu
How to make more partition on Psion CF card
  Posted on Sat 25 Jun 2005 (20148 reads)
How to make more partition on Psion CF card

Psion 5mx, mc218, series7, netbook, (please report me if try this on Psion 5, but first read discussion below)

Psion, Epoc, compact flash card, partition, Linux.

Article describe step-by-step method how to make more than one partitions on Psion CF card.

We are discovered hidden feature of the Psion OS file system. Yes, Psion machines support more partitions on one CF card.
Make more partitions on CF card is very useful practise for large (>256MB) CF card. You achieve better order in data on your card. You also shorten time when Psion read directory structures on selected small volume than read directory structures of one big volume with many subdirectories.

Psion OS (Epoc ER5) limitation is that support only primary partitions (so you can make only four partitions). On Psion machine with one CF card slot (series 5mx, mc218) you can create as 4 volumes (D, E, F, G). On Psion machine with two CF card slots (series 7, netbook) you can create as 8 CF volumes (D, F, H, J for CF 1) and (E, G, I, K for CF in PCMCIA CF reader). See picture which show my netbook (aka pokebook) with one CF card with 4 partitions.

Open in new window


1) CF card.
2) Some CF reader (USB or PCMCIA).
3) Some computer but without M$ Windows (Linux, Apple or Sinclair ZX Spectrum with divIDE interface). Yes, it shocking but M$ Windoze doesn't support more than one partition on CF disk. On windoze you always see and can create only one partition on your CF card! It is shameful result for windoze because my twenty years old computer Sinclair ZX Spectrum (with divIDE and CF interface) can read and create all partitions without problems. (Sinclair versus Redmond 1:0)

0) Read all points before do anything!
1) Back all data from your CF card and Psion machine. Please don't ignore this point because on next points we are destroyed all data on your CF card.
2) Boot up your Linux system (you can use some live CD distribution for example: Knoppix, Slax, etc.)
3) Connect CF reader with CF card to the PC. And identify CF device name (typically it's: /dev/sda or /dev/sdc).
4) Login as root or use SU command from your non super user account.
5) Start fdisk with CF device name (fdisk /dev/sda)
6) Delete existing partition and create new primary partitions with system FAT16 (ID:06) of size as you will (you don’t need set active partition flag because Psion ignore it)

There is example of my 1GB CF card. I create four partitions:
  • 512MB for application
  • 256MB for data
  • 128MB for developing
  • 128MB for backups

There screen dump from real fdisk session with my 1GB CF card:

7) Format all created partition on CF card as FAT16 file system. (On Linux use MKFS command)
8) Remove card from PC and insert to the Psion.
9) When you start Psion and you must see all created partitions.
10) It's better to format all partitions direct on the Psion again because psion machine check if all partitions was created correctly.
You also can use Epoc shell CHKDSK command or EDU from Atelier. All checking tools must report: No errors message.
11) Restore data from backup. Enjoy more volumes on your Psion.

I make some experiments with size of created partitions. Good partitions size is: 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB.
EDU report some error message on partitions with another size (for example 384MB).

If you are find some problem or discover some new, please report me.

2005-07-22 - If you are Macro5 user you can download for better switching between partitions DiskList macro.
2005-08-29 - Martin G. found some way how make partition on CF with M$ systems. Read more at Psience5 homepage.
2005-09-01 - I tried use IDE-CF reduction on windoze XP but with same result (Only one partition can be created and is visible). But because IDE-CF reduction work with CF card in true IDE mode you can use standard hardisk partitions tools. CF card in this reduction is visible like a hard drive in booting process.

Index :: Print
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
Poster Thread
Posted: 2005/12/16 4:05  Updated: 2005/12/16 4:05
 Re: How to make more partition on Psion CF card
Hi, I read and had a go myself on a 5MX. It works.
Flash card used was Peak 256mb (2064PKTQ). I did the pc connection with a gtech usb2.0 cardreader (CR-2120A). Used HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool under XPsp2 to make the card readable under dos and Ranish RPM to fix the partition table into 4 partitions (32/32/32/198mb). The same card works fine on my psion 5...when formatted with one partition of 256mb. The 5 doesn't however see the card when converted to 4 partitions. It believes there is a single (unreadable) D drive. Tried it a couple of times, so it looks like a permanent problem. Hope this answers your request for info on a 5. Toodle pip.