PCMCIA drives and Tiger

in macOS edited January 2014
Hi all Tiger-testers!

I've had a little back and forth with Ebby about being able to boot off of a PCMCIA hard disk. On a side note I was also wondering about the huge amount of CPU power needed. Below is what I know so far.

Any tiger-testers out there who work with PCMCIA devices (card readers and HD's)???


Ebby wrote on 11-15-2004 11:23 PM:


beanie wrote on 11-15-2004 03:08 AM:

Hi Ebby,

I read you post from 2001 (!) http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...ht=boot+pcmcia

I'm trying to get my 15" PB to boot from a 5GB pcmcia Toshiba hard drive, but it doesn't power up at startup. I was able to install and even set the start disk to it, but that's it. Even when I hold the ALT key, the boot menu only finds the local disk.

Were you able to boot off of a pcmcia card? If so, do you remember how? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Greetings from Germany,


Wow! That one takes me back. The specific problem I was trying to solve was trying to get the computer to recognize a new PCMCIA/compact flash adapter for digital cameras. Something was buggy back then and the operating system crashed if you inserted the card after the OS was loaded. The solution that worked for me was to insert a compact flash card in your computer before you startup. I'm afraid it has nothing to do with trying to boot from the compact flash.

A few pointers:

Make sure the cad is Mac formatted (HFS+) and try to use "Startup Disk" in System Preferences to select the OS. Hopefully it will show up. Some early Powerbooks had very strange (and poorly documented) features like booting off a RAM disk and such, so it may be as simple as just tweaking settings until you get them right, or it may be impossible.

Good luck and keep us updated.


Wow, I really need to log in more often. Sorry Ebby!!

I tried your suggestions and they all work, but the machine doesn't boot from the PCMCIA drive.

This is what I did:

1. Format HFS+ using apples disk utility in 10.3

2. Install 10.3 - worked like a charm except CPU load was astronomical. But that's just a downside in mac os, since my PCMCIA card reader also needs a huge chunk of CPU power.

3. Set startup disk. It recognized the disk without a hitch.

4. reboot - nothing... The little mac-face showed up.

5. reboot2 - holding ALT will force the computer into a boot manager. I only saw the OSX CD and my internal HD.

I put my ear to the machine and noticed the drive never spun up in time. I guess the firmware doesn't power up the PCMCIA bus in time to be able to boot from it. It gets it's power just before my bluetooth mouse starts to work. My guess is, there's not much we can do abouth this.

Thanks again for your reply, and please excuse my late one!

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