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I'd like to use Compact Flash with 2,5" IDE adapter in i386 laptop. The bios is CHIPS LeAPset 117 (R1.09) and it requires specific configuration for HDD in order to work. I have 4GB CF card, where I want to make a 500MB partition for i386 machine. Which is the most reasonable option to pick, and is there any harm in trying one after another? Can I damage CF?

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Normally you would enter the parameters in for a custom drive. Normally you would also have to figure out what native CHS parameters for the CF card are so you can type them in or select one of existing ones that match best. As no existing type is nowhere near 500MB, you can't utilize the card for 500MB unless you type in custom parameters. As it is a 4GB card, it most likely says it has 16 heads, 63 sectors, and near 8000 cylinders. The 386 is most likely too old to understand larger drives via geometry translation or LBA, so you are limited to 1024C/16H/63S. If you put in smaller numbers then the card will work, but it has unused sectors per track and unused sectors per cylinder so the DOS partition will not be readable in a newer machine or USB card reader.

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    It doesn't look like it gives the option to enter drive parameters. Type 47 is usually the one reserved for this, but it appears to have fixed parameters. – Ross Ridge Jun 9 at 2:54

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