Easy dual-boot method

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Nicholas
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Easy dual-boot method

Post by Nicholas »

To anyone who is interested in a trouble-free dual-boot installation. I just installed Mint 6 on a mechanical dual-boot installation. It's easy and doesn't require any settings in the bios or grub-loader at startup. It's a SATA drive switch that you install and connect to 2 drives, enabling you to simply shut the computer down and move the control knob to the next click and reboot the computer into the other OS. I installed it at the rear of the computer where there was a lot of space and ran the cables to the power and drives - but it can be installed anywhere you choose. Really easy to do. There are also versions for a raid connection or multiple drives. I am typing this on my Mint installation on position 1 - Windows XP is on position 0. You can check this out at: http://www.thesataswitch.com. There are instructions to build your own, or you can purchase one from the site. This is like having two computers in one box.
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Boo
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Boo »

Thanks for the info.
sounds like a handy hardware setup.

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rbanavara
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by rbanavara »

Novel way of dual booting. But this may not be possible with laptops (I have a laptop).
Don't fix it if it ain't broken, don't break it if you can't fix it -Husse
lexon
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by lexon »

Nice idea. I like it.
Since I use IDE drives, at least four years ago I went with a different method. Removable hard drives that get locked with a key. Time to change is about two minutes. Drives are cheap enough.
I have a Mint 6 with no updates. Some updates cause issues.
A Mint 6 drive with all up dates.
A drive with Ubuntu 8.04.
A drive with PC Linux OS 2009.1 which I really do not like very much. If a better OS comes out, this drive allows playing around.
If a drive with dual boot failed, I would loose everything.
All data also backed up to a Firewire external drive. Linux is great with USB and Firewire devices.

Three years ago, gave away a drive with W98SE and an older PC to my brother.

My desktop in the back room has two removable drives also.
Over five years ago I realized trying Linux with only one PC was a disaster waiting to happen from many Linux forums I was reading about at the time. Linux has come a long way in that respect.


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Nicholas
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Nicholas »

Lexon - have you ever considered a Virtual Machine setup? You could set up several different OSs; either in a Windows environment or a Linux one, and be able to run them independently of the parent OS. Sun MicroSystems has a very good one called Virtual Box -and it's a free download. You might give it a try. :D :D
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

I could see that working with IDE drives too.
Good idea this PC is XP-Ubuntu 8.04 dual-boot and there has been issues that were solve by turning of daily updates in windows and anti-virus
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

yes it does work with IDE or EIDE drives this is my other PC with manual dual boot Ubuntu and Daryna Mint.
Iused an on-off-on switch and I intent to put a switch on the optical drives as well.
I used 2 dissimular hardrive as I had 2 40gig barracudas first up and it was to hard to identify what was what
So I used a 40gig Hitachi and a 40gig Barracuda and its fine.
Thanks for the idea I had been wondering if I could turn off my optical drive but USB Drives came along
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Fred
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Fred »

Nicholas,

As an old hardware man, I don't mean to throw rocks at your solution, but there are some unforeseen consequences possible here.

After looking at the link you posted, this is what I came away with. You must be very careful when wiring this up and soldering, or you could irreparably damage your power supply and/or hard drives.

Every inch/mm of wire you add is a potential antenna or pickup point for induced power bus noise. Depending on your power supply quality, this could be a problem for your drives and/or motherboard. There is no additional filtering to mitigate this issue.

It is an absolute must to make your switch selection with either the power or load removed from the switch. Otherwise you can inject switch transients that could easily damage your drives. Again, I see no filtering to try to suppress this. Remember, when the front panel power switch is off many/most systems leave the power supply buses hot. Many/most hard drives keep some electronics active, even when supposedly powered down. Check the back of your computer and see if you don't have a separate switch for the power supply. For other systems you have to actually unplug the power cord to turn the power supply off. From a software standpoint of view, to switch with the system running can easily cause big-time damage to NTFS partitions and possible data loss in some/all Linux partitions. A one-time mistake is all it will take.

These are the first things that come to mind, but I am sure if I dwell on it a bit I could point out a few more potential gotchas. I think you can see my point here. There are more things going on here than might meet the eye.

This may be convenient but I question it's long term safety for your hardware, OS's and data.

I say this will all honesty and good intentions. I believe you would be better off in the long run to take the time and make the effort to learn about the MBR, boot procedures, and the workings of a good proven boot routine like Grub. There are other reasonable alternatives to Grub, that's just the one that I prefer.

Fred
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craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

I am 59 years old Fred and the switch is on the back of the machine.
Its good your there to tell young players the dangers adding length to wires and I guess I didnt say I replaced the 300watt PSU with a 350watt PSU.
And the wires added were copper as most PSU have stainless steel wires.
One of my other machines loads the grub and XP is booted from Ubuntu HDD and if Ubuntu crashes XP wont load with out the Grub.
And I had the hardware for the machine it was a hand me down and so for its cost $10 for 2 switches and $3 for a packet of terminals.
I had the solder and insulation materials
I cant format HDDs on my other dual boot but this manual one is good for that.
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Nicholas »

Hello Fred,
You present a salient point - I have discovered that when using the switch - there are 3 (so far) things that have caused me to reverse my position and remove the switch. 1st. The system time is all screwed up - on both OSs - and correcting this does not last, as soon as I change to the other OS - it is again incorrect on both OSs - and not just a little bit, I mean way off; 2nd. I receive error messages when in Windows XP that a cable is disconnected - once getting a black screen with large red lettering with the message that a cable was disconnected and accompanied by a loud squealing sound. At this point I had to shut down the computer manually; 3rd. The computer ran extremely hot, whereas it usually runs at a nominal 86 to 88 degrees - with the switch installed, it ran at 118 F and climbing, which is not a good thing for a Pentium 4 3.4ghz cpu. Too hot for me, at this temperature the computer begins a cycle of rebooting, and I have to shut it down for a while. I began by using a Antec 550 watt power supply - then changed to a new 650 watt Corsair power supply - so it wasn't a low power issue. I decided to simply build another computer just for Linux and am in the process of doing that now. I don't like dual-boot setups. I got tired of losing both OSs when one of them went down. Thanks for your comment on this, it needed to be disclosed, because I do also think this a problem with power delegation from either the power supply or the motherboard - or both, after all, the SATA data cable is still connected to the motherboard and drive, even though its power cable is disconnected..
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Fred
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Fred »

craisin,

I wasn't saying using this method wouldn't work or would destroy your equipment or cause the world to come to an end. My point was there were some hidden risks with this that should be considered before proceeding. Each individual situation is different. For some people and some hardware mixes, this will not be a fruitful project, long term. I am reminded of something my Dad use to tell me. "If it sounds to good to be true, it most likely is."

As far as the age thing is concerned, all that says is that you and I have spent more time making mistakes than most. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

well I have to agree with fred in repect to a dual-boot involving XP and linux.
And its good to hear your point of view Nicholas as a friend is considering doing a dual-boot involving XP and Ubuntu.
We will be reloading XP for the third time on my friend machine as Ubuntu 8.10 has been failing to find the XP OS.
As my friend has 2 other PCs running Ubuntu he is losing his keeness to dual boot.

I need a HDD swap draw for this machine

I find that i have to be careful with my USB pendrive going between XP and Linux as trash files biuld up and are not always seen depending what OS is being used
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

just saw your last post fred its all good

I have 3 PCs that i use online and they are all 2.4 celerons I could overclock them but i would get sick of them overheating and sooner or later i would have to reinstall the OSes and if i did that MS would be getting onto me because they are OEM

I am not saying thats what anybody is doing just saying why I dont do it
Nicholas
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by Nicholas »

Craisin,
If you or your friend try the SATA switch - (which most lilkely will work with an IDE drive combo too, since all you would have to do is remove the SATA end connectors ) let me know how it goes. I would like to know if you experience the same glitches that I did.
Nicholas 8)
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

hey Nicholas I think my friend has been put off XP - Ubuntu Dual boot.
As second-hand PCs are cheap and single boot PCs are less troublesome.
Besides I am now curious if I had a PC with a Primary IDE and Secondary IDE I am sure there a chance i could load an OS on a drive hooked up to the Primary Master and then put that drive aside.
And hook another drive up to Primary Master and load another OS.
So then i would put one drive as Primary Master and the other on the Secondary Master and i may be able to dual boot by changing the boot order in the BIOS.
I may be able to rename one of the hard drives if i put it in my single boot XP machine as slave and rename it CD Drive :roll: could it be that easy
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MALsPa
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by MALsPa »

Interesting thread. For what it's worth, just to add to the discussion, I used a Windows/Linux dual-boot (later multi-boot) set-up for a few years. Finally, went to keeping Windows XP on a separate computer, and multi-booting a few Linux systems on my main computer. If you can swing it, it makes things a lot easier, in my opinion.
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

Nicholas my niece gave me a Compaq P3 500mhz and windows 98 I had been having trouble trying to change the date and and time so I changed the battery and its all good now.
It cost $4 for a battery at the supermarket but I just got one off a younger motherboard :lol:
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

MalsPa thats not a silly idea and is basically what Im getting round to :roll: :wink:
craisin
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

hey Nicholas my friend or as us kiwis say my mate had got a HP Pavilion 712a with a 1.8 celeron and in the boot configuration order there is an option to boot from an installation card eg we have a PCI card that does sata and 3 x 9.1 gig Sata Barracudas.
Trouble is it didnt come with the XP Home Edition disc that the COA sticker indicates it had.
Anyway theres a shadow on the video bios so we have to figure a cure out for that first.
Otherwise it would be easy to dual-boot using the bios.

My manual boot with a switch has an Asus motherboard that seems user-friendly to linux.
My Dell with its XP Home and Ubuntu dual boot is user-friendly to linux and Dell supports the use of Ubuntu.
I feel Fred was hinting that he was a hardware man.

Another mate who is really into HPs and Compaqs has given up dual booting XP and Ubuntu.

Anyway winter is coming on downunder.
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Re: Easy dual-boot method

Post by craisin »

well Nicholas we put a PCI video card in the HP and the shadow on the onboard video bios is of no concern now/
And Ubuntu didnt need to go online to get the driver.
We put a sata-card in a PCI slot and there was a notice of a hardware conflict so we removed it.
Im sure the conflict is the smaller PSU is too small and there is no space in the case to put a bigger PSU IN :roll:
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