Advice Needed on Multi-Boot Systems between two Hard Drives

Posted on 2004-04-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I currently have two hard drives: a Master (80GB) and a Slave (120GB). The Master has both Mandrake Linux and Windows installed on it; I use LILO to select the OS I want to boot.

What I would like to achieve is a bootloader (LILO or otherwise) that will allow me to boot to these OSs as well as the Slave HDD. I would then like to be able to use the Slave to try out various other OSs for purposes of experimentation, but I need a solution with no risks whatsoever - I always want the Master drive to be kept safe, accessible and bootable.

I understand that some OSs overwrite the Master Boot Record when installed, so how do I keep the bootloader in place no matter what? And would I need to change the Slave drive to being a Secondary Master?

Thanks in advance.
Question by:Baryonic_Being
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2

Expert Comment

ID: 10790011
check this
it ia a really good boot-manager. You can install it, after installing any OS.

But you should be able to use your lilo aswell after you installed a new OS

Author Comment

ID: 10790444
But I'd need to update the boot manager every time I install a new OS. Ideally what I'd like is a constant boot menu that allows me to select my stable Windows or Linux OSs on the one drive and then if I select to boot the second drive I'd really like it to come up with a second boot menu for OSs that are on the second drive. And that way I should only need to update the second boot menu, but not the first.

How could I achieve that?

Expert Comment

ID: 10790585
I don't think that  to bootmanagers would be possible. But with boot-us you can manage both of the drives.
Three Reasons Why Backup is Strategic

Backup is strategic to your business because your data is strategic to your business. Without backup, your business will fail. This white paper explains why it is vital for you to design and immediately execute a backup strategy to protect 100 percent of your data.


Author Comment

ID: 10792826
Can LILO do that too? Since I've already got LILO I would prefer to use that.

Author Comment

ID: 10811997
I think I know how to do it. Basically I need to set my Slave drive as Master and unplug the current Master before installing some other OSs, including a boot menu.

Then I'd need to replug-in the first drive and add an entry to my /etc/lilo.conf file so that it boots to the second drive's MBR. That way I can have a second boot menu.

But since I also have two CD drives, how would the computer react to having two hard drives and one CD drive that are all set as masters? That's the only problem I can see now.

Expert Comment

ID: 10828489
Hmm, Some BIOS's will allow you to chose a boot order where D: comes before C:

therefore, you could have two hard drives, each with their own boot record, and going into the BIOS and changing the boot order will change which drive is active.

I believe there si also a product that will connect to the master and slave jumpers of both drives and allow you to swap master and slave that way, without opening the computer up. Speeds above UDMA 33 may cause problems however, because afaik, in UDMA66/100/133 the master drive must always be on the end of the cable with the slave in the middle.

Author Comment

ID: 10831544
Yes I have seen the feature in my BIOS that allows me to change the boot order, but I thought that only the master drives were bootable as far as the BIOS was concerned...?

If you could elaborate on the possible whereabouts of the master/slave switching device I would be most grateful.

Thank you.

Accepted Solution

Timotheus1 earned 50 total points
ID: 10850050
Dang, the name just totally escapes me. I caan picture it. It's a 3.5 drive bay cover with a key lock, and four wires like the ones for the power and reset switches on the case.

A romtec Trios might also be suitable.

I believe you would connect the motherboard IDE to it, and then it has three more IDE ports for up to two more drives. I believe the latest version can also make one of it's ports effectively a slave, (all master commands routed to one drive, all slave commands routed to the other. I believe that this solution would handle UDMA66/100/133 better than the key jumper thing, because of the termination ssues on High speed UDMA

Nicklock springs to mind now, that might be the name of that product...

Author Comment

ID: 10852639
Thank you! They will do exactly what I want, but do you have any idea where I can get hold of one in the UK?

Featured Post

Independent Software Vendors: We Want Your Opinion

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Win 10...Some user folders missing location tab 7 213
physical security query stockroom concern 8 99
RAID 5 with Three Hard Drives 26 117
DDP and RAID 3 67
Solid State Drive Performance Tips: Solid state storage technology is now a standard.  After testing and using several different brands and revisions of SSD's over the years I have put together a collection of tips,tools and suggestions that I ha…
Finding original email is quite difficult due to their duplicates. From this article, you will come to know why multiple duplicates of same emails appear and how to delete duplicate emails from Outlook securely and instantly while vital emails remai…
This video teaches viewers how to encrypt an external drive that requires a password to read and edit the drive. All tasks are done in Disk Utility. Plug in the external drive you wish to encrypt: Make sure all previous data on the drive has been …
This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to reformat your flash drive. Sometimes your flash drive may have issues carrying files so this will completely restore it to manufacturing settings. Make sure to backup all files before reformatting. This w…
Suggested Courses

737 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question