Ubuntu and Windows XP Dual Boot

I've got a problem.  I know dual booting with Ubuntu and XP is relatively easy to set up during the installation.
My problem is that XP and Ubuntu are already installed and fully functional.  They are installed on different hard-drives.  The person using them opens his box prior to every boot and unplugs the cable from one hard drive and switches it to another when he wants to change operating systems.
How to I go about correcting this without him losing all his data?  

Best regards,
Bad Panda
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Hi Badpanda,

What version of ubuntu are you using?
Have you tried creating a second partition on XP Drive and install ubuntu on that partition?

To be safe, unplug the drive that ubuntu is installed on and make sure XP drive is only on. Then attempt to create a new partition on XP drive and install ubuntu on new partition.

If successful, you will simply need to plug in your ubuntu drive and transfer the data onto new drive.

Here is a link I thought you could use.

I'm not sure if this will work, but I guess you should try anyway.

First make sure both disks are connected, and the disk with Ubuntu is set to boot first in the BIOS. Then boot up into ubuntu and open a terminal. Enter sudo update-grub. With some luck it'll pick up the boot loader you have on the other disk and add it to the Grub Boot menu.
BadPandaAuthor Commented:
Minlau, he's using 12.04.  But unfortunately I don't think your steps will meet the customers criteria...he's updated his needs to me.  What he eventually wants is this:
Drive 0:  320gb dedicated for Ubuntu
Drive 1:  Partition 0  100GB  Windows C:
Drive 1:  Partition 1  220GB  Shared storage for both operating systems.

Why?  I don't know. But it does look now like I will need to reinstall the XP operating system which will make this post irrelevant.
Thank you for your input.
Bad Panda
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Why XP? Talk him out of that. XP support ends next June. Installing that OS now is a waste of time in my point of view.
Hi badpanda,

Just an alternative if you were interested.

Give your client an option to install Virtualbox and virtualize the OS (XP) and create a separate partition on native OS (Ubuntu) and partition it as network drive and map it to access his data.

Use virtualbox for linux
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
There are several ways to eliminate the need to physically swap the cables ...

(1)  Install a 3rd party boot manager.   Boot-It BM is an excellent choice.   You simply install it;  "point" to the appropriate boot items;  and then he'll get a menu when he boots up to choose which OS will boot.    It also can maintain an "EMBR" structure, which will make the partitions on the non-booting drive "invisible"  to the system that boots, to ensure they aren't inadvertently changed.   [http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm ]

(2)  Even easier (no software required) is to install a drive power switch.   Then you simply push a button (before powering up); and the system will boot to the drive you've selected.  

   =>  If the drives are SATA, this switch works nicely:   http://www.amazon.com/ORICO-HD-PW4101-Floppy-Switch-Control/dp/B009XPCL5U 

   =>  If the drives are IDE, you'll need a couple of these adapters to use that switch:
Jackie ManCommented:
Have you tried to download and install the free EasyBCD v2.2? I can handle dual boot at ease.


Try and find out what key or key combination that computer's BIOS needs to show the boot menu.  I don't mean the extended Windows XP boot menu shown with the F8 key, I'm talking about the one where you get a list of bootable devices and you choose which one you want to boot into.  A whole lot easier than opening the case and swapping cables around.
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
BadPandaAuthor Commented:
My apologies.  I posted a resolution to this but must have neglected to hit SUBMIT.
Thanks to the team members that answered.  I attempted to use the 3rd party solution offered by garycase.  It didn't work.  Based on our situation, I was able to wipe both drives and start over from scratch.
Simple answer: install Windows FIRST.  When two physical drives are present, Ubuntu by default grabs the second harddrive for itself.
Bad Panda

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BadPandaAuthor Commented:
Question was left open by accident.  I have posted the solution (my last entry.)
BadPandaAuthor Commented:
Dang object feature. Please review last comments.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... I attempted to use the 3rd party solution offered by garycase.  It didn't work.  "  ==>  You should have asked for help setting it up.   Boot-It absolutely works -- and works very well in fact.    Here's the boot menu for one of my systems (actually two of the items on this are now Windows 7 systems, but I haven't updated the captured image):

Boot Menu with 2 Linux OS's
All of those OS's are on the same physical disk -- and each "sees" its own "C:" drive -- and are completely isolated from each other except for a common partition that I set them all to see.

But you've got it set up in a way that works for you, so that's fine.    Just wanted you to know that Boot-It DOES work well for what you were trying to do  :-)
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