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  1. #1

    Dual Boot WinXP & Linux using two HDD

    So much a newbie, Linux isn't even installed yet but I'm determined...

    I will need to have a dual boot system but want to have WinXP boot off the HDD that it's currently on and Linux (flavour yet to to be determined) set up on dual boot running from a separate HDD. My system is a desktop with AMD Athlon 2800 (or similar model number), 512 RAM. HDD (Win) is 80GB, additional HDD to be 100GB. They will not be SATA or any other similar acronym (if it's important).

    Is this possible? Is this easy to set up or do I need to have someone get into the 0s and 1s of the computer to make it work?

    Pointers, directions, sources to find information would be much appreciated.

    (It's sunny and warm today in the)
    Far North

  2. #2
    I think the term dual boot is only used when two operating systems are on the same hard drive so are using the same MBR.

    If you install an OS on one hard drive and another operating system on another hard drive you are probably best changing with boot order in BIOS. Many BIOS have a button you can press upon POST which allow you to choose which bit of hardware you want to boot from. Id use that.

    There may be a way of setting it up so it looks like a normal dual boot but as you have the chance not to complicate your MBR I would personally take it!

    This is a personal opinion/preference. I only use grub because I have to!

  3. #3
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by zeus123
    I think the term dual boot is only used when two operating systems are on the same hard drive so are using the same MBR.
    I can't speak for everyone, but I use the term "dual boot" for a computer that is capable of booting 2 operating systems, regardless of where those OSes reside. So in this case, dual boot would apply.

    To the original poster: Yes, it's possible and actually much safer an option if you don't want to run the risk of hosing your XP harddrive. If I were going to set this up I would unplug the XP drive, install Linux on the other drive, and set the PC to boot that drive first. Then I would plug the XP drive back in and edit the bootloader on the Linux drive to give it the option to boot to XP.

    If you're careful, you can leave the XP drive plugged in and tell the Linux installer just to use the other drive and leave that one alone. The advantage of this approach is that most major Linux distributions will set up the bootloader to let you access Windows automatically.

    The BIOS boot option mentioned by zeus123 is certainly a viable option as well. As mentioned, it's mostly personal preference.
    Last edited by techieMoe; 07-05-2006 at 03:45 PM.
    Registered Linux user #270181

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer drl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Saint Paul, MN, USA / CentOS, Debian, Slackware, {Free, Open, Net}BSD, Solaris

    I don't know if the term multi-boot if used only for same-disk configurations but I wanted different terms, so in another forum in March 2006 I wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by drl
    I think that there should be a distinction drawn between multi-partition booting and multi-disk booting (including the equivalent terms for installation, etc.). The former seems like it is far more of a problem than the latter. Even a different term for each would be useful. It could be helpful to point out the differences to people. Typically, people that use Xandros come from Windows, and often don't muck with the hardware.

    I know that not everyone has the cash or expertise to install another disk, but it has saved me a lot of trouble. Disks are becoming cheaper, and computers are getting easier to work on (at least desktops). In addition to extra disks, I also use an IDE frame/carrier scheme on most of my machines. I started that in the late 90s after I unknowingly told Solaris to take over the disk (I thought it meant the part I had set aside for it). Back then the cost for a 4 GB IDE was around $100. There is a slight disadvantage to frame/carrier is that you need to off-power to change the carrier, then on-power again ... cheers, drl
    That thread went on to discuss the likely growing popularity of virtualization, which may then make this problem area go away ... cheers, drl
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