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Old 11-26-2003, 01:27 PM   #1
shivandeveloper
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Why don't more people use IDE swap kits instead of dual boot?


I admit, first off, that I am new to linux and am still working through some headaches. As well, I build all of my systems myself, choosing each part with loving care, after reading numerous tech articles (I can usually build a very nice PC for about $1200). Perhaps this is not the case for many people and thus my question is answered. However, if this is not the case, and there are other people out there like me, why don't I hear more about people using IDE cold swap kits?

For those of you unfamiliar with these handy little devices, they are simply a plastic bay with connectors for power and an IDE cable. You mount it into one of your 5.25 bays and put a hard drive into a caddy which in turn fits into the bay. When the computer is turned off you can swap caddies (i.e. hard drives) out (each drive has it's own caddy so this is extremely painless). Now for the cost: $35 for the kit and one caddy, $15 for each additional caddy (roughly, depends on the brand). The only real cost is the extra hard drive (which can be $80 or less, even for a decent Western Digital these days).

The advantage of this is obvious, I can have my game playing setup (Win2k, don't get mad) on one drive and when I am ready to work, power down, swap drives, and voila: Libranet with all my development tools on it. No dual boot problems, same, excellent hardware (though some features' support are limited in Linux).

I just wanted to post this in case someone out there was unaware of this inexpensive, alternative solution to dual boot.
 
Old 11-26-2003, 01:32 PM   #2
david_ross
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Dual booting allows you to do it without removing drives so you don;t ned ot power down and you can also share files between OSs.
 
Old 11-27-2003, 03:35 AM   #3
MartinN
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There is an even simpler solution out there. Look at this:
http://www.nicklock.com/

It's just a switch that connects to the jumper on the hard drive. When you switch the key it changes which drive is master and which is slave. Ingenious!

Regards
Martin
 
Old 11-27-2003, 11:33 PM   #4
DigitalTygrrr
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cool...I tried to make one of these a few months back (with mixed results). I didn't even know it existed! I don't need it anymore...but at the time it would've been very handy.
 
Old 11-28-2003, 08:03 AM   #5
Lim45
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Just out of interest, there was a reader's tip in Linux Format (UK) mag a couple of months ago on this subject. Basically, the guy has two identical 60gb drives on the same IDE cable, both jumpered as master, Windows on one, RH9 on the other.

He switches the +5V and +12V feeds to the drives with a double-pole flick switch, and just powers down, flicks the switch over and powers back up again when he wants to change OS. A bit less sophisticated than the nicklock, but he claims it's worked fine for several months.

Seems a lot of hassle to me, but someone might find it useful...
 
Old 11-28-2003, 09:10 AM   #6
yowi
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Why hack the hardware when you can achieve the same result with your boot loader?
 
Old 11-28-2003, 09:25 AM   #7
Whitehat
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Interesting....

I sort of agree with shivandeveloper though. I don't like the hasle of dual booting. I never have problems with dual booting, I just don't care for the concept. I use VMware. I however really like the swap cases he's talking about.

And david_ross you said:
Quote:
Dual booting allows you to do it without removing drives so you don;t ned ot power down and you can also share files between OSs
Um....I need to power down to switch OS's when I'm dual booting. I think you're mistaken


Quote:
Originally posted by yowi
Why hack the hardware when you can achieve the same result with your boot loader?
Because hardware is more reliable than software
 
Old 11-28-2003, 09:25 AM   #8
Lim45
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Well, exactly.

(That was in reply to yowi, by the way...)

Last edited by Lim45; 11-28-2003 at 09:27 AM.
 
Old 11-28-2003, 09:57 AM   #9
JamesM
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Quote:
Um....I need to power down to switch OS's when I'm dual booting. I think you're mistaken
No, you don't have to power down to swap OS when dual-booting. You have to restart - there's a difference.

In response to the original poster: I don't see the point of physically swapping the hard drives every time you want to change OS. Seems inelegant when it is so easy to do in software. Besides which I don't think hard drives like being handled, much better to leave them alone once installed in the case.

james.
 
Old 11-28-2003, 10:36 AM   #10
Whitehat
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Quote:
Originally posted by JamesM
No, you don't have to power down to swap OS when dual-booting. You have to restart - there's a difference.
LOL

I know that buddy. I'm just saying that there is not much of a difference (regarding saving of time) between a power down and a restart. You still have to compeletely get out of the OS you are in. He just made it sound like you could just boot into another OS while you're working with yours (not unless you have VMware)

Word..
 
Old 11-28-2003, 10:44 AM   #11
JamesM
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Very true, my post was a bit pendantic! I actually think the other point - about being able to share info between OSs was more germane. That's quite a useful feature, or at least one that you wouldn't want to lose without good reason.

cheers

james.
 
Old 12-03-2003, 04:03 PM   #12
shivandeveloper
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If you really need to share files or file space between OSs there are dozens of solutions now that don't require dual boot or even an extra internal hard drive. External USB/Firewire drives and USB key drives come to mind.

Powering down is powering down (a reboot just powers back up automatically), yeah I do have to grab my second drive and swap it with the one in my top desk drawer, but I don't really regard this as a hassle.

In response to JamesM, hard drives are just fine with being handled. Buy a decent name brand (i.e. Western Digital) drive and you'll never have a problem (been dragging my drives and computers around for years, even dropped a drive about a foot onto a desk once with no problems afterwards). In addition the caddies add a certain amount of cushioning. As far as inelegance goes, and dual booting being easy to do in software, I'd have to disagree. It seems like every third post in this forum regards dual boot problems. Some OSs just don't like to share, swap kits avoid that.
 
Old 12-03-2003, 04:19 PM   #13
2damncommon
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Quote:
Why don't more people use IDE swap kits instead of dual boot?
My preference would be both.
On my home-built I have 2 removable drive bays.
My pre-built would only allow it if I removed the CDRW drive.
Since my newest configuration includes multi-booting Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, and 2 Linux distros, so far, I am afraid the bill for extra hard drives would be excessive for my tinkering.
My main reason for the drive bays is for quick swap in case of drive failure and easily read, copy or rescue another hard drive.
 
Old 12-03-2003, 04:32 PM   #14
johnno
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As many people dual-booting do the whole thing on a single drive, it would seem hardware hacks are not going to be possible for everybody. The drive caddies mentioned are great, very handy for backups, but i still think a solid bootloader (I use GRUB) is the best solution for most multi-boot situations. I ran4 distros plus win2000 on my box while making my choice, without problems. It also gives you the flexibility of being able to boot a single o/s with various optional kernels.
 
Old 12-03-2003, 05:23 PM   #15
pele_smk
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Dual booting messes up?

Who said dual booting messes up? Only the first 10 times you try it does that happen. After that you're in the clear. And at $35 for the hardware to switch out harddrives I could have purchased another 40gigs or so on my current harddrive. Now the swith is nice and cheap. I'm gonna have to look into that one. Coolermaster does have a sweet looking front bay hardrive cooler/ harddrive carrier thing. All nice and aluminum and also another $50. I'll stick with my completely free grub.
 
  


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