Two different OS's on two different drives

By cigarman
Jan 1, 2007
  1. Hello. First off, the machine is decently-powered (ram and processor) and the oldest piece of hardware in it only dates back to 2004. There's an internal hard drive and another drive in a swappable bay. I want to have different OS's loaded on each (XP on one drive, Linux Ubuntu on the other) an be able to boot to either one--though not both running the same instance. The swappable bay allows me to power on/off that drive nicely. I want XP on the main, internal drive and Linux Ubuntu on the drive in the swappable bay. XP is already loaded on the one. I can successfully install Ubuntu on the other. The same IDE cable is connected to both drives--with XP as master.

    After everything is installed, I've had trouble booting up to one or the other. I had to reload XP and sometimes reload Ubuntu. Sometimes I can access one of them, other times neither, and have to reload again. Sometimes a boot menu appears allowing me to choose, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the boot menu worked and loaded the system I wanted, other times it didn't work for either. I correctly change the bios boot-up sequence for to be able to boot up one or the other, but for some reason have had trouble booting up one or the other system.

    The drive in the swappable bay is jumpered as slave and the main internal drive is cable select--the ending connector and therefore should be the first boot when the swappable drive is turned off, but it usually doesn't boot even then.

    Would the problem solve itself if the internal drive was jumpered as master? I think I tried this to no avail already. Should I have first installed some sort of boot manager program on a separate partition or something--on one or both hard drives?
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I have a dual boot, xp pro and vista (what a disappointment that is) all i do is change the boot order in my bios depending on which one i want to boot.
    That way neither interferes with the boot files of the other.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Looks like you are installing/installed Linux wrong.. When setting up Ubuntu, install the OS itself on the second hard drive(hdb or hdc), but put the bootloader (GRUB) on the first (hda).
  4. cigarman

    cigarman TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Yes, you were right. I was manually determining partition sizes in the installation process and put Grub in the slave drive. Thanks for your feedback.
  5. cigarman

    cigarman TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 33

    what I like better...

    I guess what I like better is to avoid the need for a boot manager altogether, so in the end, I set up either drive to run as without the boot manager--avoiding the GRUB thing. I installed Ubuntu without the XP drive attached to the IDE cable then made sure that the MBR on both drives was set to Standard IPL. This way I can use the bios to manually boot up to whatever op sys I want--avoiding the GRUB manager thing.
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