IDE/SCSI Mixed Boot

By pakime ยท 4 replies
Jan 2, 2006
  1. Sup ya'll?... I recently added a quantum fireball scsi hard drive to my home pc, through and adaptec scsi controller.The system previously had a seagate ide hard drive... I installed Win98 on the SCSI disk, and XP on the IDE disk. The thing is, I have to change BIOS settings (hard drive boot sequence) in order to boot from a given disk. What Im trying to do is to have a dual boot option at power-up. I've read about adjusting lines to the boot.ini files, but hoping to hear second opinions, anyone ?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Win98 needs to be on the first hard drive in the system. You should have installed XP so that XP itself is on the IDE disk and the bootloader is on the SCSI.

    Some boot managers can change the BIOS disk order. Don't know about SCSI though.
  3. luvr

    luvr TS Enthusiast Posts: 59

    That's correct: Your computer will boot off the first harddisk according to the BIOS settings.

    If you want to boot Windows from any harddisk other than the first one, then you will need to use a boot manager that supports temporarily remapping the disk order, so that the Windows loader is made to believe that it sits on the first harddisk. (Then, as soon as Windows takes over, the disk order will return to normal.)

    One such boot loader is GRUB, which I use to select between two Windows XP installs on my first harddisk, one Windows ME install on my second harddisk (well - that has been removed recently), and two additional Windows XP installs on my third harddisk - plus a number of Linux distributions. Works like a charm! In order to install GRUB, you will need access to a Linux system, though; a Linux Live CD (which runs off a CD, and needn't be installed to your harddisk) is sufficient, since you will no longer need it once GRUB is installed.

    That would work only if you install the Windows versions in the right order, I believe. Personally, I have never tried this, and, to be honest, I wouldn't want to rely on boot.ini for multi-booting, since it will be next to impossible to repair should anything go wrong. As long as it works, I guess it will work great, but the least bit of trouble will likely render your computer unbootable, in my opinion.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    What's the diference between boot.ini going away and GRUB's menu.lst disappearing? :p

    Well, you can operate the GRUB from command line if you know what you are doing, but otherwise it's the same..
  5. luvr

    luvr TS Enthusiast Posts: 59

    As you say, you can operate GRUB from the command line - provided that you know what you're doing.
    GRUB does have a few advantages, though; but, of course, it's entirely up to you to decide to what extent you value them.

    One advantage is, that you can install it onto a separate Linux partition - which will be left alone by Windows; this is particularly useful on a system that will be used by kids (or other particularly enterprising users) from time to time - they are remarkably good at messing around with the system until it breaks! (With a separate partition, your boot infrastructure will be safe at least until they discover how to delete the partition...)

    Another advantage is, that you don't even need a separate menu.lst file; you can compile it straight into the GRUB binary (assuming that you install GRUB from source). One interesting option is, to compile your keyboard map into the GRUB binary, and add a menu.lst file to define the Operating System entries that you want to appear in the boot menu.

    Admittedly, GRUB does need a little more work to set up, but if you appreciate its advantages, it's well worth it, in my opinion. But, obviously: YMMV ("Your Mileage May Vary.")
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