Need two HD's to run on different Operating systems but share computer parts.

By brightond ยท 7 replies
Dec 29, 2004
  1. I have two hard drives....1 running XP home (internet, wordprocessing, music downloading etc..) and one running 2000 professional (home recording, photoshop.) I would like for the two of them to share my motherboard, cpu, memory, graphics card, and most importantly my audio interface hardware.

    The dual boot software seems like it was designed more for hard drive partitioning reasons and less for independent operating systems. I do not have many security concerns and am not too concerned about relying on software to get the job done. I was intrigued by the "nicklock" device that served as a jumper switch between two hard drives prior to startup but felt turned off after learing that the computers needed to be restrted to switch back and forth and that there are known issues with such devices.
    Obviously I would like to have the convenience of flipping back and forth between drives like a KVM switch does between computers. Networking the two drives to comunicate at times would also be helpful for data transference.
    Am I missing any simple solutions or are there really no obvious answers to the problem? Any suggestions or feedback will be greatly appreciated. James
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Your PC can only ever have one OS running at the time, so either W2K or XP.
    Put both HD's in the same machine, have W2K installed in the first partition of the first (master) drive.
    Do whatever partitioning you want, making all partitions NTFS.
    When finished installing W2k etc., install XP in the first partition of the second HD.
    They can share any partitions you want, including the OS-partitions.

    Alternatively, have a good look at HyperOS, they may have (almost) exactly what you want.
  3. HoopaJoop

    HoopaJoop TS Rookie Posts: 90

    You could use virtual pc, but I think you'd notice a performance loss. Also virtual pc isn't really for switching between harddrives. It's more like installing windows in a non os fashion. A windowed os running in an os.

    As realblackstuff said, you can only have one OS actually fully running at a time.
  4. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    I would...

    I would Leave the drives in the towers they are in, as unless your motheboards in the two systems are the same you will have to reformat the moved drive. Network the two of them together dump one monitor and go to a KVM switch, set your shared drive & system protos ( the settings can be found on the microsoft website) and use a crossover patch cable between the two systems even though you may have a router the patch will be faster in 80% or more of the cases, this will allow you to run more stuff at once. You have the added computing power don't toss it away, I would allso upgrade my RAM by 50% - 100% as you will be using more networked together.
  5. dirtbagger

    dirtbagger TS Rookie


    Check out this hard drive switcher, it works with all types of hard drives, and is compatable with nicklock key switches.

    Is anyone using one of these?

    It sounds like a pretty good solution
  6. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91


    Yah I have a system at work that has one that I use, they are good little toys if the system is current. I whould use them more for a station where you have public and staff using them like a syber cafe or libary as people can't move between the two hard drives unless they have a key; it could work for what he is doing but I would go more with my idea still; the cost maybe alittle more but it will give him more avaible computing power as both systems can be used at the same time.

    That is one of the best toys I have ever seen someone new to a forum bring forward there bud good job :wave: and welcome.
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    I've used a similar idea (only On-Off) for years. Mine disconnects the power for my CDRW which I only use sporadically. No point having that running idle all the time. It being a SCSI CDRW, I have no problems whatsoever.

    Does this mean there are 2 Master Harddisks on the same IDE-cable?
    Switchdrive are extremely skimpy with info.
  8. dirtbagger

    dirtbagger TS Rookie

    Switchdrive hardware based dual boot multi-boot

    Here's an update:
    I broke down and bought a special order switchdrive for my new tri-boot setup

    2 seagate ata/100 drives both set as master on the same 80 pin cable. (one plugged into the slave plug) And 1 seagate sata drive plugged into the sata controler on my mobo.

    The tri-boot switchdrive has 3 molex outputs instead of 2 and comes with a special tri-boot switch(just a 3 position toggle switch that plugs into the switchdrive via a cable) I have all three drives plugged into the switchdrive.

    I mounted the switch on the top-back of my case near the power supply, so I just have to reach back and select the boot device using the switch before I turn the computer on.

    It works GREAT! I did a fresh install of windows xp pro and used ghost to copy it over to the 2 other drives before installing the switchdrive.

    I have one drive for conducting business online, storing backup files and documents. It has all of my finances, bank logins, credit cards etc... I keep the security settings way up and don't use it for casual browsing.

    The other ata/100 drive is my own personal drive so my kids can't screw it up.

    The sata drive is the kids drive, If they screw it up then it won't work until THEY fix it : ) After all, that's how I learned!
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