Best way to run multiple OS's on same machine

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mike LS, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    What's the best way to go about having multiple OS's on the same PC?
    If I wanted to run WinXP and some type of Linux OS? I'm planning on reformatting my computer fairly soon and could do anything that was needed.
     
  2. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    You need to be familiar and comfortable with partitioning.

    I don't bother multi-OSing any more (would rather multi-PC) but a while ago I had one machine running Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, RedHat and Slackware linux all on the same box.

    Not sure why. Just wanted to!

    Anyway, approach it like this: Decide how many Windows partitions you want and get it installed. This will be your own preference but myself I like to keep the OS and apps on a separate partition to the rest of my data.

    For Linux you'll need at least two partitions - Swap and Root (/). You can create them in the Linux setup or you could create the partitions at the very beginning of the project and just format them by Linux later on. You can have more. If you want to keep your Linux data away from the OS, you'd have a separate /home partition.

    Say, for example:

    Primary (Active): Windows XP.
    Extended Partition, into which is...
    Logical partition: Data (you're own stuff for Windows)
    Logical partition: Swap
    Logical partition: /
    Logical partition: /home

    There are several ways of tackling the multi-boot between Windows and Linux. My favourite is to install LILO to the root partition and then copy the boot block to small binary fine. It's then possible to choose Windows or Linux from the standard XP bootup menu. But that's a bit further down the line so I wont elaborate here.
     
  3. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Make a windows partition, leave however much space you want for linux. Install windows, then install linux and let it handle the patitioning, use grub as your boot loader. It couldn't be easier.
     
  4. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Buy VMWare Workstation 4.0.

    It will set you back $300 but it is a fantastic piece of software. Creates virtual machines and you can run several OS's at the same time, like running a Windows 2000 installations over a Linux, or vice versa.

    You can run both operating systems at once, that is. In fact, given the hardware resources, you can run several different virtual machines at once; using bridged networking you can even give them all their own IP addresses.
     
  5. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Take it from someone who has done multiple-booting since the days of OS/2 - buy a 5.25" removable hard drive rack kit and use separate hard drives. When you want to use another operating system, shut the system down and take 10 seconds to unlock the drive, pull it out, put in the other drive, lock it, and turn the computer back on.

    (A) You don't have to worry AT ALL about partitioning. Each O/S has its own drive.

    (B) You don't have to worry about reinstalling both operating systems when you decide to get a bigger hard drive. Just get a new drive for the O/S that needs more space.

    (C) You don't have to worry about losing two operating systems and two sets of data because of one hard drive crash.

    Three of my PCs have removable hard drive kits and I will never EVER go back to partitioning. There are too many potential problems and unnecessary headaches involved.

    You can get a complete kit for as little as $25 with additional "cartridges" for as little as $15 each, depending on which company you go with.
     
  6. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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  7. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    All good motherboards for the past several years have had an AUTO setting for hard drives so that the drives are detected every time that the system boots. Even my old Athlon 450 has this capability. I'm sure that some motherboards don't and REALLY old motherboards most certainly don't, but I haven't run across a motherboard in the past four or five years that didn't have an AUTO setting.
     
  8. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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  9. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Here is a Google search.

    I use products by a company called Lian Li. They're inexpensive and they work fine. I've seen others by a company called (I believe) StarTech, but they were almost twice the price when last I looked.
     
  10. Craig R

    Craig R Auditioning

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    Another option would be the Romtec Trios hard drive selector. Several places sell these, but Tiger Direct is the only one that comes to mind right now. Here's a link.
    Romtec Trios at TigerDirect
     
  11. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    I'll second John's suggestion. Ever since I started using this very inexpensive hard drive swap tray, I've wondered how I survived without it. (When you click on the URL, the inserts should be the first item in the May We Recommend item list.) The Romtec is pretty cool, but it limits you to three hard drives, though that may be plenty for you.

    Boot managers are nice, but they work only until they don't. Download a patch, or acquire a Windows virus, and all your OS systems may be toast. And as cheap as hard drives are these days, there's really no reason to have to put up with maintaining partitions that never seem to be adequately sized for one OS or another.

    Something I've done that has been beneficial: Put your Operating Systems on swappable drives, but also put in a permanent second (non-booting) hard drive with a single FAT32 partition. This drive will be your Windows D: drive, and it will also be mountable in Linux. Using this drive, it will be easy to share data between operating systems and backup data unique to each operating system.
     
  12. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Bear in mind that if you want to use removable drive bays, that a 7200rpm drive will get pretty hot because there's very little or no space around the drive itself. Since the bays are made of plastic they're hopeless at conducting heat away like the main computer case can. Some of the bays have fans, some - like my own Lian Li ones - do not.
     
  13. DerrickS

    DerrickS Auditioning

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    I think James has the right idea. Set up a windows partition and install windows. Then pop the linux cd in and setup linux with the rest of the space on the hard drive. I believe most linux flavors will come with a utility to partition the drive for you and grub/lilo is EASY to setup as multiboot...

    Derrick
     
  14. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, the crazy hd swap way you have to buy another drive and you can't grab your files from windows and you still have to reboot to change operating systems...
     
  15. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    ... and you still risk losing two operating systems with one hard drive crash, and you have to reinstall two operating systems if you want to upgrade the hard drive, and you have to partition the hard drive while hoping that you've made a good judgement with the allocated space for each operating system, and you have to keep your fingers crossed that the operating systems will cooperate with each other, and you'd have the horrendous task of backing up your data to CD-R, DVD-R, or tape (which you should be doing anyway) if you want to get data from one drive to the other ...

    I take it all back. There are obviously no risks with a dual-partition setup while there are numerous risks to removable hard drives. I didn't realize how "crazy" I was.

    [​IMG] :p)
     
  16. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  17. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    WHAT? Don't tell me that you actually liked that movie! Or are you talking about Casper?

    [​IMG] (Okay, okay. Thread-fart, but it had to be done.)
     
  18. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Nice DTS track (on LD!), sucky film.
     
  19. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    John's post covers the main disadvantages of NOT using swappable hard drives, but I'd like to go further and take issue with the claims made.
     
  20. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Yeegads, after spending 2 days trying to get some old DOS games (Strike Commander, US Navy Fighters) to run on WIN98, I'm ready to pull what's left of my hair out.

    I think the separate HDs and separate OS is the way for me to go.

    I still have a copy of DOS 6.2 somewhere, but where do I get DOS drivers for a Teac CD-RW, a Mitsimi optical mouse, and whatever sound card is in that computer (EAPCI?). It came with WIN98 preloaded, so DOS drivers weren't included.
     

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