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Can I use a swap bay to exchange hard drives with different opperating systems loaded on them?

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March 1, 2014 12:26:09 PM

Hi,
I would like to run 2 versions of Win7 64 bit on the same computer, but use 2 different hard drives and a hot swap bay. Each drive would be loaded with it's own copy of Win7, but with different data files that are used for completely different reasons. The 120 gig SSD drive would remain inside the computer case permanently connected. When needed, I would turn off the computer and slide in the WD 1TB drive into the swap bay to run the other operating system. I would set up the bios to look for the WD drive first so that while booting with it in the swap bay, it's operating system would load first. Obviously powering down the computer to swap the drives is a bit of a hassle but that is perfectly fine for my application.

Reason: I have tried to load Win7 on both drives while they are both connected to the computer and have figured out many different ways to somehow screw that up using Easy BCD to edit the drive names and priority. Because of that I have loaded Win7 and all the motherboard drivers on these two drives so many times in the past few days that I could do it in my sleep. So I thinking this would be the best solution for the situation.

Is this a viable work around instead of having both drives connected at the same time? Would the BIOS be okay with this set-up? Any other thoughts/tips?

System:
Asus Z87 Pro Motherboard
Intel i-5 4670 CPU
16gb Kingston Ram
1- Samsung 840 Pro 120gb SSD
1- WD ITB Black hard drive
Asus 24X DVD-RW Optical drive
Corsair 750W PSU
Corsair 400R Case

Thanks for any help you can offer.
March 1, 2014 12:34:10 PM

That should work fine though depending on the bios it may forget about the second drive when you take it out and then default to the first drive. You would just have to tell it whenever you insert the second drive to boot from that one if that is the case.
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March 1, 2014 12:36:40 PM

Why use the swap bay at all

Your BIOS will let you choose which hard drive to boot from even if both are installed permanently inside the case . You may have to enter BIOS and change the boot order .
But some BIOSes will let you select boot order with a keyboard as boot
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March 1, 2014 1:43:44 PM

Thank you Spectre and Outlander for you quick responses. I got to thinking Outlander that maybe the best/least expensive way to do this might be to splice a DPDT switch into the power cables of both drives (using a couple of molex to SATA converter cables). That way I could switch one drive on at the same time killing the power to the other drive. Hopefully the bios would be looking for any drive with an operating system and boot normally. That way I wouldn't have to educate my family in how to change drive boot order in the bios when I'm not home. Thoughts?
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Best solution

March 1, 2014 1:50:23 PM

Old Computer Guy said:
Thank you Spectre and Outlander for you quick responses. I got to thinking Outlander that maybe the best/least expensive way to do this might be to splice a DPDT switch into the power cables of both drives (using a couple of molex to SATA converter cables). That way I could switch one drive on at the same time killing the power to the other drive. Hopefully the bios would be looking for any drive with an operating system and boot normally. That way I wouldn't have to educate my family in how to change drive boot order in the bios when I'm not home. Thoughts?


That ought to work most BIOS will run through everything attached to find something to boot from. Just make sure that you only switch power while its off otherwise you could corrupt the disk.
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March 1, 2014 1:57:14 PM

I have less and less faith that UEFI BIOS can find all drives all the time .

But since you have to reboot to change drives I still cant see any problem just selecting the boot drive AT BOOT .

The drive you are not using will be powered but wont be used or even accessed unless you decide to use windows explorer
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March 1, 2014 2:05:33 PM

Outlander_04 said:
I have less and less faith that UEFI BIOS can find all drives all the time .

But since you have to reboot to change drives I still cant see any problem just selecting the boot drive AT BOOT .

The drive you are not using will be powered but wont be used or even accessed unless you decide to use windows explorer


He said he didn't want to teach his family how to select the boot disk (can't say I blame him) Though the windows boot manager isn't too terrible.
Though I personally haven't had any problems with the UEFI not finding drives. What board and brand has that been a problem on?
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March 1, 2014 2:07:27 PM

Have you tried the windows boot manager? It is found under system properties>advanced system settings>advanced>startup and recovery
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March 1, 2014 2:15:54 PM

Spectre694 said:
Outlander_04 said:
I have less and less faith that UEFI BIOS can find all drives all the time .

But since you have to reboot to change drives I still cant see any problem just selecting the boot drive AT BOOT .

The drive you are not using will be powered but wont be used or even accessed unless you decide to use windows explorer


He said he didn't want to teach his family how to select the boot disk (can't say I blame him) Though the windows boot manager isn't too terrible.
Though I personally haven't had any problems with the UEFI not finding drives. What board and brand has that been a problem on?


Read the system forum for a while . You will find threads about drives not showing on a regular basis
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March 1, 2014 2:25:40 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Spectre694 said:
Outlander_04 said:
I have less and less faith that UEFI BIOS can find all drives all the time .

But since you have to reboot to change drives I still cant see any problem just selecting the boot drive AT BOOT .

The drive you are not using will be powered but wont be used or even accessed unless you decide to use windows explorer


He said he didn't want to teach his family how to select the boot disk (can't say I blame him) Though the windows boot manager isn't too terrible.
Though I personally haven't had any problems with the UEFI not finding drives. What board and brand has that been a problem on?


Read the system forum for a while . You will find threads about drives not showing on a regular basis


Fair enough never had that problem so I hadn't needed to look it up but I did check out the system forum and its surprising how many problems there are considering every one is using it now.
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