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dual boot on separate hard drives

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May 29, 2008 4:26:07 PM

I would like for someone more knowledgeable than me to let me know if the following scenario is possible:

I would like to have a pc with two system hard drives that are completely separate from each other meaning that when number two hard drive is booted, number one hard drive cannot be accessed at all and vise versa. So say for example I would have one hard drive with Windows XP Pro, the other with XP Home. When I turn on my computer, I choose which system to boot from. One would have an internet connection, the other would not. So that in the event that I got a virus that crashed my computer or otherwise slowed it down on my internet connection drive, the non internet connection drive would be completely untouched.

Basically I would like a pc that I can use for audio production (no internet connection, a few tweaks to run efficiently, no virus scanning software) and also for general use (internet connection, virus scan, other normal stuff). Again, completely separate from each other.

Like having two computers in one, basically.

Am I just dreaming here?
May 29, 2008 4:31:16 PM

I forgot to add, the audio production part of the system would have 2 additional hard drives connected to it that could be accessed...these could either be internal or external.
May 29, 2008 4:47:50 PM

Actually, they have drive cages that allow you to swap which disk is in the system at any given time. Just get two of the same hard drives so that the bios doesn't get confused. To busy to put links in though.

Put in disk 1 - boot to system 1
Put in disk 2 - boot to system 2

have fun!

Could somebody with a little more free time add some links please? :) 
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May 29, 2008 4:59:44 PM

Your planned setup is similar to my current one. I've got XP Home on a Maxtor drive, fully loaded with Internet, virus scan, games, etc. ...; and XP Pro on an IBM Deskstar drive, trimmed down to the minimum with only my audio programs running.

Setting this up is as easy (and time consuming) as installing Windows twice. It's been a while since I did it, but if I remember correctly, when I installed XP Home, I disconnected the Deskstar drive from the motherboard so that the installer would see only one drive. Then I unplugged the Maxtor, plugged the Deskstar back in and installed XP Pro on it. Once that was done, I plugged both drives back on to the motherboard. At the next boot, I got to choose which system to use.

I don't know if the unplugging exercise was all that necessary, but if anything it helped me track what I was doing.

In my setup, I can still access either drive no matter what system I boot from, but if you want to make one inaccessible you can try going to START > administrative tools > computer management, and click on Device Manager to the left side of that window.

You'll see a list of all the devices on your computer appear on the right side -- processor, video card, ethernet adapters, audio, etc ...

Look for the entry called Disk Drives (second from top.) Click on the (+) to expand and you'll see the hard drives connected to your mobo. Double click on one to bring up the properties window for it (or right click and select "properties").

When that window opens, you'll be at the General tab. At the bottom, there's an entry, Device Usage, with a pulldown menu that has two choices: use this device; do not use this device. Select "do not use this device" to disable the drive you want to disable.

Make sure not to turn off the boot drive for the version of Windows you're using at that moment. :lol: 

Reboot to your other system, do the same thing, but for the other drive and voila. I admit I haven't tried this with hard drives, but I've done it to other components (audio card) and I haven't had any problems, so I hope this works for you. Good luck.
May 29, 2008 5:39:32 PM

wow thanks a lot. that makes logical sense. i will give it a try!
!