Dual boot with 2 separate hard drives

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Balthazar, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

    Nov 8, 2013
    Here's another idea (nothing new) for anyone interested in experimenting with Linux without dual-, triple-...booting on a single drive. It could be interesting for those people being extra careful or just afraid of destroying something (you should back-up your data so you shouldn't be afraid but anyhow...)

    Use a 2nd HDD/SDD in your laptop. If you don't have a new laptop with 2 HDD bays or fancy miniSSD, get rid of your CD/DVD drive and buy a HDD caddy. Be careful to choose the right type and don't overpay. It shouldn't be more than 10-20$.

    I noticed that I hardly use my dvd drive anymore. I use an external blu-ray burner instead of the ancient dvd-rom in my ancient laptop. I've been using a 750GB hybrid hard drive with about 7 or 8 systems in multi-boot (octa-boot) until I wanted to try out a SSD and get rid of Windows. I didn't want to spend a lot of money (euphemism for "couldn't afford much") so I decided to go for a 128 GB SSD. I liked openSUSE 13.1 a lot because it had everything I needed. Also, I wanted to try out full disk encryption which I hadn't on the other disk.

    I didn't miss Windows but I did miss switching between a few systems like Parabola and Crunchbang. That's why I decided to buy a universal HDD caddy and try to use both my hard drives.

    My 2nd HDD had been recognized in openSUSE but I couldn't boot at first. After updating the bootmanager the other systems were showing up at the boot screen and besides Gentoo and Parabola everything else worked. There I got a message saying "Unable to find root device". But it wasn't a big thing getting these two working again. I had to use a recovery stick, chroot and run mkinitcpio -p linux to regenerate the initramfs (I had to look that up). Mint, Chrunchbang, openSUSE and Windows did work fine after just updating Grub.

    Most of the time I am using openSUSE 13.2 on my primary drive and I can still use all the other systems. I don't use Windows for anything else but the occasional game. I got rid of all antivirus and security software because I don't go online when using Windows and I don't work with it anymore.

    Getting dual or multi boot to work is not that hard (e.g. Mrk and others have written about a lot of different setups) but maybe some people would rather keep their main setup and add a fresh hard drive. Of course you wouldn't necessarily need a 2nd hdd drive bay in order to try out two hdds. You could just use a fresh one and start trying and use the old one if you're not satisfied with the result. Adding a 2nd hard drive means additional disk space. I can use it in openSUSE with my root password. I like to store bigger files on my 2nd hard drive in order to avoid performance trouble with the SSD.