Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Multiple hard drives for boot

  1. Dec 18, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Is it possible, or better yet, is there a product available that will plug into my Dell laptop hard drive slot, and connect to a rack of hard drives that allows for any one to be selected as the boot drive? In fact, I don't even need access more than one drive at a time, but I do need to be able to select any one of about four or five; depending on the system to which I am interfacing. I have used mutltiple bootable partitions the past, but not only is this problematic, over time I simply need more space in addition to multiple operating systems. Basically I get buried in a drive for a particular application and it becomes far too time consuming to transfer everything to another computer, time and time again. I have looked around but didn't spot anything...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I started swapping hard drives, but I can see that this method will damage the connectors on the plug, over time.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2005 #3

    dduardo

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    Aren't laptops meant to be portable? Are you going to be lugging around a rack of hard drives? I guess if you wanted to use multiple hard drives on a laptop you could get a bunch of USB external drives and connect them to a USB hub which then gets connected to your laptop.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most of the work is done in the office, but when I do need to go into the field, it wouldn't be so bad since I usually set little table up with an ethernet hub and whatnot, anyway. But I didn't think that you can boot from a USB drive...?
     
  6. Dec 18, 2005 #5

    dduardo

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    Yes you can boot from a usb drive, but the bios has to support it.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That would be ideal! Then I could just use the one needed for whatever app is at hand. How do I find out what I need to do?
     
  8. Dec 18, 2005 #7

    dduardo

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    Just go into your bios and look for the boot order list. There should be an option for "USB HDD".
     
  9. Dec 20, 2005 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Okay, no option for USB HDD, but I do show an option for a "modular bay HDD". I do have a docking bay, but no associated hard drive, and no idea what this means otherwise.

    If a USB HDD doesn't show up on the boot list, does this mean that it's not possible on this computer, or might a flash bios upgrade help? I did check with Dell and they don't seem to show any options for this.
     
  10. Dec 20, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Also, do you think it would work to simply install a short cable, where the hard drive plugs in, and extend this out to an appropriate external plug that I can use to plug in hard drives? I could incorporate this into a drive chassis so it would be pretty clean, but I wasn't sure if I had any chance of a noise/problem free connection. Any idea how much grace I get on cable length before it starts causing problems?
     
  11. Dec 20, 2005 #10
    I have a dell D610 latitude, fairly new. I can boot from USB mass storage, try flashing your bios and see if you can get a current version that allows for this.

    Why dont you use VMware? Its very stable and powerfull running of Linux.
     
  12. Dec 20, 2005 #11

    dduardo

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    There are a couple issues I see with trying to rig up an some type of extension cable to the laptop expansion port:

    1) They only sell short laptop ide cables. There are converters to a regular desktop ide but i'm not sure if the power requirements will be met.

    2) The ide connectors are rather flimsy. I've had the plastic around the pins crack because I keep on pushing the cable in and out over a period of time. It can sometimes be a tight fit.

    ----------

    I don't think attenuation would be a problem if you were to extend the laptop cable to the size of a regular desktop ide. Past that size I don't know.

    If you really want to try it out you could get this:

    http://www.datapro.net/products/1920.html

    plus a long ide cable and power cable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2005
  13. Dec 20, 2005 #12

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I flashed the bios fairly recently and don't see any additional downloads available through Dell

    Is this what allows Windows to run as an environment under Linux? The fact is though, I need to run Limux, XP, 2000, and even sometimes 98...and even...you won't believe it...DOS from time to time! But disk space gets to be a real issue which is why the use of dedicated drives seems to make the most sense. This also allows me to completely shield work from viruses, etc. One of the other problems that I have is that I sometimes need to keep a system as it is with no upgrades. Downward compatibility with proprietary systems and software can be a real problem at times. I could darn near make a career of, and spend a fortune on upgrades.

    Btw, I'm not and wont be done with serial ports for a long time to come. What are they doing with my serial port??? :cry: :cry: :cry: Now I'm going to have to buy some other new thingy to convert whatever to serial, and for some god-forsakent reason, it won't be compatible with half of the stuff I work on...:cry: :cry: :cry:
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2005
  14. Dec 20, 2005 #13

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is what I'm worried about inside the laptop. I can see that if I keep switching drives, something's going to break, sooner or later. At least this way I can make the vunerable parts easy to repair or replace. Ideally, I need to be able to boot from these drives for at least six years - the legal term of my liability on a project.

    Thanks for the help! :smile:

    I am going to call Dell as a last hope of getting a bootable USB drive bios upgrade.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2005 #14

    dduardo

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    What you could do is buy a big laptop hard drive and then use vmware to run all the operating systems you need under linux or windows. There is a trial version if you care to test it out.

    http://www.vmware.com/
     
  16. Dec 21, 2005 #15
    VMware under Linux or windows will work for all OS's you need, including almost all flavours of *nix BSD windows..

    It is more stable under linux this is why I suggested Linux
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Multiple hard drives for boot
  1. Hard Drive (Replies: 12)

Loading...