Question: Adding A Linux Hard Drive To A PC That Has A Windows OS HD
This is really a question of whether or not I have anything to lose by trying this scheme out, i. e., whether there is ANY possibility that I will irreversibly ruin the Windows OS HD.
My scheme is straightforward, but the Google hits all seem to be about partitioning the existing Win OS HD (to install the Linux distro).
So I have a run of the mill XP OS HD [32 bit] that works, and a run of the mill Linux distro on another HD (Mageia-64 bit] that also is up and running. I would like to hook (as in chain) both of them up.
I have zero idea if that's a sound idea, and even less of an idea if I would automatically get a dual boot setup choice upon bootup [without my, before the fact, intervening with some sort of a program/whatever to create that, i. e., I want a screen that asks me which one I want [Note: being able to boot up one, and then being able to switch over to the other (without rebooting) is totally unimportant, as is to have file sharing capability].
I, VERY VERY vaguely, seem to recall back in the day that if you did this with different Win OSs, that wasn't a bona fide dual boot, and it would 'superficially' APPEAR to work, and you would corrupt the files that you created.
I did that, for a while. Just plugged the drive in and used F11 to select the boot drive.
If the Windoze drive is NTFS, the Linux drive might not see it. That might be out of date, now. But, it sure couldn't way back when I did it.
Don't leave a Linux drive connected, when you install Windoze, though, coz it'll trample all over it.
When I looked at this last (and it was a couple of years back), the procedure was,
Install windoze first (starting with the oldest windoze that you need) and then Linux.
You can install Linux to another drive but THIS IS THE CAVEAT. Linux creates a boot sector on the Windoze drive to boot a linux menu (G.R.U.B.) which is the boot loader for the different Operating systems. Should you decide to do away with Linux you then have to deal with the bootloader on the Windoze drive. Typically a re-partition, format and re-load.
Katzy's solution in many ways is simpler, but, in others, more complex.
1. Create your Windoze drive
2. Unplug it
3. Connect your Linux drive
4. Install Linux
5. Re-connect your Windoze drive and
6. Press F11 to select your boot drive.
FWIW Linux can usually read NTFS partitions now, but you may need to install an NTFS boot loader from the canonical programs list.
There is also a linux partition mounter for windoze too, so that you can access Linux partitions with file manager.
FYI for all you hardcore techies: my update re the technical details of installing multiple HDs on one desktop PC; each HD has a stand alone OS with
either some Win OS version or a Linux distro. None of the HDs have a partition on them.
On bootup during the POST process (Power On Self Test), tapping the F8 key gives me the screen which I have embedded an image of in this post (image taken with a camera and edited in a graphics program). The boot up process halts when the F8 key is used, i. e., you can then peruse the list at your leisure; when you hit the Enter key after you've made your selection, the boot up process continues as usual.
IF you don't hit the F8 key, the system simply boots up as usual to the first boot drive priority HD listed in BIOS. And of course you can change the boot drive priority listing in BIOS; that's a pretty simple chore using the arrow keys and the Enter key since you don't have a mouse at that point (at least NOT in either of my PCs; I haven't seen an "up to date" mobo in years and it wouldn't surprise me if some mobo manufacturer has figured out how to incorporate a mouse during POST). As "Plan B", the first listed HD [as well as all the others] probably has something to do with the configuration of the HDs on the mobo, i. e., which one is plugged in where. IMO that's more trouble than it's worth learning about that since, via trial and error and swapping the cables around, you would eventually figure it out.
IMO the single biggest drawback of the F8 key is that you have to be paying attention and to remember to do that (if you don't want the "default" boot up HD). I seem to vaguely recall that if a dual boot setup is created, a screen shows up, and it lists the various HDs available, and it waits until you make a choice----IF anyone who reads this has an active dual boot setup, would you please clarify just exactly what you see.
By the way, since none of my HDs have more than one partition on them, I have absolutely no idea what would happen if you did happen to have more than one partition (a scenario of each partition having an installed OS on it), i. e., at the level of a complete guess, I don't imagine that any HD with multiple partitions on it would be "visible" in the F8 key list view. *IF* that's the case, I have zero idea, when you boot up such a HD, how you would access any of the OS partitions. In a lesser of evils approach re the work involved, my system of just one OS per HD, avoids the "complication" of having to learn from scratch how to access a HD with multiple partitions.
Finally, as a memory aid, I made an index card size printout in Excel of the list of HDs (that you see on the image file) and annotated each HD with what OS was on that HD. As you can see in my edit of the list, I also renamed the drive letter local disk on each HD to verbiage that was more informative as to what the HD 'was about' (to avoid confusing myself as to what's what).
Of course, I'm sure you've already read this which gives a pretty good run down on dual booting various options.