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Thread: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

  1. #1
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    Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    I know this is not a Ubuntu-specific question, but I'm wondering if someone can give me a quick answer anyway. I'd like to set up my computer with 3 different hard drives; one being my main SSD with Ubuntu, one for Windows, and an extra HHD for trying out other Ubuntu flavors. I've got the SATA power and data cables to hook up to the motherboard. My main question is, do I need to do anything special in the BIOS, or can I just hook them all up and choose which one I want to boot from in the boot menu at startup? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhilp View Post
    I know this is not a Ubuntu-specific question, but I'm wondering if someone can give me a quick answer anyway. I'd like to set up my computer with 3 different hard drives; one being my main SSD with Ubuntu, one for Windows, and an extra HHD for trying out other Ubuntu flavors. I've got the SATA power and data cables to hook up to the motherboard. My main question is, do I need to do anything special in the BIOS, or can I just hook them all up and choose which one I want to boot from in the boot menu at startup? Thanks!
    Yep grub is a multi boot loader. Nothing in bios really. It should recognise all the drives. Mine does when i plug in an external.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    Yes, but there is no boot menu that will come up automatically that I know of - you would have to press the necessary key to see the 'one time' boot menu to boot from a drive other than the one selected to be booted in the bios.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    That's what I meant when I said boot menu: hitting F10 or whatever key that gets you into the one-time boot menu. Thanks for the help!

  5. #5
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    Do not skip a port and start at 0.

    I have 4 drives and skipped a port somewhere. Everything works as now UUIDs are used. But when I plug in a flash drive (all mine are bootable) it becomes sde. But since I skipped a port when I reboot flash drive becomes sdb and all the others move up one. Then I have to be careful what drive I am working on.

    I got to the point to so many installs, many now obsolete, that I turn off os-prober and just add my own entries to 40_custom for those I want to boot. And I often install different grub verson to different drives. My sda used to be my XP (still is but not used), so all my new installs I now just let it default to sda, so I know booting from sda will be my most recent install usually somewhere on sdc, but sdd is my default boot in BIOS.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  6. #6
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    Just be aware that the OS on each drive (I assume you want only one OS per drive) has its boot loader installed to the MBR of the same drive as the OS is installed on. Then you are ok.
    Last edited by Dennis N; November 11th, 2013 at 05:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    There is a side effect that should be mentioned: sooner or later the Ubuntu on Drive A ( and the other drive with Ubuntu) will 'pick up' the OSes on the other drives, and include them in a Grub menu. You can prevent this by disabling OS prober in the Ubuntu installs if you want.

  8. #8
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    How do I disable the OS prober? And what do you mean by installing the boot loader to the MBR? Thanks again for the help!

  9. #9
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    You can turn off os-prober.
    In /etc/default/grub I added this:
    gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub
    GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=true
    or turn off executeable bit
    sudo chmod a-x /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober
    sudo update-grub

    But you probably want to add your own custom entries.

    How to: Create a Customized GRUB2 Screen that is Maintenance Free.- Cavsfan
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ma...tomGrub2Screen
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2076205

    Attached shows the manual install after pressing the change button. I already had partition with old install of Saucy, so I did not change size but format it and choose it as / (root). Combo box at bottom still shows sda, generally you want to change that to the same drive as you are installing or in my case change to sdc.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  10. #10
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    Re: Can I set up my computer to boot from multiple hard drives?

    Just to make sure I understand correctly, when you say the Ubuntu drives will pick up the OS's on other drives, you're not saying it will actually transfer files, right? It just shows up on a Grub menu?

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