removable hard drives

Story: My Hardware-Based Dual-Boot PCTotal Replies: 4
Author Content

Dec 29, 2007
8:02 PM EDT
When I was a poor struggling geek and couldn't afford fleets of computer, I used removable drives to turn my one computer into many computers. It worked pretty well- the only problem was my worrywart gurus who were all "you'll damage your hard drives by moving them! Vibrations and agitated platters!" These are the same people who never turn anything off because they fear thermal shock. Never mind all the electrical devices used in normal ways by normal people that last for many years; thermal shock is a killer by gum, end of story.

Anyway. Removable drive cages are useful, though you must shop carefully because crappy ones trap heat.

Dec 30, 2007
2:35 AM EDT
The only problem with dual booting is that you can't use both OSes at the same time.

If Bob uses his Windows XP machine as rarely as his article suggests, then using a VM to run Windows might be better. VMWare and Virtualbox both run Windows XP and you can have both at the same time.

VMs do have some overhead and share resources so there are some graphics intensive (or memory intensive) things where they may not work, but for the majority of users a Windows XP VM that they can use might be all that is needed.

Dec 30, 2007
9:13 AM EDT
Quoting:VMWare and Virtualbox both run Windows XP and you can have both at the same time.
I agree totally, dual booting served its purpose and had its time. VM is the way to go for users who mainly use one OS but still need to run another occasionally. Dual booting is too much trouble for that.

I personally didn't have to do neither for a while now.


Dec 30, 2007
4:31 PM EDT
Thanks for the VM suggestion! I had considered that option, but your comments, and several email messages from helpful readers caused me to reconsider using a VM.

I believe that my chosen method is still a better one for me, but the feedback that I received about VMs prompted me to add a new section to my article, explaining why I've chosen not to use one.

Dec 30, 2007
6:35 PM EDT

> ...reconsider using a VM.

As with Linux, the hard part is choosing the "one true VM".

VMware, VirtualBox, and Xen all seem to be viable options. Ther are a couple of others I can't remember off the top of my head.

I personally use VMware Server, which is a free download from VMware's website and only requires that you register with them to be emailed a license key. It runs both Win98SE and Windows 2000 with no problems. I haven't tried Windows XP yet, but I expect it would run it equally well. One installation lets you run an unlimited number of guest OS'es.

Xen should be available as a pacakge for your distribution. You'll find VirtualBox at and VMware Server at

AFAIK, they're all free downloads, so the only things you need are disk space, memory, and time. Have fun.

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