Fall-through Booting?

  • BAG

    BAG - 2007-09-08

    I have a simple, yet interesting setup for which I would like to use GaG, but it has one little thing missing -- timer fall-through booting. I shall explain.

    I have 2 SATA HDS, one with Vista installed and one with XP installed. They are both connected at all times. However, a power switch I made gives power to either one or the other, but not both. A 3rd HD has my data on it and is always on, thus visible to both OSes.

    This setup works great, except each time I turn the machine off, swap the power switch, and turn it back on, the BIOS boot order reverts to the 3rd (Data) HD as being the first boot option, and thus will not boot. Solutions for this are 1) go into the bios and quickly swap the hd boot order, save, and reboot or 2) hit F8 during the boot (the mobo bios has this nice "boot option" menu if you hit F8) and then pick the correct HD. This works just fine, but doing this every time I swap the OS is getting quite old...I have this same arrangement on my old machine but the BIOS was dumb and thus booted whichever disk was turned on.

    My intended solution was this: get a USB flash drive, permanently connect it to a usb slot, get it bootable, and install a bootloader on it. Hopefully, I could then add each OS drive to the bootloader and set it to auto boot whichever drive is currently turned on. This way I can turn the machine off, flip the hd power switch, turn the machine back on and it will boot into the other OS without any other button pushing. I am aware that I could also install a bootloader on the 3rd (data) hd, but I want to avoid touching any of the MBR/PBR on any of the drives if at all possible.

    I did successfully get a USB flash drive to boot as a FAT32 harddrive; It shows up in the BIOS as a HD, and thus will stay as the first bootable HD as long as it is always present during boot time. I was then able to install GaG Boot Manager on this flash HD and add each OS correctly (add os, save settings to flash hd, swap power connector, add other os, save settings to flash hd again). So now I am able to turn on the machine and pick the OS whos HD is currently active. If I pick the wrong OS, it just errors with partition not available and I can pick the correct one. The problem is that I can set a timer for only one (default) OS. If that is not the one currently turned on, I just get the "partition not available" error and must manually pick the correct one. Obviously this doesn't solve my problem at all since I must still push a button to get the correct OS to boot.

    If GaG had fall-through booting along with a timer, it would be my ideal solution. This would consist of GaG attempting to boot the first HD in the list, if that failed, attempting the next one, and so on, until it did not fail.

    GaG Boot Manager was the first bootloader I tried. I know about LiLO, Grub, etc. but they all take a bit of work to get configured (although I'm thinking that might be the only way to do what I am wanting). For some reason I consider my setup quite simple, and I am actually frustrated with my BIOS for not handling it correctly.

    Any tips or suggestions are welcome and will be appreciated (or an update to GaG ... one can dream, can't they!?)

    • Gert Hulselmans

      Gert Hulselmans - 2007-11-26

      I am not sure of it, but you can try to open your computer case and switch the connectors of your harddrives (with vista and xp) with the connector of your 3th hard drive. Probably your 3th is currently connected to the primary master so the bios will try to boot it first.

    • Paul G. Taylor

      Paul G. Taylor - 2008-10-29

      I have had some experience with GRUB Legacy and until recently knew nothing about grub-pc, which is a more recent re-write [grub2] which is targeted more at the PC and desktop.

      I recently used the latter on an older computer, doing a dual install of Linux and Win98. More details [url=http://pgtips91.pbwiki.com/Clive_H%27s_Computer?l=S]here.[/url] This, when installed, picked up both the partially installed Windows and the more recent Linux, and made it possible for me to continue the unfinished installation of Windows, leaving them both bootable. I was most impressed.



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