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Old 12-13-2012, 12:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dual boot system?

My parents had an old Dell XPS Gen 2 desktop that was set up with RAID so they would have a mirrored HDD. One of the drives went bad and they couldn't get it to boot. I was in college at the time but I eventually got the data they wanted off of the drive that was still good.

I'm looking to do a reformat and load Windows XP Pro what was originally on it but I'd also like to play around with a free version of Linux. I'm not very familiar with Linux so I'll be doing research on what I'd like to get.

My question is I'm kind of confused on the RAID setup. Inside its got 2 111 GB SATA drives and a single 111 GB IDE (Ribbon cable) drive. The secondary SATA drive went bad so its out.

Why is there 3 drives? I though RAID just needed 2 drives for mirroring? Why is one using ribbon cable? It won't boot without both the SATA and IDE drives in.

So for my dual boot setup I would have to disable RAID correct? Also just thinking of getting another SATA HDD and putting the OS's on separate disks. How would I switch back and forth if I did that?

I can post the specs up when I get home.

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Old 12-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual boot system?

If the drives match and the controller supports it you can mirror to 2 separate drives but it hampers performance. I would first just take out the bad drive and the IDE drive. IDE is terribly slow. Next, I would dual partition the first SATA drive and just split it down the middle. IIRC you should install XP first, then Linux and it should give you a list of which OS to boot from. There are also articles (Google search) on how to set this up using XP so it recognizes another OS during boot. If you go with the dual drive setup and install an OS on each then it's as simple as going to your drive boot menu during post and selecting which drive/OS you want.
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