Multiboot from seperate drives. Possible?

Hi all.

Hope this is the right place for this.

As much as I am loving OpenSUSE, I am looking at trying a few other Linux flavors just to get a feel for what’s out there.

I’m currently downloading Ubuntu Studio as I do a bit of work as a sound engineer, and like to play around with sound at home a little.

I have a spare hard drive in my machine which currently has a copy of Win98SE :eek: on it. I can access this drive from my Suse desktop and have been pulling old files off of it.

What I would like to do, is format this drive, and put Ubuntu studio on it, but have Ubuntu Studio appear as an option on my Boot menu. Currently I dual boot between XP and Suse (both on the same hard drive).

Is this possible or advisable?

Thanks for your thoughts


After a bit of searching (yeah yeah, I know) I found this

It seems to suggest that I can just install Ubuntu Studio on my second disk, and then edit the boot menu using the ‘Boot Loader’ tool in Yast, create a new menu item, and point it in the direction of the second disk.

Have I got that right?


You can install as much linuces on as many partitions as you like. The bootloader will be configured accordingly


E.g. On an EeePC running stock Xandros, I have reconfigured GRUB to provide a menu entry in order to boot another OS from the SD card
(w/o the b@llbre@king situation to chase after ESC during bootup in order to change the boot sequence…)

Ok, so I have downloaded the Ubuntu Studio image, and am about to burn it to DVD.

I’m guessing I can boot from the DVD, choose to install Ubuntu on the drive of my choice and away we go?

Should I disconnect my Suse drive for this, then reconnect it after and yast to reconfigure the bootloader, otherwise I expect Ubuntu may install it’s own boot program?


I have never installed Ubuntu. Depends on what you want to do. Do you want Ubuntu to have accesss on the SuSE partitions? If you do want to keep SuSE’s installation of GRUB you must take care not to overwrite it. I cannot give you exact specifics since I am not sure how “smart” Ubuntu’s installer is. On my main system (see the sig) when installing (caution: this is on the same disc) the order was: Win first, then CAE Linux, then SuSE and the Puppies manually (just adding entries in the boot menu). CAE Linux’s (basically PCLOS 2007) installer is smart enough to detect Win and set up its multiboot environment and OSS is even smarter, detected everything and arranged GRUB to chainload accordingly to Win, CAE Linux, etc.
Puppies cannot be detected because they come in frugal installs on FAT, but adding them is easy by just adding entries in the boot list. SuSE & CAE Linux remain agnostic to one another (and that’s how I prefer it, for security) Otherwise one should setup the mounted partitions at bootup accordingly. Since you are going on separate disks there are various things that you could choose. One thing would be to install Ubuntu’s GRUB on the second disc and setup SuSE’s GRUB (if this is your primary boot disk) to have an option to chainload to the second disc when booting Ubuntu (this may require disc definition swapping in GRUB). Another alternative (if situation permits) would be to ditch Ubuntu’s GRUB and use SuSE’s GRUB to boot Ubuntu directly.

In any case, if you already have a working system, make sure that if something goes wrong with the installation you would be able to restore it quickly and w/o much fuss. If you are unsure how this will turn out, or do not have the resources to test beforehand on an actual system, but you do have some time to spare, you could try setting up a dual-boot installation on a VM (VirtualBox is a good choice). This way you could safely experiment before doing the actual thing, just to see how the installers behave. In this case choose minimal installation patterns for either system to speed-up things and save time.

Wow, thanks, excellent reply.

I don’t want to take the risk of Ubuntu overwriting Grub, so I’m going to disconnect my SuSe disk, install Ubuntu Studio on it’s own drive, then reconnect, boot into suse (as I expect Grub wont even know the 2nd drive is there) and add a line to the boot loader.

So expect another post tomorrow asking how to point Grub to the second drive, where I expect the Ubuntu’s Grub will take over.

At least doing it this way, noting can affect my Suse drive.

Also, if I don’t like Ubuntu Studio, or want to try out a different OS, I can just format the drive and start again, and not be stuck the the Ubuntu Grub


Yep, that’s also a good way to proceed. The VM approach is also
something to consider (another plus in this is gaining experience in virtualization…plus 100% safety).
I am pretty sure that after connecting the disks you will need to add hdd nomenclature swapping in GRUB to boot from the 2nd disk.

Even if UBUNTU overwrites your grub, you can insert SUSE DVD after you complete installation. Choose “Repair” option from the menu. There you can choose for “Automatic Repair” where in the end it will ask that there is an error in Boot Loader, do you want to fix it. Choose “FIx” option and you will get your SUSE boot loader back. You can also choose “Customized Repair”. From there directly choose "repair boot loader. And this way also you can get your SUSE boot loader. Hope this will help :slight_smile: