Alternatives and Summary – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 5

Alternatives

If you can’t find one of these devices or are just curious about alternatives here are a few. You can use a multi-boot system and either set that up on a one or more hard drives and partition it how you want. Another alternative is to use removable hard drive bays, but that can end up being more expensive as you have to buy a removable case for each drive and then have to deal with swap them in and out. There is software that can change what partition is set to be active. I’ve tried Acronis OS Selector and a few free alternatives, but didn’t like any of them since none of them worked right.

Apparently http://www.industechnologies.com sells HDD selectors as well but they don’t seem to be as nicely designed as the reviewed items here. Some PC cases also feature hard drive selection.

 

Summary

I’ve owned the NickLock, Romtec Trios and the Combox and I personally recommend the Combox (which is what I currently use). It’s a great device and the best solution as far as setup goes. Although the Trios II is the next best device and the only choice if you to run two drives at the same time. I don’t know who owns whatever patent Romtec/Troyka seemed to infringe on though, but it’s a shame that they went under as their devices were very well designed. But I suppose it’s a niche market.

You can also make these much more complex, for instance if you setup a multi-boot on one of the drives or if you setup a removable hard drive in combination. Why buy or build more than one computer when you can have the setup you need all in one. Plus the fact you don’t have to mess with any boot loader or any software and have each hard drive completely isolated. So if you want a testing station (for beta or demo software), a tweaked game PC, a work computer or multiple operating systems, you might look into getting a HDD selector.

Although, there are times when you might need different OSes running at the same time, or computers with different hardware for testing, but if that’s the case you can built a few computers and set them up on a KVM or use VMware Player.

Since writing this summary, I have added a Part 6 that covers SATA selectors. However, I have not tried out any of the SATA selectors yet.


(HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors

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Comments 1-8 of 8 to “Alternatives and Summary – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 5”

  1. 1 · jim says:

    Interesting review. The Nicklock website became defunct in 2004. The patent is still assigned to the inventor, Niklas Danielsson. The patent can be seen by seaching the European Patent Office here: http://ep.espacenet.com/numberSearch?locale=en_ep for patent application number WO0111449. I may just make one.

  2. 2 · cyn says:

    Indus Technologies, Inc. has “multiple hard drive selectors” at industechnologies.com. The Inex Switches handle up to 3 or 4 hard drives (using add-ons) and offer a number of cables and switches. There also appears to be cable access available for classroom requirements (multiple users). Have no idea if they are related to the European Patent. There is also an instruction page for a “Ghetto Hard Drive Selector” on the DV Hardware site (DarkVision Hardware), telling how to make a crude home-made version of a HD Selector. ~ Feb. 19, 2008

  3. 3 · Danielwhitepe says:

    Thanks,

    I have a trios and used it for 7 – years about. the unit is great. When a drive gets scrambled I changed to a new one until I could go back.

    Now I want to run a serial and IDE, so I am out looking.

  4. 4 · deerfern says:

    There are sata switchboxes out by USBGear, and of course Indus Technology has different options.

    But since I have a Combox already, I want to know how I can switch the 20 pin connector (that goes to the motherboard) to a 24 pin, which is my new motherboard.

    Or is this Combox toast?

  5. 5 · blogger says:

    deerfern, you can get an adapter on NewEgg, that’s what I did.

  6. 6 · Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am a computer tech. at the Southern Alberta Institute of technology, and we have used all of the options.

    The only switch that worked out of the box, or didn’t have a hardware or electronics failure in the first year, was the Indus Technologies option. There switch is by far the best built, and they have a warranty to back it up. A 5 year warranty to be exact.

    SAIT is a large school, that has over 10,000 students at a time. We tried 5 switches from each manufacture in various labs and classrooms around campus. All except the Indus Technologies Switches failed in the first year. None of the Indus Switches have ever failed.

    Add in the option to control an entire classroom from their “Master Selector” installed at the teachers desk, and add in that it can control SATA, IDE, and SCSI drives from one switch, the Indus option is by far the best. This makes the price difference well worth it.

    Also, I think their product is all built in North America, no Chinese junk.
    You need to seriously consider the Indus Technologies IDEX switches if you are in the market.

  7. 7 · Troyka Combox says:

    hello u just got the combox and i was lucky to get one from ebay but no instructions on how to set all 3 drives right now i have one as master and second one as master also but if i want to switch drives it wont bot up it say c:master not found i turn my pc off again and switch to first Os and it does bot up –so what is wrong ?? do i have the settings in the drives wrong ?? can some one help me ???

  8. 8 · blogger says:

    Chances are you don’t have the proper power connected to the correct drive. The combox has a power splitter and they should be labeled 1, 2 and 3, the same with the special IDE connector. They have to match up or it won’t work properly. My combox actually had the power cables labeled wrong, so you may need to mark them a different color yourself, until you figure out which one is 1, 2 and 3.

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