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.
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.
(HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors
- NickLock – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 1
- Romtec Trios – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 2
- Romtec Trios II – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 3
- Combox – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 4
- Alternatives and Summary – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 5
- SATA Switches – (HDD) Hard Disk Drive Selectors Part 6