Do you want to switch between different OSes and keep them completely isolated? Want to be able to not worry about viruses infecting all of them, or a hard drive crash taking down a multi-boot machine, or having to configure any software? Hard drive selectors are great for setting up one computer to function with several roles. You can setup one drive for your important data, another for testing, and another for games. By doing this you can tweak the OS for better performance for whatever task you have in mind. In the following mini-series of reviews I cover four hard drive selectors (three of which I have owned) and then talk about other alternatives, in case you cannot find one of these devices.
Select between two hard drives with a key. Switch it to what drive you wish to use and then power on the computer. The principal here is that the key changes what drive gets the master jumper setting (the other drive not selected won’t get a jumper setting so it shouldn’t show up in BIOS, just make sure in BIOS you have it auto-detect your hard drives). It works with all hard drives and you can mix any brand except Western Digital. If you want to use Western Digital you have to have two of them and then put them on one IDE cable and set the jumper cables on the slave setting. This has to do with the fact that Western Digital HDDs will default to master if they don’t have any jumper setting.
There was an article online about how to make your own device like this, but it was taken down due to NickLock’s patent on this procedure. However the company doesn’t seem to be around anymore, probably because it never sold well enough.
- Only takes up a 3½" bay.
- You can set it to not use any drive so your computer won’t be tampered with (assuming you have the case locked up so no one can open it as well).
- Very inexpensive (around $15-$20, although they are no longer made).
- Only two hard drive selections.
- It won’t work if you use a Western Digital hard drive and another type of hard drive.
- Each hard drive still gets power and very warm.
(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