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I would like to specify the bootdrive of my computer manually (using a switch or microcontroller), because I have currently 3 hard drives in my computer: a Data drive, a hdd with mac osx and a hdd with windows os. I am trying to use a switch and microcontroller to select the bootdrive, so that I don't have to use a bootloader. This means that the windows boots, together with the data drive, or the mac osx boots with the data drive. Is there a way to do this (i.e. jumpers)?

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Are your drives SATA or IDE? – evan.bovie May 19 '12 at 16:23
all drives are SATA – Jaspack May 19 '12 at 16:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you have a motherboard with at least two SATA hard drive connectors and have at least two SATA drives, you can build a low-cost physical switch to select multiple operating systems.


But some people recommend you buy a commercial product

SATA switch

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Thank you for the good information, for the moment I already use the switch (using the same technique from the extreme tech article), but that is without a 3th data drive. When I want to use a data drive to, the problem is that that drive spins up before the drive with the os does. This results in a bootsequence with the data drive at the first place and then the os hdd. When I want to solve this issue, I think I will have to go with the commercial product? – Jaspack May 19 '12 at 18:59

First of all, I would highly recommend using a bootloader. Why not?

Otherwise, if we're talking about SATA (or even adapted to IDE), this guide will show you how to build your own SATA switch by disabling power to one of the drives.

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I would like to not use a bootloader because this is part of a remote booting mechanism. Since I want to be able to start both operating systems remotely, I can als not use the default selection for that. – Jaspack May 19 '12 at 18:45

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