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Dual Boot Power Button

With a penguin on it
  (+12, -1)(+12, -1)
(+12, -1)
  [vote for,

I have two operating systems on my computer. When I start it up, a menu asks me which one I want, or waits three seconds and boots the default.

Instead of the bootloader menu, a computer set up with two or more power switches would be nifty. If I press the button with the little image of Tux the Penguin on it, it boots into Linux. If I push the button with the little Windows graphic on it, it boots into Windows.

I'm not sure how this could be achieved - perhaps if a number corresponding to the bootloader entry was stored in hardware somewhere (the power switch itself, for example), and the bootloader could query this and boot appropriately.

While it's not very extensible, most people are not in the habit of adding operating systems to their computer too frequently.

This idea might also be extended to booting from different devices (like CD), but this would require the BIOS know what to do, and would be harder to implement on different machines.

Detly, Feb 21 2005

IDE switch http://www.industec...ies.com/idexpg.html
[AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2005]

Something like this, bristolz? http://www.mini-itx.../default.asp?page=4
PC mod in a WinXP box; turn upside down for Linux boot [JKew, Feb 22 2005]

Ian's tank http://tindale.dyn....d/epiafishtank.html
fixed URL [csea, Feb 22 2005]

WWBMU bootmanager http://lab1.de/Cent...System-Tools/WWBMU/
[jaclaz, Apr 04 2007]


       Have a rotational switch to give you, say, 16 positions for different boot options, and one power button.
david_scothern, Feb 21 2005

       Is three seconds not long enough for you to select the non-default OS, or do you need the default OS to boot in less than three seconds? If it's neither of these, I really don't see what problem you're solving.
Of course, if it's just for the coolness factor...
angel, Feb 21 2005

       I like the idea. It's a small covenience and I think one that could prove useful in remote reset--boot on LAN-- situations where it could be thought of almost as two different machines.
bristolz, Feb 21 2005

       Whilst not exactly what you want, I've seen what I suspect to be a multi-way IDE selector switch, but of course, this'd mean separate disks instead of just separate partitions. And it wouldn't work for SCSI system disks. [+] for the idea of Tux on a button.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2005

       How about a two-sided, or ended, machine where one side is one OS and the other is another?
bristolz, Feb 21 2005

bristolz, Feb 21 2005

       Why not? I've seen MUCH odder things in case mods. (Like RAM cards, which go INSIDE your case, that have scrolling LED displays on the top edge).
krelnik, Feb 22 2005

       My best case mod was a working PC made out of a SCSI MB, HD, Airwalk shoe box, and duct tape.   

       No power switch so I had a jumper coming off the power jumper on the MB and two wires coming out of the box. Tocuhing the wires quickly twice started it up.   

       I had the Xbox, Shoebox, and Meatbox (my machine) all talking.   

       Pointless but fun.
Giblet, Feb 22 2005

       Fixed the URL for Ian's tank. [link]   

       One of the preferred 8-bit processor learning kits in 1979 was the Motorola Educational Kit, MEK 6800 XX Which was easily built into a 3-ring binder: 2 boards, CPU + I/O, 1 each mounted to the front and back covers. Add a "potted" 5V power supply, and behold! The notebook computer!   

       I mention this because it was standard practice to have a switch mounted in the user hardware area to choose operating systems.
csea, Feb 22 2005

       [angel] - it's purely a coolness/convenience thing.   

       I like the idea of a boot selector separate from the power button, too. This would also work for restarts.   

       [Ian] - in principle, your point is perfectly valid, but in practice, I'm only ever selecting an OS on boot/reboot.   

       Perhaps one switch could look perfect and gleaming but gets stuck half the time, and the manufacturers send you new stickers for it an refuse to let you use their software until you put it on. The other switch is free - indeed, it can't actually be bought - you have to buy the plastic and mould it yourself, and then hand paint the little penguin on.   

       [krelnik] - whatever for?
Detly, Feb 22 2005

       Something VERY like this does actually exist, easily adaptable to existing PC, it is a German FREEWARE bootmanager, calles WWBMU, that can "read" the state of the parallel port, so you select through a switch which OS you want to boot before switching on the PC. Connecting two separate switches to achieve the same should be trivial, expecially on ATX motherboards where you have power even when switched off....
jaclaz, Apr 04 2007

       I dont see much use. most of us never power down, only reboot. How often do you ever press even the one power button you've got?   

       Still not bad.
ironfroggy, Apr 04 2007

       // Is three seconds not long enough for you to select the non-default OS //   

       The total time penalty is actually greater than that. After pressing the power button, the user must wait for fans to spin up, SCSI devices to be detected, and the POST to complete, then get to the menu for OS selection.   

       It would be much nicer if you could press a single button on your machine and immediately wander away. Returning to the machine several minutes later, your chosen OS will have loaded and be waiting for your authentication information.
ed, Apr 04 2007

       I once baked something similar to this. I had two identical hard disks, one with Windows and one with GNU/Linux. I connected wires to the master / slave jumpers, and connected these to a DPDT switch. The result was that flicking the switch reversed the master/slave nature of the two drives.   

       Because the state of the jumpers is only read during booting, you can even flick the switch while one OS is running, reboot the computer, and have it restart with the other OS.   

       I've never seen a simpler or more foolproof dual-boot solution. It also nicely deals with the annoying fact that Windows tends to overwrite other OS's bootloaders; you can re-install Windows without fear.   

       I set this up in a wooden fruit crate.
spidermother, Apr 05 2007

       I thought of this idea but for logging in different users. I hate switching on Windows, having to come back 3 minutes later, logging me in, and having to wait another 3 minutes for all the start-up stuff to settle down.   

       I love the 16-way selection switch.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Apr 05 2007

       No thanks. Everytime I change distros or otherwise experiment I'd have to reprogram my power button. Seems to me like anyone that might actually have use of this wouldn't want it.   

       Sneaky way to implement it though: two hard drives. One power button tells the BIOS to boot one drive, the other the other. Even less extensible than the other idea, but wouldn't require reprogramming anything as long as you stick to 1 OS per drive.   

       --edit. I missed spidermothers anno. An even more simplistic and elegant solution.
Noexit, Apr 05 2007

       [spidermother] you are a halfbaked genius
BunsenHoneydew, Apr 21 2007


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