I am thinking of two possiblities with this scenario. I want to first leave my windows 7 install on the hard drive that came with my laptop, and leave that HDD where it is, but in a few days, i'm getting a caddy so i can switch my optical drive for another HDD, which is going to be a 250gb. On the 250, i want to experiment with arch, and maybe other linux distros, so i can get a nice feel for linux once again, it's been about 2 years since I've played with it. What i am hoping to maybe do is switch those hard drives out, if I can get a linux install i feel 100% comfortable with, and running the windows HDD in the caddy, and the linux HDD installed in the motherboard.
I just have a few questions though. First, is it possible to boot Arch when it is an HDD caddy? and second, would windows possibly work if i moved that hard drive into the caddy later?
First, is it possible to boot Arch when it is an HDD caddy? and second, would windows possibly work if i moved that hard drive into the caddy later?
Yes, and yes. Both should be quite easy.
You should be able to set you BIOS to boot from one or the other - or alternately you can chainload windows from a linux boot loader quite easily (if/when linux is on the drive that the BIOS has selected to boot).
As Trilby pointed out, you should be able to choose the boot drive from the BIOS setup menu.
You may have a hotkey combo to do this as well. On my ThinkPad, if I press F12 at the ThinkPad splash screen while booting up, this brings up a BIOS boot menu that gives me a choice of drives to boot.
Ah, okay, thanks guys! I've been finding a lot of contradictory information on the internet regarding this, even concerning whether or not you can boot from the optical drive caddy, couldn't see why not.
Well, it works on ThinkPad laptops. I've done it that way on two different models using F12 on boot up. It stands to reason if the optical drive will boot a CD or DVD, then that drive bay interface should boot a hard drive as well.