I got some new hard discs and would like to set my PC up in the following way:

  1. Ubuntu is currently installed on one drive

  2. I want to put Windows on a second drive

  3. I would like a third drive for shared content (music and stuff) that both OSes can access

What I need to know is what format should the content drive be? How should I configure the drive order in my bios for GRUB to be boot manager and how to configure GRUB for multi-HDD booting?


Since you already have Ubuntu installed in the first drive, there is no need to uninstall it, if you are comfortable putting in and taking out hard drives from your computer.

  1. Unplug the first drive containing Ubuntu.
  2. Plug in the second drive, install Windows as if it is the only drive.
  3. Plug back the first drive. Change boot order in BIOS to boot first from the first (Ubuntu) drive.
  4. Boot Ubuntu and open a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and type sudo update-grub

The last step should find the Windows in the second drive and update Grub accordingly and from next boot,you should be able to choose between Ubuntu and Windows.

As for the third drive, NTFS format should be fine. You may have to edit /etc/fstab to mount the third drive automatically.

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If you install Ubuntu last it will automatically add all the other stuff to your grub menu, it does not really matter how you partition your disks. Keep in mind that installing Windows will wipe out the grub boot loader.

Your 3rd drive will need to be formatted NTFS or FAT32. I have had pretty good results mounting NTFS file systems under Ubuntu but FAT is probably more common.

This is how I run (well, close, 2 disks, first is split between XP, Win7 and 12.04, second disk is movies & music).

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