Originally Published: Wednesday, 12 April 2000 Author: Tim Prewett
Published to: enhance_articles_hardware/Hardware Reviews Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

The TriOS Hardware Switch

Everyone has been there. At one time or another we were all newbies! For some it was a little scary; for others it was everything that they had dreamed it would be. Ah, I remember my first kernel.

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Everyone has been there. At one time or another we were all newbies! For some it was a little scary; for others it was everything that they had dreamed it would be. Ah, I remember my first kernel.

Somewhere in those first few moments you had to decide what to do with your other operating system. For most of us LILO was an adequate, yet sometimes difficult, solution. However as time progresses you become more and more comfortable with the way things are done and your hesitation goes away.

Enter the TriOS hardware switch. This interesting piece of hardware is pushing your hesitation back even further. Now you can have a hardware-driven OS switching solution. They claim that they are the only hardware switching solution available. The unit mounts into one 5 1/4 drive bay. It has three push button switches. Each button activates one hard drive at a time. The unit enables you to have three hard drives with three operating systems. The literature that comes with the unit claims that you can have windows installed three times in different configurations. For example you could have a French, English, and German version loaded on the same machine depending on who was using that machine. Installation was a breeze. It mounts and secures just like a 5 1/4 CD-ROM. The only tricky part for a newbie will be the cable connections. Normally you have a device (Hard Drive, CD-ROM, Zip Drive) connected directly to the motherboard. For the unit to function you must disconnect you current IDE device and plug into the input pin connector on the TRIOS device. Then there are three connectors that you use as output to your respective hard drives. Each connection connects one device. Each button controls the corresponding connector/drive. The installation is relatively simple and should not be too difficult, even for the absolute beginner. I you have ever pulled a case off a computer you will have no trouble.

As nice as it sounds, isn't that like the third level of Hell? Of course there are some of us that would prefer to use something a little bit different like say a LINUX, BSD, BEOS tri-boot system. All are possible with the TriOS. However, you have to ask the question: who is going to be running any three alternative operating systems that isn't going to have either LILO, or even Boot Magic? For the TriOS to take on either software solution is a brave endeavor.

Unfortunately the TriOS hardware doesn't address any of the problems found in software switching. For instance you still have to reboot to get change operating systems. To make matters worse, all the drives are not available concurrently.

For the purpose of this article I have say that the TriOS is functional. Some might say that an extreme newbie would enjoy the safety of the TriOS. However, I dare say that you would be better off buying a version of Boot Magic for your multiple OS needs.





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