Alternative COMBOX Setup
With my computer (Gateway, circa 2000), I was unable to get the COMBOX to work as described in the instructions (the device is to allow completely independent use of two disks on one computer). It's possible that the problem is that the hard drives are not from the same manufacturer. (Western Digital and Hitachi).
    I researched and tried numerous arrangements. It ended up working this way:


Why use such a gizmo? Why not use the Smart Boot Manager or dual boot or just a slave drive?
    In order to have an internet system and a completely separate offline system without them knowing about each other (keeps virii and spyware out of my non-internet system) yet without having to have two keyboards, etc. Also to have a system that is stable (not periodically getting operating system bugs and not making older software obsolete over time) and not slowed by virus scans.
    When I bought a hard drive that I ended up not needing, this arrangement was a way to make something good out of that mistake. For some time I had already dreamed of having a safe/stable, separate disk, for the reasons given above.

Why not just swap cables whenever you want to go online and then swap back when you want to use your safe system?
    Indeed, you could use the above arrangement of IDE cables, get some power extension cords, open a bay for easy access to the latter, and swap them appropriately from that open bay. But the following are reasons this is less good than using the COMBOX (or Trios) gizmo.
  • You could accidentally swap cables while the system is still on, forgetting to power down first. This could lose your data (if not damage the disk outright).
  • More hassle, long term.
  • The connection points will wear over time. In particular, if the arrangement involved disconnecting from the disks themselves (not connecting and disconnecting two extension cords), the connection points on the disk card itself can break over time. This means needing to replace a disk sooner, which costs money and hassle, and probably some lost data.
  • Even when the power is off, if the power to the computer is still plugged in while you swap cables, there is a chance of a latent spark being released, causing harm.
  • Less tidy work area! :-)
  • Finally, if all that isn't enough already, if you are not shutting the bay while the computer is running, this hole affects the air flow, slightly reducing cooling. It's also possible that nearby spills can splash in there by accident.