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Windows 7: Installing Linux to "triple-boot" with XP and Win7


22 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows XP Pro SP3 Dual Boot
 
 
Installing Linux to "triple-boot" with XP and Win7

Hi,
I've got a fine working dual-boot system with Windows XP Professional SP3 and Windows 7 Ultimate. I'm gonna install Ubuntu Linux 10, but I also want to keep both Windows systems. I googled after it, and I found many tutorials showing how to install Ubuntu to dual-boot with either XP or Vista(Windows 7), but none of them explained, what to do if I want to have three systems. I've got a SATA hard disk with a capacity of 320 GB(298 GB actually) There are two partitions, C: (198 GB) and D: (99,3 GB). Windows 7 is installed on C:, XP on D:. Since there's no more free space I'm planning to shrink the C: volume to make space for Ubuntu, without formatting it from within Windows.(approx 30-40 GB) Then I'm gonna install Ubuntu by letting it to use the largest continuous free space available. I'm gonna use GRUB instead of the Windows Bootloader.

My only question is, whether this will work(I mean whether such problems can occur, e.g. XP won't start up, data lost etc.), and if there are additional things to do, when installing such a "Triple-boot-system"? When I follow the steps explained above, will everything work, will the bootloader show all operating systems? Or if not, please let me know how to configure it. Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Dec 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello.



Yes what you propose is possible but you will be asking for all sorts of future issues between Windows and GRUB, please, the first thing to do is make reliable back-ups of all the data you don't want to lose before you do anything to change the way the system boots now.


The smart way to do this is to install Linux to a separate Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and use the BIOS to control the boot between the Windows HDD and the Linux HDD at system startup; have a look at the info below for some ideas and be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.


information   Information

The easiest way to do away with boot issues between separate Operating Systems (OS) is to use the BIOS one time boot menu to select which OS to boot at system startup, each motherboard has an individual hot-key to tap during system start-up to access this menu.

If you have 2 separate Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and have one OS installed to one HDD and you want to install another OS to the second HDD, disconnect the HDD with the first OS installed on it and leave only the HDD you want to install the second OS to connected.

Just be sure not to change where the original HDD SATA cable was connected, it has to be re-connected to the exact same port to avoid boot issues.

Install the second OS to the connected HDD and when complete and the system is booting good, power down and reconnect the first HDD with the first OS on it.

This way the OSs will boot independently of each other and there will be no boot conflicts between the 2 separate OSs to have to sort later.

Then set the BIOS to boot the HDD / OS you want as default and if you want to start the other (new) OS you use the BIOS one-time boot menu to select that HDD / OS to start when the PC is started.
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My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows XP Pro SP3 Dual Boot
 
 

Thanks for your response, but unfortunately, since I'm gonna do this on a laptop, there's no possibility to connect another HDD. As you've written above, what I'm planning to do, may work, but you also wrote that I might encounter some issues between Windows and GRUB. What problems may then occur, what things require more attention? Thanks for your help.

BTW, I was testing Ubuntu right now without installing it, and it worked fine, and I was able to access all data on the hard drive, so there won't hopefully be any problems with the system itself.
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22 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

If you are worried about problems, why not virtualize? I don't understand why people are still messing with multi-boot systems anymore. Simple, free, and it leaves your host OS untouched.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows XP Pro SP3 Dual Boot
 
 

Finally it succeeded to install Ubuntu without any problems. During the installation I created an ext4 and a swap partition for the ubuntu system. In GRUB, there are three options to select: Ubuntu, Ubuntu in safe mode, and Windows 7 loader, and by selecting this, you'll get the old boot screen, showing only the two windows systems. It seemed to be quite easy, with no problems.(until now ) Thanks for your help!
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22 Dec 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows XP Pro SP3 Dual Boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
If you are worried about problems, why not virtualize? I don't understand why people are still messing with multi-boot systems anymore. Simple, free, and it leaves your host OS untouched.
Running an operating system on the machine is much better than virtualizing, because I was planning to install this Ubuntu for everyday use, but I also wanted to keep the Windows systems. An emulated system is much slower, and since the virtual machine has limited performance, some features of the guest os don't work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello again.



Good to see you found a solution that works for you and thanks for the update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cbs362 View Post
Running an operating system on the machine is much better than virtualizing, because I was planning to install this Ubuntu for everyday use, but I also wanted to keep the Windows systems. An emulated system is much slower, and since the virtual machine has limited performance, some features of the guest os don't work.
I'm not sure where you are getting your info from, or who's been telling you this, but I wouldn't listen to them anymore, to be honest.

Have you used a virtual machine in the last year or so? You get nearly native speed, and now you can even run 3D apps, like games, with support as well. USB and external peripherals are all accessible as well. VMs have direct host access to memory, processors, network adapters, etc.

If you truly believe what you posted to me...do yourself a favor and read up on the subject. You're missing out on a better, cleaner solution.
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 Installing Linux to "triple-boot" with XP and Win7




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