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How do I set up a triple-boot?

KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 28-08-2007

How do I set up a triple-boot?

Hi,
This may sound strange but I'm building a new system which I want to be able to run XP, Windows 7 and Ubuntu, and choose at boot time which OS to boot into.
I have a new hard drive which will be partitioned to create a separate partition for each OS plus one for the data which can be accessed irrespective of which OS I boot.  I know that partition will have to be NTFS.
But, what order do I install the operating systems?  And will they automatically configure the boot loader to offer a prompt so I can select which one to boot?
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

I don't know about Ubuntu, but to dual-boot XP and W7 you need to install XP first as W7 uses a totally different boot mechanism.
Steve
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 6,700
Thanks: 252
Registered: 13-07-2009

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

You might be able To Install Windows 7 first, Xp In a VB and Ubuntu along side windows 7?
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,614
Thanks: 209
Fixes: 15
Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

Install the M$ OS's FIRST as they will destroy the boot loader that Ubuntu installs.
Usually Install the OLDEST first, as it will not know about the newer versions.
Then when you install Ubuntu it will install a menu offering the three OS's, the default will be Ubuntu if you want to change that install Startup-Manager in Ubuntu and change it using that. You may also want to look at the BURG project for a fancy graphical boot menu.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 541
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

I'd also be using XOSL as the boot loader myself. Far superior to any other boot loader out there, password protection, graphical UI, can add and remove partitions to boot / hide etc.
I'd honestly say its about the most advanced boot loader available and its free.
Only downside is the installer which is a dos style UI and you must be careful to install it on its own partition (otherwise it will destroy everything - and recovery is impossible - I spent over 2 weeks trying - then realised I had a CD with it all on!).
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VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,651
Thanks: 206
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

You can install Ubuntu "into" W7 so that it uses a chunk of NTFS storage, with a selection at boot time.
Disk access is a bit slower because NTFS imposes an extra layer of processing - but only noticeable on I/O intensive applications.
Ubuntu runs natively, it's not using any Windows 7 functions.
I've done it myself (as a dual boot) into a 64 bit W7 laptop.

KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

Thanks everyone for the responses, here's how I did it.
Started with a blank disk, booted from the XP installation disk, created a partition for XP and installed it there.
Inserted the Win7 disk and run the Win7 install program (run from XP).  I created a second partition for Win7 and installed it there.
When the PC boots it offers Windows 7 or "Earlier version of Windows" - aka XP.
I created another NTFS partition which I will use for my user data, and I will be able to access it from all three operating systems.
Finally, I booted from the Ubuntu 10 disk and installed it in the remaining space.
One caveat is that you cannot have more than 4 primary partitions on the disk, so I have two plus an extended partition.  The latter allows me to create a number of logical partitions as required.
So, now when I boot the PC, using nothing more special than the default boot loaders each operating system provides, the procedure is as follows:  First Grub offers Ubuntu or the Windows 7 boot loader.  If I select Windows 7, the Windows 7 boot loader then offers Windows 7 or XP.  All the operating systems boot up just fine.
Now all I need to do is sort out drive lettering so the two Windows instances have the same letters for the data partition, and also set it to automount when I start Ubuntu.
rodmc
Grafter
Posts: 85
Registered: 16-08-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

I know this a bit late in the day to be suggesting this but have you thought of using VMware?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 541
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

Suggested it many times myself but one of my suggestions was deleted without explanation - Don't think the mods are keen on VM here.
In reality VM is a good way to go the only downside is that its a bit slower than a real OS however if the VM is MS Windows you can log into it via remote desktop and then not see the mouse trails..
Other than that, setup XOSL on its own partition, have other blank partitions and then boot them from XOSL and install the OS. Done it many times myself like that and you then don't need to install a OS in any particular order.
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KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: How do I set up a triple-boot?

Hi,
I had thought about VMs, but the hardware is a bit on the old side (especially with Win 7), and I don't need all running at the same time.  Thanks anyway!