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Triple-booting Win 7, XP, Ubuntu


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buff3r0vrfl0w's Avatar
buff3r0vrfl0w buff3r0vrfl0w is offline
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11-Apr-2011, 03:02 PM #1
Triple-booting Win 7, XP, Ubuntu
Hi All,

I never setup a triple-boot system before. I kind of have an idea of how I'm going to attempt this little project but wanted to see what you guys thought. I have a 320GB asus laptop and plan on using Gparted live cd to do all my partitioning. I plan to create 2 NTFS partitions and then create an EXT3 partition plus a swap partition.. is this the way or is their another/easier way?

Thanks All
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11-Apr-2011, 03:25 PM #2
Set the Partitions and install W7 first so it takes priority (in Windows terms anyway) over XP then install Ubuntu and let Grub or Lilo create a boot menu which includes all three on a splash screen at startup. On a 320, if W7 has 140 and XP 80, Ubuntu will be quite happy with the remainder.
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11-Apr-2011, 05:18 PM #3
Back when I used to multi-boot, I would have set it up like this:

1) 2 primary partitions. One each for XP and Win7, probably 20G for XP and 50 for Win7.
2) An extended partition with the remaining 250G. Then 3 logical partitions within that extended: I would give Ubuntu 20G, swap 1G, and the rest for a data partition available to all OSs. BTW, linux will boot from a logical partition.
3) I'd install XP first, then Windows 7 then Ubuntu.
4) Then I'd image each OS separately, putting the images on both the data partition and on an external HDD.
5) Optional: I always installed each by "hiding" the other boot partitions, that way all OSs had their boot files on their own partition and I could remove any one of them without bothering the others. Additionally, this lets you install in whatever order you like.

I'm not trying to give advice, just an example of one way to do it.

However, even though I did that kind of thing for a few years, I don't multi-boot anymore. I now use VMware and just have a main (host) OS then as many virtual machines (VMs) as I want. It's a much simpler system,

Backups are easier: copy/paste
Moving them is easier: copy/paste
If you don't use a VM anymore, you can just delete the folder or move it onto your external HDD.

And if I get a new machine, all I've got to do is install VMware, move my 3 main VMs over and I'm ready to go.
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12-Apr-2011, 12:15 PM #4
Hey thanks for the replies.

@DVOM Yeah I plan to do it that method of hiding and un-hiding the partitions when I install. One question.. I plan to use win7 and ubuntu mostly and would like to be able to access files from both partitions (when I'm in ubuntu i want to access files from win7/xp and vise versa).. how can I achieve this?
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12-Apr-2011, 01:54 PM #5
DVOM suggested a separate data partition, and that's how I'm currently doing it on my Dell with XP and Ubuntu. You can relocate My Documents (My Pictures, etc.) to the data partition so that XP and Windows 7 are using the same data, and you can also access that data from Ubuntu.

You can also leave the data in XP and/or Windows 7 and still access from Ubuntu. Just remember that Ubuntu accesses NTFS w/o blinking an eye, but for Windows to access extn you need a third party utility.
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12-Apr-2011, 04:53 PM #6
If you install using the "hide-unhide" method, you're not going to be able to see the other OS. However, a big advantage of doing it this way is all OSs see themselves as on C drive.

Edit: As TerryNet has said, that's what the data partition is for. I started doing it this way years ago when I wanted to keep my OS small enough so I could fit a Ghost image of it on a single CD. I was also installing all my programs to another partition for this reason.

I mentioned VMware earlier so I thought I'd give you a couple of links:

This is to the newest VMware Player, I'm avoiding the VMware site as they make you register, which I think is a bother for a free program:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/...e-Player.shtml

And this link is to free pre-made VMware images of various Linux distros. Just download, unzip and boot it up:

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/cat/508

Be sure to notice what user name and password they've assigned to each appliance.

Last edited by DVOM; 12-Apr-2011 at 05:01 PM..
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12-Apr-2011, 08:36 PM #7
Hey thanks for the info and yeah I know allll about virtualization,, thanks for the tips
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12-Apr-2011, 09:46 PM #8
Running XP in dual (or triple) boot with 7 has a peculiarity, when XP runs it deletes 7's System Restore points !

You can get round this by a registry change that stops XP 'seeing' the 7 partition, details here :- http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/12...ot-delete.html
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12-Apr-2011, 11:00 PM #9
Right On, thanks meng
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17-Apr-2011, 12:09 AM #10
Hey man I partitoned my hdd with gparted, I successfully booted into xp and windows 7 then I installed ubuntu (successfully booted into that aswell. But when I tried booting into windows 7 after the ubuntu installation I got the bsod.
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17-Apr-2011, 01:39 AM #11

That's what happened to me when I installed XP before W7 which is why I suggested allowing the W7 boot setup have precedence over XP's older version. I never did sort that one and still have to restart after coming out of PCLinuxOS if I want W7 next but can migrate smoothly into XP. I'll watch this one with interest.
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17-Apr-2011, 10:10 AM #12
Can you boot successfully into XP?

Please excuse this little thread hijack. How, exactly, does one do the partition "hiding" when installing and then when booting? I'm guessing this may have something to do with the BSOD, as the Ubuntu installation should have had no effect on Windows 7 or else made it "unfindable" for booting.
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17-Apr-2011, 01:45 PM #13
Therein may lie the answer because if, by hiding (however it's done) each Partition becomes C:\, Windows 7's boot process won't accept XP as being C - it will want that position for itself.

Pity the OP doesn't tell us if he can swan about between XP and 7 or if the problem only occurs when restarting from Ubuntu - not shutting down and starting up again..
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17-Apr-2011, 02:36 PM #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by buff3r0vrfl0w View Post
Hey man I partitoned my hdd with gparted, I successfully booted into xp and windows 7 then I installed ubuntu (successfully booted into that aswell. But when I tried booting into windows 7 after the ubuntu installation I got the bsod.
As has been said, we need to know if you can now boot into xp. Also, what is the message on the Win7 BSOD?

And did you install each while "hiding" the other OS partitions?

Saga Lout, in my experience, boot menus don't identify the OSs by drive letter, the ones I've used identify either by the name of the OS or by position on the hard drive. Drive letters don't come into play (in fact they don't even exist) until you're actually booted into a Windows OS. And if you're dual booting 2 different Windows OSs by "hiding" and "unhiding", the drive letters used in one of them have no effect on how the other assigns drive letters.

TerryNet, I don't think the OP used the "hiding/unhiding" to install. Because, as you guessed, it would have left Win7 either as "Operating system not found" or just hanging at a black screen.
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18-Apr-2011, 11:46 PM #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saga Lout View Post
Therein may lie the answer because if, by hiding (however it's done) each Partition becomes C:\, Windows 7's boot process won't accept XP as being C - it will want that position for itself.

Pity the OP doesn't tell us if he can swan about between XP and 7 or if the problem only occurs when restarting from Ubuntu - not shutting down and starting up again..
@SagaLout I'm using gparted to hide/unhide/set boot for my partitions. I'm sure you can use other partition managers but gparted is so easy and built on debian!

Anyways, I decided to redo the entire process and take my time. SUCCESS ! I got it working. I now have a fully functional XP, 7, and Ubuntu triple boot system. I love it. What I did the second time besides take my time, was set the ubuntu parititon as a logical partition and downsized my windows partitions for easy imaging (thanks DVOM). I also think I forgot to deselect my xp partition from being boot before the ubuntu install. Idk, but now I got it working..Also I installed xp before windows 7. Thing is in the grub boot menu it says (loader) next to the windows 7 partiton. Its not affecting anything but kinda curious why its there. Thanks for all the help and support !
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