Multi-boot Help

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alternativedn

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Hi guys,

I am currently building a new machine that I plan on primarily running Windows 7 on. I would, however, like to be able to multi boot with a couple other OSes like ubuntu, Open Solaris and possible some others to fool around with. After some research I think I am gonna buy a 500 GB WD Hard Drive and just partition it into like 5 partitions and put an OS on each (I will have Windows 7 on a separate HD). Will there be any problems with this setup? Also, I was looking for a good multi-boot application (preferably free) but all that seems to come up on my searches is Acronis OS Selector for $25. Anyone have any other suggestions for a multi-boot app? Thanks i advance.

-alternativedn
 

Jayce

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Why not just use the boot loader that comes with Linux? (GRUB) As long as you install Windows 7 first and the other Linux OS's behind it, it'll overwrite the Windows boot loader and take priority, then you can select your OS accordingly when you boot up.

I dual boot Vista + Ubuntu on the same hard drive. Works great. Previously I had XP on 1 hard drive and Ubuntu on another hard drive. That also worked good.
 

alternativedn

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sound like what I wanted. I have never used Linux so I did not know it came with one, lol. So I am planning on having windows 7 on a ssd and putting a couple other OSes on a partitioned WD Caviar Black 500GB HD. Will there be any problems with that setup? And how do I go about installing the second OS (Linux) after I put Windows 7 on there? Does anybody know of any good walthrough/guides so I don't screw this up? Thanks again.
 

Jayce

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I have no experience with solid state drives, however I assume it would work in the same fashion a regular hard drive would.

Installing Ubuntu is relatively easy. The key is getting off to the right start when you install Windows 7. When you install 7, make sure you command it to install on a partition and not the entire hard drive. If you tell 7 to install to a 100gb partition within the 500gb drive, you're good to go. That'll create 100gb for 7 and the remaining 400gb will be unallocated.

Afterwards, install 7, let it do its thing. Then, fire up the Ubuntu disc. When installing, it's relatively similar to Windows. You know, asks you your language, time zone, name, password, etc. The only thing that may be a LITTLE offset is the partition editor. Just make sure you know what you are doing here. You should see a partition for NTFS, which would be Windows 7. Do not delete this! This would be your Windows install. Let it alone.

Instead, right click on the "unallocated" space and create a new partition. I suggest formatting it to EXT3, however EXT4 is available too if you decide to go with it. (EXT4 is newer than EXT3, I'm waiting a while longer before I try out EXT4).

Again, the same here is true that was before with Windows 7. You have 7 with 100gb partition, 400gb unallocated. Well, by creating another 100gb partition, you'll be able to install Ubuntu on that 2nd 100gb partition, therefore leaving 300gb unallocated. Make sense? You're just slicing up your hard drive in sections (partitions) to install the operating systems accordingly.

The key things here I would say are:

- When installing 7, leave space for the other operating systems.
- When installing Ubuntu, do not accidentally format the 7 partition.
- Install Windows before Ubuntu.

There are also dozens of videos littered on YouTube of this. Check a few out.
 

kmote

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sound like what I wanted. I have never used Linux so I did not know it came with one, lol. So I am planning on having windows 7 on a ssd and putting a couple other OSes on a partitioned WD Caviar Black 500GB HD. Will there be any problems with that setup? And how do I go about installing the second OS (Linux) after I put Windows 7 on there? Does anybody know of any good walthrough/guides so I don't screw this up? Thanks again.

Haha, screwing it up a few times is all part of the fun and it can be quite a learning experience. You could put the boot partition and the windows install on the SSD then two OS roots and a swap on the WD with a big data partition.
 

KSoD

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1 thing that should be mentioned is that partitioning a hard drive you can only have 4 Primary partitions. As such you will only be able to install Windows to 1 of those 4. Linux can work with extended partitions and that so if you do partition it to 5 separate partitions just know that tidbit.

Also if you are not familiar with working with GRUB and prefer the BCD (Windows Vista/Win7 bootloader) you can get EasyBCD 2.0 and use that to add Linux to the Windows bootloader.
 

Jayce

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Mak - How would EasyBCD work with Linux? Is the objective to install all operating systems first, THEN add EasyBCD and somehow tie them together? I'm just curious because with Grub's nature of overwriting the Windows boot loader I was curious how you bring EasyBCD to life to be the active OS.
 

KSoD

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EasyBCD was created to basically point to GRUB adn then have GRUB take over. It is purely for looks to have the entry. you would have to modify GRUB to have multiple Linux entries and if not done right you would still see the GRUB screen come up.

But with EasyBCD you can install in any order. What you would do would be restore the BCD via the install disk or recovery CD for Vista, and then add the entries. So even if you installed Linux after windows, which i do myself, all it is at that point is a restore of the Windows loader then a addition to it to point to GRUB to load. It can also work with LiLo and others as well. The only one it is not working with is the BTX loader for PC-BSD.

But with all of that said you could have it go right to Linux by removing the time out within GRUB, by setting it to 0 (Zero) which will then load your Linux install after you make the selection on the BCD.

Along with that, if you install multiple Linux distributions, like i said it would require a manual edit of the GRUB to get them all working, you could add entries and still bypass GRUB. But that method is very tricky. Even i have not done that one. If i install Ubuntu and Kubuntu i just add a single entry for Ubuntu and then when GRUB comes up i select the Linux of choice.

So in the end it could result in 2 loader screens, but at the same time it can be said of GRUB as well. If you have 2 versions of Windows installed it will give you the option for the windows boot loader and then you would have to select the windows Os of choice when that boot menu came up. At least from my last experiment of using GRUb as my loader it did that.
 

alternativedn

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OK, it sounds like GRUB will do what I want, but I would just like to clarify 1 thing. I will be installing Windows 7 on a 60GB SSD, and then I would like to have other OSes on a partitioned 500GB WD Hard Drive. Will I be able to do this or do all OSes have to be on the same HD?
 
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