quad boot help: osx, XP, win7, ubuntu

Laptop: Lenovo Y550P. Single 500gb HDD.

I want to install (if possible) XP x64, Win7 x64, Ubuntu 10.10, and OSX 10.6.3 (the retail disc i currently have)

I've tried everything. cant get it to work. the main issue is OSX needing GPT, and windows needing MBR.

If i format using the Mac installation disc like this (using GUID partition table)

1. fat32 (winXP)
2. fat32 (win7)
3. fat32 (ubuntu)
4. os journled (mac osx)

I can install XP on partition 1, formatting is NTFS from the XP install menu. itll install. if i format the OS partition BEFORE the windows partitions, it wont even format NTFS, itll say it needs to be MBR.

ok, so i got XP formatted, when XP installer reboots to complete the installation, i get a black screen with an error:

Windows coul not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<wubdiws root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe.
Please reinstall a copy of the above file.

I've tried running a chkdsk, etc.. no go. i think its because when i formatted with the mac disc, it created a 200mb EFI partition before my other 4 partitions. If i install XP on its own, as a single boot like you would normally, it works, so i know my disc isnt bad. I just booted into gparted, and it has all my partitions listed as i did above (the 4 above) and the 200mb EFI partition has a "boot" flag on it.

I guess the first thing i need to know is what order i should format in, using what utility, and how i should go about doing that.

Computer guru, i've read alot of your posts on similar threads, but i figured i'd make my own thread. hopefully you can help me out lol

EDIT: i have a feeling its a bootloader issue that the EFI partition is messing up, but i dont have an OS to boot to, to open EasyBCD to edit the bootloader with.

I can install win7 and boot to that, but i've tried editing the bootloader and no matter what i try, i cannot get the XP install to complete.

EDIT2: Ok so this is where im currently at as of now:

XP partition formatted NTFS via XP install wizard
Win7 partition formatted and installed, and bootable.

ill download the latest version EasyBCD and install it in windows 7 and post what my current boot file looks like.


Last edited:
Mac OS X10.6 Win 7 Win XP Ubuntu Quad Boot

What version of the service pack for Windows XP 64 is slipstreamed into the install disk if any? I don’t know much about Windows XP 64-bit but I know that the 32-bit version cannot handle a hard drive setup bigger than 128 GB. If the same situation exists with a 64 bit version, you have to have at least service pack one slipstreamed into the disk for to be able to deal with the logical partition.

Also how did you get snow leopard to load on an Intel box?

You can use any any Ubuntu install disk and run it in live mode and use the Gparted partition editor make your partitions. The eventual order a partitions I would recommend is as follows, however don’t make all of them yet.

100 MB Boot primary
11 GB Windows 7 primary
50 GB Mac Osx 10.6 primary
18 GB Windows XP logical in an extended
10 GB Ubuntu logical in an extended.
X GB Data logical in an extended .

Make the 100 MB boot partition. Make an extended partition starting 61 GB after the boot partition and taking up the rest of the drive. Make an 18 GB logical partition at the front of the extended partition for Windows XP. Insert the Windows XP disk and install Windows XP. When asked do a quick NTFS format of the partition. This will put Windows XP’s boot files in the boot partition.

Go back to the Ubuntu install desk in llive CD mode and run Gparted. Make an 11 GB partition for Windows seven.

Insert the Mac Osx 10 install disc and install into the 50 GB space between Windows 7 in Windows XP. Make sure MacOS X boots.

Install Windows 7 in its 11 GB primary partition. Boot into Windows 7.

Now you can install Easy BCD in Windows 7. You should be able to make the entries to add the option to boot into MacOS X and Windows XP easily.

Boot the Ubuntu install disk in live CD mode and make the 10 GB partition for Ubuntu. Reboot and install Ubuntu.

Select Windows from the GRUB-2 boot menu. When back in Windows 7 follow the steps to write to the MBR and install the option to boot into Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Install Directions:

GPT fdisk Tutorial:

Windows and GPT FAQ:

How To: Dual Boot Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 on a PC:

Install Snow Leopard on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required:
Lifehacker, tips and downloads for getting things done
I thought all mac's were Intel based? I havent gotten all the drivers working yet, but i can get Mac to load, using EmpireEFI boot disc to boot to the Mac install dvd.

whats the difference in creating extended partitions vs not using them?

my xp64 has at least sp2, i think its got sp3 though.

All modern iMacs are Intel-based however getting the MacOS X install disc to load requires some kind of extra step.

“whats the difference in creating extended partitions vs not using them?”

Some OS’s require a primary partition to boot from while some do not. On a system you can have either four primary partitions or three primary partitions and a single extended partition. Within the extended partition one can have many logical partitions.

Also primary partitions can be active whereas logical partitions cannot. If for example you created four primary partitions and left no room for a boot partition and loaded Windows XP and Windows 7, you have to have some kind of mechanism for determining which primary partition is going to have the boot flag and be active. While you could do this manually by booting from a Ubuntu install disc in life CD mode, this would be very cumbersome. Some boot manager/loader programs can do this but it is more problematic.

I just find it easier to have a boot partition at the front of the drive. That way the boot files for both Windows 7 in Windows XP are in the boot partition. However, with the setup with what you want to do you would need five primary partitions which is impossible. Another approach would be to skip the boot partition and go with four primary partitions. Of course this would mean that you wouldn’t have the ability setup any kind of data partition or perhaps you want to set up a fat 32 partition for sharing data back and forth between Ubuntu and Windows.

I haven’t yet got Windows to install without making the 100 megabyte boot partition but I am told that can be done if you make all the partitions ahead of time.

In any case loading XP as I outlined should be a snap. Then the advantage of installing Windows 7 after the MacOS X install is a Windows 7 should be able to load. I find each new version of Windows seems to be more destructive to what came before and is usually able to crash whatever is in its way. In general it seems to be easier to run Easy BCD out of Windows 7 as opposed to Windows XP. Also with the Windows 7 repair disk, it’s a snap to fix the Windows boot if you damage it later. Then you can get back to Easy BCD and do whatever you need to do.

Setting up the Ubuntu at the end should be relatively trivial. If you follow the directions, you will install the GRUB-2 to the MBR of the hard drive. Then you can use the GRUB-2 menu to get back in the Windows 7 and use Easy BCD to repair the MBR so that Windows 7 boot by default.

Primary, Extended and Logical Partitions:

Active Partitions and Boot Managers:

properties of partition tables:

Windows XP boot process:

Let us know how it goes. They’ll be impressive if you get all four OS’s to boot! Later on you can add Red Hat Fedora and Open Suse so you could say you have a hex boot system.
Thanks for the reply.

I found a few threads on here of people succesfully quad booting. but im not sure how they went about it.

If i format the hard drive using GUID partition table, i can create 4 primary partitions, as well as a 5th for data. If its MBR, i can only do 4 like you stated.
“If i format the hard drive using GUID partition table, i can create 4 primary partitions, as well as a 5th for data. If its MBR, i can only do 4 like you stated.”

I would go with what I outlined above and use the logical partitions in an extended partition. Logical extendeds are just as easy to use as primary partitions and you avoid the which primary is active problem.

You might be able to mix the two types if you get a second hard disk and install MacOS X 10 to the second hard disk.

“Windows users: Windows cannot boot from a GPT disk unless the computer uses an Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) system, and versions prior to Vista may not be able to read GPT disks at all. Since GPT fdisk automatically turns MBR disks into GPT disks, you should use GPT fdisk only if you're positive your system can handle them. Consult Microsoft's GPT FAQ for more information on Windows GPT support.”

Hi I have a similiar query. I currently dual boot windows 7 pro with windows XP pro. Have easybcd installed but boot using Hide and Seek so that system restore files are maintained on both systems. I now want to install Ubunto on my XP disk but how to I change the boot arrangements so I get 7, XP and Ubunto. Mike

Oh I forgot that you will probably also want to swapfile. I usually put that in at the end of the extended partition. 10 GB should do. I found a download location and directions for the Empire EFI disk image.

empire-efi-1085 directions:

empire-efi-1085 download page:


“Have easybcd installed but boot using Hide and Seek so that system restore files are maintained on both systems.”

What do you mean by hide and seek? Are you hiding one primary partition and the other to the other one look active? On what Windows do you have Easy BCD loaded? Windows 7 for Windows XP?

“I now want to install Ubunto on my XP disk but how to I change the boot arrangements so I get 7, XP and Ubunto.”

What do you mean by your XP disk? Installing Ubuntu after Windows 7 XP is really quite basic. All you have to do is make a partition from live CD mode, install you Ubuntu, boot into Windows and make the entry for Ubuntu.


In basic systems a lot of people use the terms disk and drive interchangeably. To make things more confusing in the Mac world they use the term volume for a disc drive.

If you go to be specific the term should mean the following:

Disc or a hard disk = one single hard disk or hard drive.

Drive = a single partition, whether it be primary or logical, or a drive letter on a hard disk.

Volume = a logical structure consisting of two or more hard disks such as a RAID volume.

Example. In a server 3 hard discs are combined to make a RAID 5 volume. From Windows point of view the volume looks like one hard disk. The hard disk can be formatted into a C and D drives or partitions.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member