SithToast's Quick and Easy Triple Boot Guide!


I have written this guide with my setup in mind:
120GB ATA HDD (Windows Vista) - Master
60GB ATA HDD (Junk/Windows XP/Linux) - Slave
250GB SATA HDD (Junk)

If yours is somewhat similar to mind you shouldn't have much trouble following this guide as is. You should still be able to follow this guide okay even with only HDD installed in your system.

Vista and XP

Step 1: If you haven't installed Vista, take this opportunity to partition your hard drives to your liking.
Step 1a: If you already have Vista installed, you can partition your hard drives safely (as long as they are formatted NTFS/RAW) with Vista's built in partitioner.

Step 2: Go through the very first part of XP's setup (blue screen). Once that is done, stick in your Vista DVD and repair your bootloader.

Step 3: You can do this by selecting repair your computer and repair startup problems.
Step 3a: If the automatic wizard doesn't help you, you can repair it yourself by starting a repair console and typing in:
bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot
After doing that, your Vista bootloader should be installed again.

Step 4: Boot into Vista and install EasyBCD if you haven't already :smile:
Step 4a: Add a new entry to your bootloader by choosing the drive you installed XP to as it shows up in Vista.
Step 4b: Restart and pray that NTLDR pops up when you select XP from the Vista boot manager.
Step 4c: If all goes well, you should be able to continue XP's setup and boot into it once setup is complete.

If XP doesn't start, check all the entries in boot.ini

Vista and Linux

Step 5: Stick in your linux CD (Ubuntu in my case) and boot from the live cd.
Step 5a: Start the installer from the Live CD desktop.
Step 5b: On the last step before installation choose Advanced from the Ubuntu install wizard. You should see an install bootloader to option.

Currently it is filled in with (hd0). You don't want that as it will install GRUB to the MBR and you would have to restore the vista boot manager again as described in step 3.

How to figure out what to put in the blank!

Everything starts from 0 in Linux. So if you were installing to your 2nd hard drive's 4th partition like I was, you would stick in (hd1,3). If it was your 4th hard drive and 6th partition you would stick in (hd3,5).

Step 5c: Once that is filled in, start your linux distro's setup!

Step 6: After Linux is installed, open up EasyBCD in Vista and add your Linux entry! Just remember where you installed it to!

Troubleshooting EasyBCD & GRUB

Step 7: If for some reason Grub doesn't work (black screen with GRUB in the top corner), boot from your linux live cd again and open up a console.

Step 7a:
Enter the following commands:
sudo mkdir /mnt/root
To find out what goes in the starred area, type sudo fdisk -l and find your Linux partition.
sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/* /mnt/root
sudo mount -t proc none /mnt/root/proc
sudo mount -o bind /dev /mnt/root/dev
sudo chroot /mnt/root /bin/bash
sudo grub
find /boot/grub/stage1
Use whatever grub finds in the NEXT TWO STEPS
root (hd*,*)
setup (hd*,*)
Step 7b: Exit grub by either exiting the console window or by typing quit
Step 7c: Now type:
sudo grub-install --recheck '(hd*,*)'
REMEMBER: Use whatever you stuck in for the grub wizard before hand!
It should return a grub drive map if all went well.

Step 8: Reboot and choose your linux entry from the Vista bootloader. At the grub screen, choose the flavor of linux you installed. If grub complains that it cannot find the partition or boot from it, go back to the grub selection screen and press C.
Step 8a: This will open up a grub console, type:
find /boot/grub/stage1
It will probably return a different location (mine returned (hd2,3)). If that happens edit your grub entry by going back to the grub selection screen and pressing the E button.

That will allow you to edit the grub menu entry temporarily. Change the root entry to whatever grub returned earlier.

Now you should be able to boot into Linux!

Step 9: Finally, edit your GRUB menu listings by opening up a console and typing:
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
Find your linux entries and change them like you did in Step 8a so the changes will be permanent.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Awesome guide, SithToast, just great work :smile:

If you don't mind, I'm just adding some headers to the sections.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member