Triple-boot 1- XP, 2 MacOSX - 3 Vista - Can I clean up the labourious bootup?



I'm having problems only with cleaning up a very long and complicate boot process.

Here's what I have

Partition 1: XP Pro
Partition 2: Mac OSX 10.5.5 via iDeneb v1.3
Partition 3: Mac Data HSF+ partition (empty, no system or OS)
Partition 4: Vista

1. Installed XP,
2. Installed Mac OSX and later created a second HFS+ partition for storage only.
XP Pro and Mac OSX dual booting accessed via Darwin/x86 Boot - works great.
3. Created a 4th partition (NTFS), marked it as the boot partition with GParted Live and finally installed Vista,
4. Installed EasyBCD, added entries for Mac OSX and XP Pro.

Upon first startup I get a long GLRDR bootup process that takes eventually me to the Vista Bootmanager.

From here I have 3 options.
1. Vista
2. Mac OSX
3. XP

1. = Vista works

2. = If I choose Mac OSX, I start the darwin process, which itself gives me 4 options for the 4 partitions. Automatically boots to Mac OSX after 5 secs.
XP will boot from this menua but the Vista partition is listed but won't - if I choose Vista here - begins the GLRDR thing again.

Can I simplify the entire process, get rid of the GRUB (I'm assuming this is the GLRDR) and do everything from the Vista boot manager?

I have had some extensive previous help from this forum with dual booting XP and Vista. Now Mac OSX makes it more complicated. I have searched the forums and found only one person who had a successful tri-boot with these OSes, that post wasn't very useful, unless iReboot is a solution.
Sucessful triple boot of Vista, XP and Leopard - thanks! - The NeoSmart Forums

I would be very grateful of some assistance.


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You're right about Mac OS X making things more complicated. I cannot begin to tell you how to modify Darwin so that it boots OS X straight away (if a configuration file is even known of outside the world of Apple). In this case I think order matters greatly. If you don't mind backing up your files and reinstalling, repartition the drive and Install OS X first so that it doesnt find anything else to add to Darwin and only takes care of booting itself. The best order for this is: OS X, XP, and than finally Vista so a repair isn't necessary and all you're left to do is add an entry in Vista's bootmgr using EasyBCD for OS X since Vista's installer should pick up on XP and add it automatically for you.
Thanks for the reply Justin. I don't mind redoing the whole thing, but my starting point was this post:
Triple Booting XP,Vista and OSX - InsanelyMac Forum

The author said after trial and error the order in which I installed was best.
He used EasyBCD but didn't specify any particular steps as to organising the boot manager.

I guess editing the GRUB boot is pretty specialised stuff. I'd like to keep it simple so I'll just do it as you recommend. Can you confirm from experience that the order you advise works best?



Can one use EasyBCD to override the other boot systems or perhaps "jump" them?
The GLRDR, GRUB4DOS thing is just plain ugly.
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I don't own a Mac, so I cannot say it is best, but that is the way I would (probably well) go when I get one since I have no pratical experience with troubleshooting issues in regard to Darwin. It is nicer to just have Darwin take care of OS X and have Vista's installer find XP and add it for you so all you haft to do is get a new entry setup for OS X (which for the most part is pretty easy to do using EasyBCD).

Is installing XP after OSX going to cause any boot issues? I'm unsure how Darwin and the windows boot manager are going to work together. I'm actually doing it right now so I guess I'll see soon enough.

I thought XP would corrupt Darwin. Finally installing Vista, I would only be able to access XP and Vista b/c Darwin would be corrupted. I take it that Vista is the active (boot) partition and the other 2 OSes should stem from the Vista boot manager.

In theory is it this simple?

XP won't add an entry for chainloading Darwin and ntldr isn't capable of booting OS X. If you get XP installed and it is booting, then everything is working so far (You'll need to install Vista next and hope EasyBCD can work its magic to create an entry that will chainload Darwin in order to load OS X).


In theory is it this simple?

It should be :wink:. You're starting to see how it'll work. Vista's bootmgr well in the end be responsible for either loading Vista or chainloading the appropriate bootloader for your other OSes. By doing this, you only get one menu like you wanted and the other loaders don't have any more than 1 entry so they boot the OSes straight away.
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I say hope because there are some cases here where EasyBCD hasn't helped Mac users. It isn't EasyBCD's fault, it is just the lack of information regarding Darwin that Apple is willing to release to the public.
That's understandable.

OK thus far OSX and XP. XP now boots directly without even stopping to take note of OSX.

Will install Vista later this evening and hopefully I'll have a positive update. I've 3 image backups of each respective OS "dying" to be brought back to life, excuse the pun.

Ok I've installed Vista but I'm still getting a GLRDR boot process that runs DOS looking funtions upon startup.
I know this isn't an EasyBCD issue, but where does the GRUB come from? It's not XP, possibly the iDeneb OSX86, and perhaps Vista.

Anyway I've found some more information:

and this:

There's another way that I found that lets you uninstall the GRUB loader.

1. download EasyBCD
2. install it
3. go to 'Manage Bootloader' tab
4. select 'reinstall the vista bootloader' (this may be different)
5. click on 'Write MBR'
6. go to 'Add/Remove entries' tab
7. select Linux tab
(should be)
type: grub
name: neosmart grub
drive: (select drive that says something like 'Linux native')
8. Add entry
9. repeat 7 & 8 but the drive should be 'linux swap'

I hope this helped because it worked on mine & now I don't have the GRUB loader

Taken from:

Hopefully I find a solution.

Grldr can be a pain in the *ss for some people, not going away entirely from the mbr even after it has supposely been overwritten. Either do the EasyBCD solution since you're already in Vista or boot from a Vista DVD and use startup repair. If its still there, download yourself a copy of MBRWizard, wipe the mbr clean, and than use EasyBCD or startup repair.
Ok I managed to get rid of GLRDR finally. I had to reinstall Vista as I was having some issues.:angry: Now I just need to work out the Darwin bootloader as it won't boot into Mac OSX by default.

On the Vista bootloader if I select Mac OSX and do nothing else it will run in an eternal cycle.
After selecting Mac OSX in Vista, I have to select it again in Darwin. I'll do some research to see if it is a matter of editing the boot.plist, but if I find no easy answers I may repost here.

Many thanks


Could Justin or anyone else please confirm that booting via Darwin to a non-active partition is still not possible?
If I want to have a streamlined triple boot, must I forego EasyBCD and rely on Darwin? This method sounds complicated as I'd have to get Darwin to recognise the XP and Vista installs for boot up which it currently doesn't.


As I already installed OSX first as per Justin's advice, I'm not sure what else I can do.
Mac OS X doesn't start without keypress - The NeoSmart Forums

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Darwin doesn't haft to be on the active partition and NeoGrub should automatically install itself with the correct configuration to chainload Darwin. Darwin shouldn't have any other entries than itself, That is why I suggested installing it first. But if thats the way it can be done to fix it let us know :smile:
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Ok I'm going to start this again as it was just not working.

So I'm going to start by reinstalling Mac OSX on Partition 1.
XP on Partition 2, and Vista on Partition 3.

Is there anything I need to do after I've installed OSX?

Justin, you said Darwin might work best if first in the line, is it usual for Darwin to pick up the other OSes that are installed after, or should it not "detect" them?


In the tutorials i've seen on the topic Darwin picked up Windows if Windows was installed first, not the other way around. If thats true though, you could always install OS X, than Vista, and than XP (If Darwin has a startup-repair like feature like that of what can be done from Vista's DVD). Since XP isn't famillar with Vista, it won't add an entry to it in ntldr. In this order after the installation of XP, it'll boot XP straight away. Repair Darwin. All done. I'd actually repair Darwin after the install of Vista as well (not just after XP) in order to verify Darwin has picked up on Vista and added it to its boot menu.
I finally made some progress.

Across 4 paritions I now have:

2) XP Pro
3) XP Pro
4) Vista Ultimate

The Vista Bootloader allows me to choose from 3 OSes

2) XP Pro
3) Vista Ultimate

Choosing XP Pro gives a subchoice of the two XP Pro Oses.

Everything is working well and thanks are again due to EasyBCD and the very much appreciated help from Justin.
You're quite welcome. Dispite my expertise with Macs I'm glad I was able to help you.

If you want to get both XP's working without dealing with a second boot menu, put, ntldr, and boot.ini on both partitions while leaving a copy of on Vista's partition. Modify the boot.inis on each XP partition so that they only boot one install of XP and don't give you a second menu as a result. Than you can go into EasyBCD and add two new XP entries, but the trick here is pointing to right partition for each install of XP. However Vista sees the XP's partitions should be correct.