triple boot Vista/XP/linux


HI ppl,

I currently have a dual boot XP/Vista setup using the vista bootloader working fine and dandy, however I wish to add a linux distro into the equation.. either ubuntu or pclinuxos 2007...hopefully the latter..

My 500GB hard disk is currently split into 5 (healthy) primary partitions (as seen in the disk management window of vista)..

The first is 100GB NTFS which has vista
The second is 60GB NTFS for XP.
The third is 8GB linux swap
The fourth is 40GB for /
The fifth is the remaining 257 GB for /home

My first question is: Does everything look ok so far to go ahead and run the pclinuxos live cd and install on the relevent partitions?

My second question is: I think i have read that i should install the GRUB to the 40GB "/ " partition, and not the MBR, when i come to that part of the linux installation..

I guess I should add that i dont really care whether i keep grub or not..I would just like a simple clean system in place to be able to load all three OS's when required..

Many thanks for any help provided, and a thankyou-in-advance to Computer Guru!!:wink:
OK, there's a small problem: You can't have 5 primary partitions - the maximum is four primary partitions or three primary partitions + an extended partition which contains 0 or more logical partitions.
Other than what Guru pointed out you dont NEED swap. I have never used it and Linux runs fine. Also i haev / and /home on the same drive. That also works fine. Plus you dont need 257GB for /home. I have Ubuntu installed on a 140GB partition and i have less than 6GB used so far with about 30 apps installed. Including Wine, Compwiz fusion and others. So really you dont need that much space for Linux at all.

2nd i would really suggest Ubuntu over PCLOS. I have personally run PCLOS and while it is decent, it is harder to use than Ubuntu. The reason for this is because PCLOS doesnt have a specific Distro it falls into. It is RPM based but it doesnt allow for RPM installs. Which i never understood. It uses a old Fedora rpm package is what i found out.

I had several issues trying to jsut get Opera 9.50 Beta installed and operating. Even in the Opera Forums they couldnt provide a answer. There was several other things about PCLOS that just made it unusuable compared to Ubuntu. It is a decent distro but sadly it just really isnt worth it.
Thanks for the helpful replies..

Ok, I think I've been convinced to try ubuntu instead, but i would probably like to keep the recommended linux partitions , as they recommend, mainly because Im still a n00b, and i don't want to confuse myself at this stage by diverging too much from instructions.. :smile:

Perhaps i can shrink the "/home" partition to something more reasonable, and use the remaining space for a kind of partition for data that can be read/written to by both linux and there such a file system?

FAT32 only - but it's not recommended to use it... and I don't think the root (/) partition can be FAT32 for PCOS or Ubuntu, both of which require a Linux-based FS like reiserfs (our fav), ext3, xfs, jfs, zfs, etc.
Thanks for the helpful replies..

Ok, I think I've been convinced to try ubuntu instead, but i would probably like to keep the recommended linux partitions , as they recommend, mainly because Im still a n00b, and i don't want to confuse myself at this stage by diverging too much from instructions.. :smile:

Perhaps i can shrink the "/home" partition to something more reasonable, and use the remaining space for a kind of partition for data that can be read/written to by both linux and there such a file system?

Take it from me. I was a Linux n00b as well before i installed Ubuntu. Even Guru can vouch for that as i was here asking all sorts of questions in the Water Cooler...

Ubuntu Questions - The NeoSmart Forums
Ubuntu 7.10 Final - The NeoSmart Forums

Those 2 topics were very helpful to me learning. I know that the stuff you posted was recommended but then again Linux users are very techie and over protective of their stuff. They want only Linux on their machines. Having 3 partitions alone for Linux really isnt necessary. I ahve jsut my partition for Ubuntu.

The swap isnt needed if you have anything over 1GB of RAM. This i have heard from several Linux users. If you ahve over 2GB your even better off. While the swap can be useful it isnt fully necessary with the speed of today's machines.

You can shrink down the /home partition and use it for use on both. I have a storage drive that is NTFS that Ubuntu can use and Windows. Ubuntu can read and write to NTFS easily and use it. It is jsut Windows that cant see ext2 or reiserfs the Linux file systems.

You can also go the route of Guru and use FAT32 as well. It isnt as secure as NTFS but it works.

But my suggestion woul be to combine the 8GB and the 40GB partition and use that as you Linux Drive for Ubuntu. the 237GB use that for storage. Taht will give you 48GB of space for Ubuntu and a bunch of space for other things. Like media files and such.

With Ubuntu you have the Synatpic PAckage Manager which basically has almost every type of installer that you need. From web browsers to media viewers to music players. So there really isnt much that you have to download and save with Ubuntu. Which makes it the best distro to move to when trying out Linux from being a long time Windows user.:wink:

So i hope the info provided is useful. If you have any questions dont be afraid to ask.:grinning:
Thankyou so much for your very helpful advice.. I will repartition my /home partition to 250GB NTFS and store my files here...that way both OS can see them :smile:

So just to clarify, I will go ahead and install ubuntu and let the vista bootloader take over by installing grub to "/"..

I have already downloaded easybcd to help mewhen i get to this step..

Do you think this will lead me out of trouble?

Once again, many thanks for your time and help.
The best piece of advice i can say about the whole GRUB/Vista bootloader is this. Use the wiki:

Ubuntu - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

Guru has described the steps for adding Ubuntu tot he BCD easily. That is teh best option overall. It has been by far the best way for me to use the Windows/Ubuntu dual boot setup.

Glad to be of help and again, any time you wish for some advice or guidance. You are more than welcome to stop on by and ask us. We wont bite and we try to be as friendly as possible.
Oh my God!!
I dont know what just happened. I burnt the 7.10 Cd, checked it, booted from it and now...I cant see anything on my screen!!! Even after i reset my system I cant even get the mobo bios screen or anything!!! And yes i have removed the CD from the drive :frowning:

I just get 'no display'

My system is Gigabyte P35 DS3p
Intel quad core 6600
My monitor is a Viewsonic 20" LCD connected by DVi

Im really regretting getting into this..At this stage ill be happy if i can just get to my boot screen
Did you do anything with the DVD? Or just burn and boot?


Silly question: did you double-check all monitor and video card connections?
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i have no idea what just happened...but i unhooked everything from everything waited 5 minutes and plugged everything in again..and no its working... ive never felt so sick in my life lol...
sorry for hitting the panic button..


may i ask what you mean" did i do anything with the dvd? I burnt it to a cd and then booted from it..Even when i decided to check the burn from the cd, it did the same thing again... Is some part of my sytem not compatible with this distro?

Yes all connections are good..the same problem happened again
thankyou again for your time


I downloaded the distro for "64bit AMD and Intel computers" btw.. Im assuming this is correct?
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What I mean is, did you install Ubuntu? Or only burn?

The distro you DL'd should work just fine - the Q6600 is fully 64-bit compatible.
ummm... i downloaded the iso, then burnt the iso to a blank cd, then booted with the cd, then as i was staring at the ubuntu menu screen, deciding what to do, the screen disappeared and never came back..

its done this several times now..
There is a brief message about a kernel, but its too short a time for me to copy it..

Each time the only way to get my monitor working again is to unplug the dvi and power cable from the monitor, then plug it back in..


tried the option "load ubuntu in safe graphics mode"...i had the same problem..also tried pressing F4 to lower the resolution of the monitor..

i think if i leave begins to install..its just that i cant see anything...which is obviously not much good..


Install problem with 64-bit Feisty. - Ubuntu Forums... i think the answer is here... :smile:
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The only thing i can suggest is getting the regular distro. There is a slight advantage to using the 64 Bit but honestly with open source i think the regualr x86 version should be jsut fine.

The only other thing i can think of is when i went thru this. The screensaver kicked on. So try moving the mouse around and see if it did that.

Other than that i think it is something to do with that distro.
Well first of all i would like to say thankyou to Guru and makaveli for all the help given to me..

initially my setup was booting xp and vista using the windows boot manager reliably with no porblems..

then after my initial hiccups with ubuntu, i was able to install that relatively painlessly, using my pre-existing partitions as described..

However, unfortunately, i forgot to click the advanced button on step 7 of 7 of the ubuntu install, and therefore i didn't direct where grub was to be located..

Therefore i wasn't expecting much to work when i rebooted my system for the first time, however, surprisingly everything is working..

When i boot up, I'm taken to the grub menu, where i can choose from one of three ubuntu installs, then under other OS's i can choose "vista/longhorn"..

when i press enter on "vista/longhorn", i am then taken to the original windows boot manager menu where i can choose between vista and xp..

So i have rebooted umpteen times now, and everything is stable.. and now im wondering whether i should follow the rule "if it aint broke, dont fix it" or whether it is possible to get a neater looking bootup process by using easybcd to try and take over the whole process? i.e somehow restoring the original vista boot loader, then adding an ubuntu entry and disposing of grub altogether....

So that is my question folks... Is this possible and how difficult is it? As i mentioned everything is working which i am very very happy about...and appreciative of course:smile:

Well i will say congrats and glad it is working. Let me also say this. If you have EasyBCD take over the boot you will still see the GRUB menu. But with EasyBCD it will be 2 clicks to get to Ubuntu instead of Linux.

Basically what i am saying is this. You restore the BCD with EasyBCD or the Vista Disc. You Add a Linux Entry and then use the BCD to boot from. Except now you will get the BCD right away with 3 Entries:

1.) Vista
2.) XP
3.) Ubuntu

Now choosing 3 will give you teh GRUB menu where you get the choices you currently see. With Ubuntu and then at the bottom you will see Vista bootloader.

So really the choice is yours. Jsut follow the boot tips proivded in the Wiki:

Ubuntu - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

At the bottom after the install to add Linux to the BCD. That will give you Linux there. If not your current setup will be just fine. It is all personal preference at this point.
Actually, you don't need to press the "Advanced" button, that's a remnant from a previous version of the instructions.

Just continue on with "The Windows Side of Things" :smile: