Triple boot with separate drives


I couldn't find any solution close enough to my situation...

OK, let's start from the beginning - I'm a linux noob so I was looking for some easy solutions for my problem. What I want is being able to triple boot Vista, XP and Ubuntu 7.04 from a single boot menu or if it is not possible, allow GRUB to boot Ubuntu and Vista bootloader in chain.

Problem is I have quite a mess here, so I'll have to describe it from the very begining.

First I had XP installed on a SATA drive and that was it. Then I decided to try out Vista - as I didn't want to screw my XP installation I got second SATA drive and installed Vista with XP drive plugged out. This way I had two windows installations on two separate drives and I was able to boot to each one by changing the drives boot order in BIOS.

When I decided that Vista isn't going to eat my brains out I thought it would be nice if I could have both systems booted from a single boot menu. I copied Vista bootmanager to XP drive and now boot both XP and Vista from Vista bootmanager but from XP drive (it's set as first in disk boot order in BIOS)

So I have both Vista and XP booted from XP drive via Vista bootmanager and it is working.

I had old IDE drive from my previous computer lying around so I decided I could use it for Linux. I plugged out both SATA drives, plugged IDE drive in and installed Ubuntu on it.

So now I have three operating systems: Vista, XP and Ubuntu, each on it's own drive and I want to find a way to boot to Ubuntu without having to change disc boot order in BIOS.

I tried to add linux boot entry to Vista bootloader with EasyBCD1.6 but no luck there and I'm not familiar with GRUB enough to fiddle with it.

I am also not really sure how my drives are seen by bootloaders and operating systems.

IDE is on primary master, both SATA drives are SATA1 and SATA2 masters. When I ran Ubuntu Live CD drives were signed as: hdc, sda, sdb. EasyBCD, when trying to add linux boot entry, sees IDE drive as hd0 but messes with SATA drives - both of them have three partitions but EasyBCD sees 5 partitions on first SATA drive and two partitions on second SATA drive. The boot order set in BIOS is SATA1, SATA2 and IDE in last position. XP disk management describes drives as: IDE as hd0, SATA1 as hd1 and SATA2 as hd2.

So it's different in every tool I use and I got completly confused with that...

Oh, each drive was partitioned during installation of each OS by the installer integrated partitioners.

Any ideas?
Well, better be safe than sorry :wink: I fubared my XP installations before and since I really need that for work, I didn't want to take any chances...

I read the documentation but since I have such a big mess done it isn't really helpful for me :frowning:

The main problem is the drive naming - I am never sure which drive is which, that's why I didn't install Ubuntu with other drives plugged in, I really didn't know where would GRUB loader go. I might stick with booting via changing BIOS disk boot order for now as I primarily use XP anyway and repair everything when I'll decide to make a clean installs of everything at some point.

But it would be nice if I was able to make that boot menu working :smile:
Hey Ixolite!

Jerry here, in Anchorage Alaska.

I have been beating my head against the floor with virtually exactly the same problem. The real only difference is that I'm using Simply Mepis 6.5.

I did the same thing as you cuz I, too, was afraid of losing everything from my trusted XP install. Everybody says that that won't happen. Yeah, right. Maybe if all goes exactly perfect, you won't lose anything; however, what if you get the sequence of keystrokes off by one? BYE BYE!! It can, and does happen.

The folks here have had me try everything, & I still have not been able to get it right. They have been very supportive; however, I'm still unsuccessful. I feel that they really tried to help me.

I even went so far as to buy a fourth drive (SATA). I then disconnected everything except the new drive and started with a fresh install of all three OSs on that one drive. I installed in the order of XP, Mepis, then Vista per instructions. I still cannot get it to work. (I will confess that my enthusiasm for this project is waning considerably as time progresses.)

Based on the small amount I have messed with Linux, I would liken it to fly fishing vs using a spinning rod. The fly fishing is a lot of fun; however, if you want fish for the freezer, you had better use the spinning rod (or a net).

Good luck in your quest. If you are successful, please post your method here.

Jerry, his problem isn't the same as yours. You have the blank GRUB screen, he just doesn't have GRUB installed to the right place.

The problem is that you guys over-complicate the situation. Keep it real simple.

Now lxolite, boot into a Live CD and install GRUB to the Linux partition.
It has all the details, use the "find" command (as it outlines in the documentation) to find EXACTLY the drive numbers to use. Once GRUB is installed, add it from EasyBCD.

Jerry, lxolite: these may help:
I kind of gave up for now. Problem is that I have Linux on separate drive, not seperate partition, it boots fine when it's disk is first in boot order.

I do have GRUB on Linux partition on Linux drive, I also did try to add it from EasyBCD - it just bumps me back to boot selection screen. I also tried NeoGRUB but that just hangs with "GRUB" and cursor flashing in upper left corner of the screen.
You don't have GRUB installed to the partition, you have it installed to the drive.

If it was installed to the partition, you wouldn't be able to boot into it by simply switching drive order.