[had accidentally posted this on the regular mint forums]
Hi all, this is my first post here. I figured I'd give a lending hand to others who may have come across the same issues I have.
I've done quite a bit of searching and haven't found a specific guide to get this done so after countless hours of googling for solutions, I finally was able to come up with a method that allowed a working triple-boot setup with the mentioned OSes. This is what worked for me - it might not necessarily work for you.
*** I am not responsible if you break your current setup so please proceed at your own risk! This is why I recommend you make BACK UPS! ***
*** Considering I am by no means a Linux expert, I am unsure if my installation procedure is void of any steps that could screw anything up on my/your machine. Again. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. ***
These instructions were pieced together from multiple guides until I found what worked for my particular situation. Please see at the end of the post for references and credit.
I am running a Macbook Pro (mid 2010) with OSX 10.8.3.
You will need:
1. GPT fdisk: http://sourceforge.net/projects/gptfdisk/
2. rEFInd: http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/
3. Install CD for Windows 7
4. Live CD of LMDE (I used the 64-bit version)
5. PATIENCE. Figuring this out literally took me an entire day. I was up until 8am from the previous day, passed out, woke up and kept at it for another couple of hours till I got it to work.
1. Download and install GPT fdisk.
2. Download rEFInd.
3. Make a backup of your mbr. Go to terminal and type "sudo disk /dev/disk0". Press and enter "b" and type the filename of your backup. (It saves in your home folder.) Finish by entering "q".
4. Install rEFInd MANUALLY. Refer to the documentation on the website.
5. Partition your disk with Disk Utility (OSX). ONLY make a partition for your Windows installation first. Explanation below, otherwise skip to next step.
If I made multiple partitions for Windows, Linux and the swap partition, I was unable to format the windows partition as NTFS. The option was greyed out from the Windows install disk.
6. Install Windows 7. Choose your windows partition, format it and proceed with installation. Windows will reboot several times during the process so make sure when it goes back to rEFInd to select Windows so it continues the installation.
NOTE: If you installed Windows via Bootcamp after installing rEFInd, you will have to boot into OSX and uninstall rEFInd ("sudo rm -r /EFI/refind" or wherever it is if it's different…), then reinstall it (again, manually) so rEFInd shows up again after rebooting your machine. I'm sure there's another way of setting boot loader priorities but I did it this way just to be safe.
7. Once Windows is installed, reboot into Windows and install the Bootcamp drivers. Reboot, check to see if everything is working.
8. Reboot into OSX and create your Linux partition with whatever format you want. I chose FAT. I didn't make a swap partition, I made it with GParted with the Live CD.
9. Boot with your LMDE Live CD. As soon as it begins to boot, press tab twice. Add "nomodeset" before the two hyphens (--) at the end. Press enter to boot.
10. Once you've booted, open GParted. Look for your Linux partition, right click it and delete it. Right click it again and click on "New". Where it says something like "space after…" this will be the space for your linux-swap. I chose 2048MiB. Name it LINUX and format it to "ext4".
11. Right-click on the remaining space (the 2GB you left) and click "New". Name it to linux-swap and format it as linux-swap.
12. Click apply on GParted. Wait until its finished.
AT THIS POINT, do NOT install LMDE!!!
13. Reboot back into OSX. For reference, follow the instructions from this link from where it says "At the moment, you now have a screwed up mbr table…" (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1908210)
Open terminal and type "sudo gdisk /dev/disk0". Enter "r". Enter "p".
Enter "h". Now choose the order as OSX, Windows, Linux. For example. I had OSX on number 2, Windows on number 5 and Linux on number 4. So type "2 5 4" and enter.
It will ask you to place efi partition first. Enter "y".
Now it asks for the mbr hex code for each partition. (Type "n" when it asks for bootable flags!) Type "AF" for OSX, "07" for Windows and "83" for Linux.
If you made a mistake, type "q" to quit without making changes. Otherwise, type "w". Confirm and it should say something like "completed successfully" or similar.
To restore your mgr backup, type "sudo disk /dev/disk0", type "r" and type "l" (that's an L not a 1), then type your backup name.
14. Boot from your Live CD again. Click on the installer. When choosing what drive to install on, double click on your linux partition (it was sda4 for me). Change the mount point to "/" and format as ext4. Click forward. When you get to the page where it says install grub, select your linux partition!!! ( /dev/sda4 for me).
NOTE: This is the part that was causing trouble for me. I would install grub on /dev/sda and when I would return to rEFInd, the Windows option would boot LMDE and the Linux option would boot nothing, telling me there is no OS.
15. Let the installation finish. Now you should be able to boot into Windows to check if it's working.
16. Reboot and choose your Linux partition.
NOTE: I have three Linux options in rEFInd. Two options for vmlinuz and a third option. I never touched the first two options and just used the third one. Worked for me. If anyone cares to explain to me why those extra options are there, or how to remove their display to prevent any accidents in the future, please let me know.
19. When Linux begins to boot, press "e". Find where it says "ro quiet" and enter "nomodeset" after it. Press F10 to boot.
20. Wifi worked for me right off the bat. Connect to Wifi and open Terminal. Enter "apt-get update".
21. Now to get your nvidia drivers working. Open Synaptic Package Manager and search for nvidia. Choose nvidia-settings (it will choose other packages. Let it) and nvidia-xconfig. Apply the marked packages. Wait for it to install.
NOTE: I got a warning mentioning conflicts between the nouveau kernel modules and the nvidia drivers. Don't worry, read ahead.
22. Once the nvidia drivers are finished, open terminal. Enter "exec nvidia-xconfig". If the terminal window doesn't close you need to enter it twice.
NOTE: Don't reboot normally yet! If you reboot into LMDE normally after doing this, you might notice that the resolution is even smaller and you can't even see your menu below! Read ahead to fix this.
23. Reboot into LMDE but this time choose to boot with the recovery option. Enter your password and type "exec nvidia-xconfig". It should reboot automatically.
And that should be it!
Again, I'm not very knowledgeable with Linux. The reason I wanted to do this is because I want to start learning how to use Linux and I prefer LMDE over Ubuntu for the moment. I hope this saves other people a lot of frustration.
How-to triple boot Lion, W7, Ubuntu on macbook pro
How-to dual boot OSX and LMDE on macbook
Install/Uninstall rEFInd manually