[Solved] Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

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cwwgateway
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[Solved] Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by cwwgateway »

Hi
I have a Windows Vista machine, and I would like to run Linux Mint on it, as well as windows vista, apart from what I have already done with Mint4win. I would like to have the main release as well as the LMDE XFCE release, as I would like to try XFCE. I know about partitioning, but I am not too familiar with GRUB and how to configure it for triple boot. I don't know if I should just skip LMDE for now until I get an external hard drive and install it on that so I don't break my system. I don't know how to install onto an external hard drive either so if you think that that's what I should do, it would be helpful to explain how. As far as I have looked, there haven't been any questions quite like mine, but there probably are. Sorry for posting the same question if that is true. Thank you.
Last edited by cwwgateway on Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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xenopeek
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by xenopeek »

IIRC mint4win puts a big file on your Windows partition, and adds the GRUB bootmanager to the MBR so you can choose which OS to boot. If you are serious about Linux, I'd suggest you uninstall mint4win. As GRUB bootmanager remains in the MBR, but the configuration files are now removed (from the uninstall of mint4win), you can not boot until you install a new bootmanager. Next step will fix that. Alternatively, you can keep mint4win but it might give you a headache thinking of which OS is where :wink: (In that case, take a copy of /boot/grub/grub.cfg, which perhaps you may need to manually add the mint4win to GRUB later.)

Anyway, whether you keep mint4win or not, the next step is the same. Install the next Linux Mint version, the one you intend to keep as your main installation. This will install GRUB again to the MBR.

After that, proceed to install the next Linux Mint version, the one you want to try but probably won't keep as main installation. From what I understand that would be LMDE XFCE for you. Make sure to select manual partitioning when you come to the allocate drive space step, and make sure to select to install GRUB not to /dev/sda (the MBR) but to /dev/sdaX (where X is the number of the partition where /boot resides for this installation). That way LMDE XFCE doesn't hijack the GRUB from your other Linux Mint installation.

After this, boot into your first Linux Mint version, and run "sudo update-grub2". This should detect the other operating systems you have installed, and add them to the menu. Alternatively, you may want to fine-tune this and use the Boot Repair utility (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot- ... _in_Ubuntu).

You can repeat the above step to add other Linux distros. Just make sure to install their bootmanagers to their own partitions, and not to /dev/sda MBR.

As for partitioning, I'd suggest you keep Windows Vista on its own primary partition (if you must :wink:), have a primary partition for swap (which you can share across all your Linux installations!), perhaps have a primary data partition that you share across the Linux installations for your personal files, and have the last partition be extended and in that create the logical partitions for the various Linux distro installations.
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cwwgateway
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by cwwgateway »

Thanks for the reply!
I'm not sure if this is important but mint4win adds a large .disk file and actually uses the windows vista bootloader sort of - if you select Linux Mint it then goes into grub. When you uninstall mint4win grub gets uninstalled too. Can I upgrade the Lisa rc to the stable release if I install it now?

Unfortunately, I need vista for a few things :( , such as MS Publisher, which I haven't found a replacement for yet.

Is there any special setup for 1 swap partition for all linux partitions?

Also, in an article that I found about triple booting, it talked about using the windows boot loader, instead of grub can I do this and, if I can, should I?

Finally, what tool do you recommend for partitioning? Can I use the tool on the install dvd to create an extended partition and install onto one logical partition or do I have to use a seperate tool?

Thanks Again :) !
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by keet »

As a replacement for Publisher, have you tried Scribus? Which version of Publisher are you using? Maybe you could install it in Wine.

The partition editor on the Mint disc would probably work, as would gparted, or fdisk, for that matter.

GRUB 2 automatically scans your disc for operating systems, but you could add them manually; it's usually just five or six lines per operating system. What is your partition setup like?
cwwgateway
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by cwwgateway »

I haven't tried scribus, however there are other reasons that I have for keeping Windows. If nothing else, it can run itunes and there is no real reason to get rid of it. FYI I use publisher 2007.

I have decided to install mint 12 when the stable release comes out.

Right now, I have a 530 GB Windows primary partition, which has a mint4win installation of Mint 12 rc, and a 50 GB partition for documents. The windows partition is much bigger because I don't have too many large documents and have no need for a larger document partition at the moment, because a lot of my documents are on my windows partition. Also, as I have been playing around with linux recently, I haven't got around to deleting my documents on the vista partition and moving them all to my documents partition.

Here was the setup that I was thinking of:
Windows Vista partition: 150 GB - I don't want to go to much smaller as I don't like to run out of room and I have a 640 GB hard drive, so I have enough room to have this large partition. Also, if I go to the disk management tool, it only lets me shrink it about 90 GB so- I have to figure out why.
A primary ntfs documents partitition - 200 GB
An extended partition - 200 GB - 125 GB logical partition to Mint 12 and a 75GB partition to LMDE XFCE
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xenopeek
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by xenopeek »

cwwgateway wrote:Can I upgrade the Lisa rc to the stable release if I install it now?
Yup. You automatically get all the updates, so your versions matches the final Lisa release. Though if there were any bugs in the installation process, those won't be solved by package updates. So good to follow the topics on Lisa bugs.
cwwgateway wrote:Is there any special setup for 1 swap partition for all linux partitions?
Yes, you have to select to manual partition (often called "something else" in the "allocate drive space" step of the installer). With manual installation you can point to the existing swap file, and say "use this one also for my swap" (just by saying you want to use the existing swap partition also for swap on this distro install). So for your first Linux install to actual partitions, this is not needed. You need only do the manual partition for the distros afterwards.
cwwgateway wrote:Also, in an article that I found about triple booting, it talked about using the windows boot loader, instead of grub can I do this and, if I can, should I?
You can perhaps, I don't know. I'm happy with GRUB, but then I only boot Linux and BSD distros, so using the Windows bootloader doesn't make sense for me :wink:
cwwgateway wrote:Finally, what tool do you recommend for partitioning? Can I use the tool on the install dvd to create an extended partition and install onto one logical partition or do I have to use a seperate tool?
You can use GParted, the GUI tool for partitioning, you can use the command line tool parted, or you can use GParted automatically by selecting to do the manual partitioning during installation. There are other tools for sure, but I think once you get the hang of it GParted is fine.
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cwwgateway
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by cwwgateway »

Ok, thanks!

I will install Lisa and LMDE once the Lisa stable release comes out, and I will probably use grub because the main reason (apparently) for using the windows boot loader is that grub can break after a service pack update and I don't think that there will be another one for windows vista.
Just as a note, I tried to use the vista disk management tool to decrease the size of my windows partition and it froze (surprise, surprise :wink: ) so I will have to use GParted.

Just a final question, can LMDE mess up the rest of the computer if for some reason it breaks?
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by xenopeek »

cwwgateway wrote:Just a final question, can LMDE mess up the rest of the computer if for some reason it breaks?
Well, generally speaking LMDE can bork but it won't break other installed operating systems. LMDE might fail to boot due to updates or something you did (*ahum*, same risk on Lisa for that :wink:) but GRUB will remain working to boot other distros.

Assuming you will install Lisa first, again the reminder to install LMDE afterwards and make sure to manually partition so you get to choose where LMDE will install its GRUB. It should install it to its own root partition (/dev/sdaX, where X is the number of the root partition). This way Lisa keeps the GRUB configuration, else it would move to LMDE.
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Re: Triple Boot Windows Vista, Linux Mint 12, and LMDE

Post by cwwgateway »

OK, thanks again!
I've marked this thread as solved.
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