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Setting up for Multiple O/S


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#1
Mychael

Mychael

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Whilst I've built up a lot of PC's over the years and successfully formatted a HDD to have multiple Linux O/S on it I've never tried to do it with multiple O/S of different types. So need some advice (basically a walk-through)on how to achieve it.

I'll be starting with a new HDD probably around the size of 100/250 gig. I wish to load onto it XP Pro 32 bit / WIN 7 Ultimate 64bit / Linux Mint 9.

I want it so that when I boot it gives me the option of which O/S I want to load. I intend to only keep the O/S's on this drive and whatever they need to function (swap file, etc) but everything else (data, programs, etc) will be on another drive entirely.

So the questions that I can think of are: Assuming it can be done at all.

1/ In what way should I format/partition the HDD.
2/ In what order should I install the respective O/S's
3/ How much should I allocate for swap file and anything else that must be on the same HDD as the O/S's
4/ Will all of the O/S's equally be able to access the data on the 2nd drive. I realize not all will be able to access and run the same programs though I guess a lot of XP/7 should be cross compatible.

I know most about XP (which I currently use)
Least about WIN 7 (which I want to install)
A bit about Mint 9 (don't know all the bash commands but can follow directions)

Intend to use WIN 7 most as I get familiar with it.
Moderate use of XP for some of my older programs and as a fall back if I run into strife with 7.
Mint the least.

Hope someone can help.
Thanks.
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#2
Mychael

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Anyone??
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#3
silverbeard

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1/ In what way should I format/partition the HDD.
2/ In what order should I install the respective O/S's
3/ How much should I allocate for swap file and anything else that must be on the same HDD as the O/S's
4/ Will all of the O/S's equally be able to access the data on the 2nd drive. I realize not all will be able to access and run the same programs though I guess a lot of XP/7 should be cross compatible.


You can have three primary partitions. I would use the first partition large enough for WinXP (15-20 Gig depending on how much you intend to use it). The second partition make a small Swap partition for Linux (1-3 Gigs should be enough unless you have a lot of RAM then you can probably do without a Swap Partition, not recommended). The third partition for Win7 will need a lot of space. Like Vista Win7 takes up 15-20 Gigs just for the OS. I would want at lest 40 gigs. Leave the rest of the drive unpartitioned. I've found XP to not like file systems it doesn't use natively and refuse to install on a partition that is NTFS.

Install XP first to it's partition. If the Swap partition gives you problems (not a Windows file system you can delete it and leave the space unpartitioned until you install Linux). Once Xp is installed it will reside happily with the rest of your system.

Next install Win7 to it's partition. It's boot loader should pickup the XP partition and allow you to boot either one.

Now you have your Windows set up you can install Linux. I would recommend using gParted or Parted Magic to set up the rest of the drive. The important thing is to set the remaining space on the drive as a Logical Partition. This will allow you to set up a number of partitions in the Logical part of your drive. Linux will run happily from a Logical partition.

You can run Linux from a single partition for each distro but the standard has been to set up a /root partition and a /home partition. Most distros will take less than 5 gigs of space for /root so I generally set up a 10 gig partition for /root then create a /home partition large enough for what I need to store and use on the system.

Yes a second drive will be usable from your OSes. If you need to can install IFS Diver for Linux access for your Windows. It doesn't say it will work with Win7 but it works with XP and Vista.
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