Multi OS's On 1 HDD?

I have XP x64 and 64 bit openSUSE 11 living happy on my hard drive, but with the buffet of distros out, how many OS’s can fit on one HDD without problems?

I had about 30 gigs of free space leftover and thought I’d try to install Ubuntu Studio. It didn’t boot after installing. I’m not too surprised as I’m still wearing my foil covered newbie hat.

I would like to have a separate distro to run music composing software until I learn how to do it in openSUSE. Needless to say, XP saw my Edirol midi controller right away, but that’s no fun.

It shouldn’t be a problem


fdisk -l

Thanks to caf4926’s posted link in the ‘GRUB, dual boot and disk problem’ thread I found out how to get UbuntuStudio to load.

So now I’m guessing it’s just a matter of reconfiguring GRUB to load up tons of distros, if one should choose to do so. I’ll stick with these 3 for now.

Your situation is such that you must decide which grub to keep/use. As you are are adding Ubuntu after SUSE, you could use it’s grub, well at least that is what it’s installer will be inclined to do. But of course you don’t have to use Ubuntu’s grub. And if it were me I would much prefer to keep the SUSE one.

You can easily add a boot option for Ubuntu in your menu using Yast.

A point to remember too is regarding partitioning:
You can only have 4 Primary Partitions on a disk, so most of what you are planning will be in logical partitions within extended partitions:

Concepts - openSUSE

I do not really trust the linked article, since it does not use a boot partition. Setting up GRUB from MBR has never worked for me when /boot resides in a logical volume. Also, swap should never be in a logical volume; it contributes to fragmentation of the PEs and increases disk seek across the PV.

To answer the original question:

how many OS’s can fit on one HDD without problems?

I suggest only two physically resident, with one optimized to create virtual machines if you want say five, or six OS’s.

Question to caf4926:
Do logical volumes need to be on extended partitions, specifically? I’ve been using primary partitions and, often, seeing GRUB lose track of the volume location. “volume xxx could not be found”


Here is a proper guide.

Thanks for all the replies.
I went through partitioning he…double hockey sticks…so I’m going to leave well enough alone for now.

It’s nice to have openSUSE back. I’m still trying to figure out how wiping a 3rd hard drive would affect the MBR. Oh well, everything is back to normal with 2 OS’s and space for a 3rd OS later.

Ohhh, the pains of being a newbie. Not painful enough to make me go back to Windows. :open_mouth: