triple-boot questions


I’ve got a desktop computer which currently has only Ubuntu 64 bit installed. I want to also install Vista and Suse, sharing the /home directory (which is on a separate disk) between Suse and Ubuntu, mainly so I can use the same mail client in each. I think the best way to do this is:

  • format a new primary partition as ntfs on the first hard drive
  • install Vista onto this partition
  • install Suse onto a remaining primary partition on the same drive
  • make sure that there is a mount point for the existing partition on another drive as /home for Suse.

I’ve had a look at other multi-boot threads, but can’t find any that cover this exact situation. I’m also aware that a possible answer to the questions I’ll ask is “I wouldn’t have started here…” but I’m reluctant to reinstall Ubuntu as I’ve got it looking nice and pretty and working well!

The questions I have are:

  • will Vista automatically install itself onto the ntfs partition, or is there anything else I need to do to ensure this?
  • what precautions do I need to take (apart from backing everything up) to make sure Suse only mounts existing partition as /home and doesn’t format, erase or otherwise blitz it?
  • will the Suse bootloader automatically pick up Vista and Ubuntu, or does it need to be pointed in the right direction or edited?
  • any other tips/hints?



In the past few years my max was a 7ple-boot. I’d suggest:

  • First, in Ubuntu, I would label the /home partition “HOME”. Filesystems like ext can do this. This way you will able to recognize the partition in openSUSE. Create empty space for Vista (why o why), leave the formatting to Vista
  • Then do as you described, Vista will probably overwrite the bootloader code, making Ubuntu tempoararily unavailable,
  • After installing Vista, install openSUSE. In the partionioner you make sure that the partition labeled HOME is mounted /home and is NOT marked for formatting.:wink: GRUB should create entries for openSUSE, idem Failsafe, Vista and Ubuntu.
    This way, Ubuntu and openSUSE will use the same /home

After reading this, I can make it a bit more exact:
HDD-0, partition 0: Ubuntu and openSUSE swap
HDD-0, partition 1: Ubuntu
HDD-0, partition 2: Vista
HDD-0, partition 3: openSUSE

HDD-1, partition 1: /home

Depending on your system you could also move the swap to the second disk. Hope this helps you

Thanks, that’s just the info I needed!

Re “why o why”, the only reasons are compatibility with other Vista users for some things (mainly work related). Linux has come on so much over the last few years, and I prefer it in so many ways, but unfortunately Office 2007 => OpenOffice => Office 2007 still doesn’t quite work reliably every time - but that’s a topic for another thread…!

Thanks again - much appreciated.


Just thought I’d let you know how it went (and some issues)…

Issue 1: Vista wouldn’t install as it couldn’t find an appropriate partition. This is, apparently a bug that occurs when you have more than one hard drive with exactly the same capacity (!). The solution was to take the power cables out of two of my three hard drives, then install as normal

Issue 2: Suse didn’t seem to like the sound chip on my card (Asus P6T Deluxe), throwing up errors when Suse launched. After a few updates and randomly trying things in the audio howto, this seems to be working now.

Issue 3: Ubuntu wouldn’t launch once Suse had been installed. The easiest solution here (for me) was to delete all the non-Suse entries in Yast, then reinstall grub to get me into Ubuntu. I then added a couple of “chainloader” entries for both Vista and Suse. Now all works fine!

Hope this is helpful to someone else…