Triple boot step by step

Hey there,
got a question about triple boot or lets say multi boot

I have a dual boot system with 2 HDDs ( Vista 32Bit and OpenSuse 11.0 32-Bit ). I have tried to install a third OS a half year ago but all got was a destroyed MBR ( which I could successfully repair ). As a matter of fact ( or you can say as a matter of grafics ) virtualisation is no solution, because of the lack of Grafik-Performance.

Now I get a new PC with only one HDD so maybe someone knows the way to install a triple boot system from zero including the important steps using only the opensuse 11.2 onDVD-Software.

I only found manuals for double unix with windows or unix|mac|windows or using third party software.

What I want to install:
Vista - XP - OpenSuse 11.2 with openSuse standart onDVD-Software. Someone knows how to or where I can find a howTo?

Thanks for now, Chris

Do you know how to partition?

Also, would you please tell us what OSs you’re wanting to install. That’s to know what order to set things up.:wink:

This will be of help View Partitioning Slideshow and Video - openSUSE Forums

But install your windows systems first.
installing with a live cd might be handy as you can communicate with the forums during your installation in case you have any questions or even use konversation
which is a live chat program for installation help

Sorry, I forgot to tell:
What I want to install is OpenSuse 11.2, Vista an XP for some older Games and Software

My experience in partition is limited to create a swap and root partiontion during unix-installation :slight_smile:

I created my first dual boot installation with the unix-installation-option to shrink the current (windows) installation.
My second current dual boot was with to HDDs one OS each.

Need your hard drive specs.

Also which operating system or systems are currently installed on your computer?

did you try to run those games in compatiblity mode in vista? To do this,

 go the the .exe file
right click,
select properties,
then go to compatibility,
run this program in compatiblility for...(XP, 2000, 98/me, 95) 

It should be possible though a little difficult i think with both xp and vista.

The HDD will be a Western Digital WD10EARS 1TB 74k rpm 64MB chache,
and this will be a complete new installation, so there are currently no operating system(s) installed

Thanks for that idea, but i’ve already tried that :wink:

My main problem is, that i don’t know how i can install two windows version without getting the mbr overwritten.
If i install Vista first and XP after that, no windows will boot, so i have to start a windows repair installation.

It is possible. Go to a windows forum about dual booting XP and vista. I think XP has to be installed before vista. After that is done, install openSUSE. The grub installer will see and set you up to triple boot.

I have a system very much like that. What you need to do is first install XP. Only use about a third of the hard drive(~333 GB). Then install Vista on a separate partition using about the same amount of hard drive space. Next start installing openSUSE. I would recommend using the advanced partitioning in the YAST 2 installer. What you want to do is create an extended partition using up all of the remaining space. Now (it should put the partitions inside of the extended one) create a 2 GB swap partition and a / partition formatted with ext4. Now continue through the installation. When you reach the summary check if there are two Windows entries. If not, then after you finish installing add this:
title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

title Windows Vista
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

to the end of your menu.lst (make sure to keep the carriage return on the end) and delete any other windows entries. To open it do gksu gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst (Gnome) or kdesu kedit /boot/grub/menu.lst (KDE) in a terminal. If there were the two Windows entries then you are fine. Windows 1 will be XP and windows 2 will be Vista.
Hope this works for you:).

Oops change kedit to kwrite.

I would only use half of that hard drive, if that for operating systems.

The other half I would use for storage.

100 GB partitions would be fine for each operating system, then store all your docs, pics, music, etc… on the storage part of the drive.

I would partition like this:

XP = 100 GB

Vista = 100 GB

Extended = 200 GB (Install openSUSE inside here, using 50 - 75 GB for install)

Storage = Remaining space, formatted as NTFS (your storage partition will be accessible from XP, Vista, and openSUSE.

You should also install service packs 1, 2, and 3 in XP and service packs 1 and 2 in Vista before installing openSUSE.

Don’t forget, when you partition every GB equals 1000 MB.

When multi-booting it’s always XP first, then Vista, then Linux. If you do it in that order your multi-boot will be automatically and correctly created.

If there is something you don’t understand just tell us what part and we can break it down more.

Thanks for now guys, I’ll give it a try when my new pc case arrives ( might take some days ).
I’ll post if it worked and a little howto here.
Thanks a lot for your help

Finally I got my new case ( Antec Titan 650, took some time due to delivery problems )

I now decided to change the second OS (originally Vista) to be Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit,
but this should work with Vista, too.

Now I will explain how I installed my triple boot system ( XP,Win7,OpenSuse 11.2):

  1. Create during installation a parting with a size of e.g. 100GB ( depends on your HDD an own preferences )
    Install Windows XP and drivers as normal into that partition. If you want SATA support, you
    have to install drivers with a bootable disk or rebuild your XP-CD with SATA-drivers using nlite.

  2. Install Windows 7 into another e.g. 100GB partition with drivers and so on. It should find Windows XP
    giving you the option to start your ‘older Windows OS’ each boot.

  3. Now install OpenSuse:
    Create an ‘extended’ partition, because you can only have max. 4 primary partitions.
    Next create a ‘swap’ partition, mine is 4GB but 2GB might be enough, depends on you.
    Create now a normal primary partition (Reiser, Ext4, whatever you prefer) e.g. 100GB,
    this will contain your OpenSuse.
    Check your boot configuration, it should now contain 2 Windows partitions.
    Install as usual.
    After installation try to boot every Windows entry. One of them might be unnecessary, since Windows 7
    will handle the boot of XP on it’s own. You can delete this entry, but be careful to delete the right one

  4. I created a storage partition using the rest of my HDD:
    Use a partitioner e.g. the one from Win7 located at ‘system controls’ -> ‘management’ -> ‘storagemanagement’
    to create a primary partion with NTFS
    Each OS will recognize it.
    Under OpenSuse I had to mount it manually, creating an additional entry in the /etc/fstab ( using ‘vi’ or
    whatever you prefer )

    /dev/sda4 /vault ntfs-3g users,gid=users,fmask=002,dmask=002,locale=de_DE.UTF-8 0 0

    The device /dev/sda4 depenst on your configuration, /vault is the folder where in which the partition is mounted.
    Also you might adjust the entries for gid,fmask and dmask, but remember to invert the usual ‘chmod’ numbers
    ( e.g. instead of 775 use 002 )

That’s it!
Some problems I haven’t solved for now:

  • Copying or extracting files with Linux to the storage partition causes ‘utime failed’ and other notifications
    ( files are still copied / extracted )
  • First 30-60 minutes after boot Linux seems to do something in the background, causing your system to pause in some windows
    especially Firefox, but this seems independant from triple boot.

I hope this helps anyone. If I forgot something, don’t be to shy to post here or correct me if I there is something wrong.

Special thanks to:
and all others who helped me out in this thread.

Try this for your /etc/fstab entry:

/dev/sda4 /vault  ntfs-3g defaults 0 0

Maybe it will solve your file copying issue.

I’m just curious. How many Windows 7 primary partitions did you get at the end? One or two? (I’m not talking about your XP partition.)

Thanks again to markcynt!

Changing the fstab-entry solves the utime error, but set file mode to root:root@777 but this is ok for me.

I have two Win7 primary partitions at the moment. One of them is an 100MB partition which was automatically created during installation. Curiously when I installed Win7 for the first time this wasn’t the case.

These are my recent partitions:

100GB WinXP (primary)
100MB Win7 (primary)
100GB Win7 (primary)
Extended Partiton

  • 4GB swap (primary?)
  • 100GB OpenSuse 11.2(primary)
  • ~650GB Storage (primary)