3 OS'S

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3 OS'S

Post by rfwoodwork » Fri May 21, 2010 4:03 pm

I was wondering if you can install 3 OS's on a computer and be able to boot into each one. I started going to school for computer networking, and I would like to install windows 7, windows xp, and linux, the reason for linux is that I will have a class on linux. I was thinking that it would be alot easier to do homework if I could install linux. Any help would be appreciated. I was also wondering if the msfn forum is still open or did it get closed down, the reason is that I tried to log into the forum and got an error.

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Post by ChiefZeke » Fri May 21, 2010 5:07 pm

I have four OS's installed: XP Pro w/SP3, XP Pro x64 w/SP2, Win7 32-bit, and Win7 64-bit.

The usual procedure is to install the 'oldest' first so the 'newest' can create a boot menu. I went from XP Pro to XP Pro x64 then Win7 32-bit and finally Win7 64-bit.

Have no idea how to involve Linux in all of this but I have no doubts someone has an answer.

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Post by newsposter » Fri May 21, 2010 5:12 pm

virtual machines. have the machine boot natively into your primary OS and then fire up VMs as necessary to run your alternate/research/study operating systems.

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Post by crashfly » Fri May 21, 2010 6:43 pm

I would agree with newsposter on this one. Virtual machines would provide the "easiest" way to work with another operating system. The reason for the 'oldest' to 'newest' policy is that each OS has to make modifications to the boot process (be it a modified MBR {windows} or actual boot loading program {linux}). What happens if the MBR gets corrupted or overwritten? Well, that can lead to problems and troubleshooting hell. With a VM, you can always boot to one OS and then "try out" any others without modifying your system. It also makes it easy to revert if something does go wrong.

Anyway, my pseudo-rant is over now. I hope you see the advantages of a VM. Personally, you can make system OS either Windows 7 *or* linux. Both can run various virtualization programs well.

Myself <- Windows 7. :wink:
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Post by 5eraph » Fri May 21, 2010 6:47 pm

Well, I haven't dual booted Windows and Linux, but it is possible. I believe you can use either bootloader with Windows 7 (Windows or Linux, like GRUB).

A Linux bootloader will handle far more filesystems than Windows (GRUB status page), so I'd recommend using the Linux bootloader if you're keeping Linux. If you don't plan on keeping Linux around long then I'd recommend newsposter's and crashfly's suggestion of installing Linux as a guest in a virtual machine.

ChiefZeke's installation procedure is sound: Install your operating systems starting with the oldest and follow through to the newest. Each OS you install will replace the previously installed bootloader with its own, regardless of age or compatibility. If you want to use the Linux bootloader then install Linux last, otherwise install Windows 7 last.

MSFN is still up. I can log in just fine.

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Post by newsposter » Fri May 21, 2010 9:08 pm

dual (triple, quad, whatever) boots add complexity (and failure points) that in these days of mature and free virtual machine software, is wholly unnecessary.

It's all well and good that multiple boots and grub and mbr manipulation works and that some people are skilled at using them. But every time you touch that mbr (adding new OS, changing OS, removing OS) you are adding complexity and chancing that your hard drive could become unbootable.

No such chances or risks with virtual machines.

And lets not get into the challenges of managing multiple OS partitions and successfully recovering disk space that a multi-boot rookie will have to face.

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