multiple OS Linux & Windows

May 5, 2010 at 08:32:35
Specs: Windows XP, Intel P4 1.6 GZ
I have a question regarding adding an external 2TB hdd to my existing Laptop.
I have 2 partitions on the 80 GB hdd both Win XP.
But now due to learning of Linux & Unix OS, I want to buy a 2 TB hdd & make 6 partitions & install Linux, Unix, Windows 2008 R2 server, Windows 7 & Windows XP?
Can I achieve this in the 2 TB hdd with along with existing 2 OS on laptop (total 8 OS's)???
Any help appreciated.

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May 5, 2010 at 08:42:48
It is certainly possible but the first thing to consider is can your laptop take a 2TB drive.

If you install all the Windows versions first in release order, then Unix and finally Linux. The Linux boot loader should pick up on the existence of the other Operating System and incorporate them into its own boot loader.

You should also bear in mind that without third party partitioning software, 4 partitions is the most ou can have on a hard disk. Howver, unlike Windows, Linux can be installed and boot from a logical drive within a secondary partition.


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May 5, 2010 at 12:39:14
I don't think you will have much success installing all those versions of Windows to an external hard drive. Plus, even if your laptop allows you to boot from an external USB hard drive you may have some issues with the boot loader.

StuartS evidently knows more about the boot loader with Linux but I am wondering if all partitions would be accessible under that scenario.

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May 5, 2010 at 12:42:00
Yes you can install almost any number of OS's.

There are many ways to do it and plenty of web pages dedicated to that.

I suggest that you do a full ntbackup with system state to some remote media before you attempt this.

I think I'd first look at using a virtual machine. Your laptop may be a bit too slow but see if it supports virtual machines. They are the most easy safe way to learn OS's.

People used to use partition/boot managers. Now most new OS;s can be used to dual boot. Either stick with MS's loader or you will have to learn at least a bit of grub. OS's like solaris need grub while others may be used with lilo or versions of syslinux.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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Related Solutions

May 5, 2010 at 15:24:40
Thank you for replying to my post, everyone, & Stuart.
I have created or tried to create 7 partitions using Parttion Magic & now I am wondering which boot loader is the best to use with my laptop (which has 2 Win XP OS already)?
If anyone can guide to run Linux boot loader on the 2TB external hdd, I would greatly appreciate it?

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May 5, 2010 at 15:52:01
The Linux boot loader is installed automatically when you install Linux. Depending on which version of Linux you are using you will get either Grub or Lilo or both with various configuration options.

That's why I said install Linux last. it will pick up the other OSs and configure itself to give you those options.


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May 5, 2010 at 16:42:00
when ever I go over 3 OSs, if unbuntu is in the mix, I always install that last. I have had better luck with ubuntu picking up all other OSs than any other linux distro. Mint does well also. also don't forget a linux swap partition. Post back if whatever distro you install last, picks up 7 other OSs, I like to hear that.


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