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Running Windows (or anything else) on your Mac Discussion of Classic or running Windows, Linux and other OSes on the Mac.

dual boot in MacBook(four partitions)


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Andromeda

 
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Hi,
I want to install win 7 in my MacBook. Boot camp only works for two partitions( one for SL one for win7). But I really want four partitions, one for SL, one for win7 and the other two for data. I try several approaches in the internet but none work. I keep receiving the error "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style". Some people suggest to install window 7 from an external DVD drive, I tried but it does not help. Any way to do that? Thanks.
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chscag

 
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You can install Windows 7 without using Boot Camp but it requires a lot more work. And since you wish to have four partitions on your hard drive, you can't use the Boot Camp assistant. What you'll have to do is create the partitions with Disk Utility.

But here's an easier way: Use the Boot Camp assistant to create one partition for Windows 7 and go ahead and install Windows 7 to it. Install all your drivers from the SL DVD and get Windows 7 running OK. After Win 7 is setup and OK, reboot the machine with your Snow Leopard DVD.

After it boots from the DVD, exit out of the install process. Click on the top menu item "Utilities", "Disk Utility". Highlight your hard drive on the left side (top entry). Click on "Partition" on the right side.

From here you can create two additional partitions. Just be careful and take notice of where your Boot Camp partition is and most importantly, your MacIntosh HD partition. Don't touch the BC partition at all but instead, create the two new partitions from your MacIntosh HD. After you create each partition, you'll need to format them and give them a name.

After all that's done, press apply and then OK your way out. Reboot and you should have four partitions.

Before doing all of the above, make absolute sure you have two backups of your hard drive: 1. A complete clone using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner and 2. A good Time Machine backup.

Good luck and let us know.
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Andromeda

 
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Is there any difference between running disk utility of OS and running disk utility of the installation DVD ? I did try similar approach like yours the only difference is that the two new partitions were created from the disk utility of OS not the disk utility of the installation DVD. I received a warnning that boot camp might not run and then it hanged........
What happen if I installed windows 7 first and then SL? Anybody has tried that?
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chscag

 
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You shouldn't be running Disk Utility and doing partitioning while the disk is mounted. If you've already created the extra partitions, you won't be able to use Boot Camp. With the method I gave you, (using Boot Camp first) it's much easier to create extra partitions.

If I were you, I would start over and put the disk back the way it was from the factory. And then if you want to have four partitions, follow the method I gave you in my previous reply.
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Andromeda

 
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Warned and hanged as before........Can you explain me (or give some links) about how the boot camp things work? It seems ridiculous to forbid three or more partitions. Say, if I want Mac and Win 7 to share data(read/write).....
If I backup my disk by time machine, will I be able to recover the disk if I repartition it? I tried many approaches but all failed. I don't have any important data in the computer but the installation cost me too much time
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Briefly, Boot Camp is a convenience utility provided by Apple to make it easier for a user to create a partition for Windows and at the same time prepare it for the Win Boot Sector. We have to remember that Mac machines do not use a CMOS functioning BIOS but rather use EFI. Boot Camp is designed so as to create one partition from a disk that has not been otherwise partitioned. That's so as to keep things simple and to prevent overwriting your Mac partition.

You could certainly install Windows without using Boot Camp but it would not be as easy. Disk Utility can do it but it takes some skill to get it all set up correctly. Most new users would probably not be able to do it without possibly destroying their OS X installation. And, when you're trying to set up a hard drive with four partitions, that's an even more difficult task.

As for backing things up when doing partitioning, the best tool to use is a program that can create a bootable clone of your hard drive contents. SuperDuper (shareware) or Carbon Copy Cloner (donation ware) work best.
Time Machine is a great tool to use but it does not create a bootable backup.

I really have to wonder why you're so dead set on creating four partitions in the first place? You can easily share data between the Mac side and Windows side by the use of drivers or an external drive.

Keep it simple and if it isn't broke, don't try to fix it.
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Andromeda

 
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thanks for your help even though it does not work out.
I've just switched from Win to Mac. I always separate data from programs. First , it makes things more organized(at least I feel so), secondly, I hope that my data can still survive even though my system crashes. I think it's a good habit and I am surprised that Mac doesn't allow that. I really don't see any reasons why not to do that if we don't need to worry about the space.

How can we use driver to share data between win and mac? right now, I only have two partitions, one for mac, the other for win 7. They can see other other but cannot write on it. External drive is not always handy.
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cedrox

 
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Hello, I am quite desesperate because I just wanted to install a new Win 7 on my win partition on macbook pro 2007. It's impossible to boot from an external optical drive to install it. I tried to use refit to boot direct from the cd. I have a bootmgr missing before win can install. I don't know why...It don't see the the win partition maybe ? Moreover, As I have 3 partitions, I cannot use bootcamp (I think it is the reason why..?).
If I understand this topic. The solution is
1. to format everything to have only on HFS partition,
2. install a free OSX on it.
3. Use bootcamp to create a win partition.
4. Install win 7
5. Use a partition tool (ipartition for example) to create my exchange FAT partition.
This solution appear to be really heavy. Do you have any other easiest solutions. I just want to install a fresh win 7 on this computer.
I would really appreciate your help.

Thanks in advance.
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chscag

 
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The solution I gave the original poster above is the easiest to use as it does not interfere with Boot Camp. As I told him and I'll tell you the same thing: There is no need for an extra partition to share data. Keep it simple! If you need to share data between OS X and Windows, you do that with special drivers.

And if you install Windows XP, you can use a FAT-32 partition which is read and write from OS X. Only Vista and Win 7 require NTFS.
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