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JAM 02-12-2008 05:55 PM

Triple booting Leopard, Ubuntu, and XP on a MBP
i have only tried the following on a MacBook Pro (santa rosa generation)
i am writing this tutorial because there is no actual tutorial out there that will completely work and allow you to use all three operating systems....
i have come up with these steps through trial and error and a combination of various tutorials i found on the topic...

1. i started with a clean install of OS X Leopard on my hard disk drive (i had not yet partitioned my hard drive)

2. after installing leopard, install rEFIt (a boot loader) and make sure it is working by restarting your MBP and pressing the option button (the first time) etc...

3. inside OS X leopard go to the applications folder > utilities > boot camp assistant
using the assistant partition your hard drive according to the desired capacity you want available for your windows partition....and when you reach the insert an XP disc to start NOT proceed.....choose the "install later" option...
Note: it is important that you do not install XP at this stage, or else you will have to re-install it after adding an extra partition for ubuntu since partitioning will destroy proper booting from the windows partition

4. pop in the OS X Leopard install disc and boot from the disc.....once inside chose disk utility from the menu bar.....
in disk utility click on the hard drive disk name (not on any of the partition names)....the hard disk name that includes the 2 partitions created so far...
when selected, you can see a "partition" tab in the available tools on the right part of disk utility
click on the partition tab, and then click on the graphic of macintosh hd (the OS X partition whatever you've named it) and click on the little "+" button
this will allow you to add an extra partition that you can resize either using the graphic or by typing in the desired capacity....
this will create a new partition which we will format for now using Mac OS Extended (Journaled)....

Note: you will now have three partitions and YES the XP partition will be the last partition (disk0s4) according to your partition map thus allowing you to install XP and allowing XP to boot properly

4. after partitioning, it's time for installation....
pop in the windows xp disc and boot from the disc.....after all files are loaded...install xp on the partition created via boot camp in step # 3.....YES it will show up in the list of partitions with the name C:\ something <boot camp> can even format it along the process before the windows installation actually begins......
do not forget after installing windows (first part through booting from the disc and then the MBP will automatically reboot after which you have to chose to boot to the XP partition to complete the installation) pop in the os x leopard disc in windows to install boot camp drivers

5. with windows installed, pop in the ubuntu (i used 7.10) disc and boot from the disc.....and start the installation....when you reach the step of choosing which parition to install on or size or something......choose manual and click next....wait for the partition tool to load....locate the partition created (using disk utility earlier) for ubuntu and click on it then click on 'edit partition'....set the mount point as "/" and chose "ext3" as the format....(the partition will be automatically formatted when you begin installation)....when clicking next, it will warn you of the swap partition but you can safely ignore that.....continue with the installation steps until you reach the last step.....BEFORE CLICKING ON the last step, click on the "advanced" button and MAKE SURE to install the boot loader to the partition allocated for ubuntu in our case it will probably be the third partition (i.e. instead of hd(0,0) os something like that just type "/dev/sda3")
then click next and finish installation......
by now when you boot your MBP, you should have 3 options available using rEFIt, and all of the bootable and fully functional

the three most important things that you should carefully do and NOT ignore are:
a. partition the way i did it cause if you don't use boot camp for creating the first partition you might have problems when installing windows (when booted from the disc)...the partition would not show or you can't format it....or you have to format or delete first blablabla...all sorts of issues

b. after partitioning and before installing...use terminal and type in "diskutil list" and make sure the EFI system is on partition 1, OS X on 2, Ubuntu on 3, and XP on is CRUCIAL that the xp partition be the last one or it would not boot

c. you must change the boot loader setting in the last step of the ubuntu installation to the appropriate partition or else you would either render ubuntu unbootable or XP unbootable or even both and you'll have to repeat everything all over again

and ofcourse do not blame me for any mis-happenings that occur with you so make sure to BACK UP all your date before you attempt any of this if it means anything to you

NPuter 02-12-2008 06:03 PM

great tutorial - I may try it if/when I decide to reinstall leopard

and what about drives when using ubuntu??

JAM 02-14-2008 05:00 AM

NPuter 02-14-2008 07:49 AM

you are on top of this!

I have been trying to do this for the past 6 months now...

Is there any way I can do this without reinstalling leopard and xp?

EDIT: if I use winclone to backup my bootcamp partition(disk0s3), then restore it on the xp partition created the new way(disk0s4) and procede from there, will it work?
I have messed up my bootcamp partition before by creating a new partition inbetween OS X and XP. When I deleted that partition, things were back to normal.
EDIT2: (sorry for all these questions)
here is my boot.ini for XP
[boot loader]


default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOW S

[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

what would I have to change in order to restore the image to disk0s4 from disk0s3

JAM 02-16-2008 01:48 PM

i don't think i got what you meant
if you mean what you should change with the boot.ini file
well just switch the '3' in both partition(3) to a '4' and leave everything else as is
but i doubt that is your question
as for using winclone to preserve your xp partition and not go through the hassle or reinstalling all applications again etc...
well i don't know cause i've never used winclone before
i guess if you really want to triple boot, try doing it first by backing up your windows partition hoping you'll be able to restore it to the new partition, if it doesn't work, then you'll have to do it the other way
sorry couldn't help much in this issue
make sure to post your findings and results for others

cyrano_says 05-18-2008 03:57 PM

worked like a charm.. thanks a bunch.
I was looking for instructions all over the web.. for triple booting.
There were a lot of instructions, I just picked this one .. since this seemed easier and made sense to me. I guess I made the right choice.
I have a triple boot MBP. :)

I am sorting out the other issues with MBP.
Just configured my wireless.
Install ndiswrapper and use the wireless driver that comes with the Install Disc 1.

I used the instructions in this forum.
There were 4 instructions.

chscag 05-19-2008 01:48 PM

Just my 2 cents worth.....

The new version of Ubuntu (8.04) now allows installation directly from Windows, and, can be run from within Windows as a virtual machine.

If anyone would like to try - just create a normal Windows partition with Boot Camp, install Windows, then install Ubuntu 8.04 from Windows and select run as virtual machine. You now have a triple boot. No fuss, no muss, no cuss.


NPuter 05-19-2008 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by chscag (Post 657911)
Just my 2 cents worth.....

The new version of Ubuntu (8.04) now allows installation directly from Windows, and, can be run from within Windows as a virtual machine.

If anyone would like to try - just create a normal Windows partition with Boot Camp, install Windows, then install Ubuntu 8.04 from Windows and select run as virtual machine. You now have a triple boot. No fuss, no muss, no cuss.


Doing this does not allow you to run ubuntu natively which can pose a problem for various things.

mattyp_101 05-24-2008 05:36 AM

does anyone know how to quad boot leopard, vista,xp and ubuntu on a macbook 13"?

gtlu888 12-30-2008 05:50 AM

Great help from you, Jam! I had used it to triple-boot my MBP with os x, ubuntu 8.04, and win xp pro. Just one note to add: After all three installations, I needed to invoke the rEFIt partitioning tool to update the mbr before everything works perfectly. Thanks!

applesanity 12-30-2008 08:53 PM

Will it matter if you install Windows XP first in step #4, or Ubuntu/Linux Distro first?

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