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Triple boot on your MacBook Pro

Triple boot on your MacBook Pro

Introduction

Ever felt the need to run three operating systems separately on your MacBook Pro? I scoured the internet in search of a good, straightforward guide to accomplishing the task. Unhappy with what I found, I decided to write one up for anyone else daring enough to do the same.

When all’s said and done, you’ll have a menu upon boot up giving you the option of either your Mac (tested with 10.5.3), Windows (tested with Vista 64-bit), or Linux (tested with Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit – Alternate Install CD) operating system. As an aside, this guide assumes that you will be dividing the drive space evenly between all three operating systems. Be warned, though, the time to completion may take up to 5 hours. This does not include burning OS install disks. Unfortunately, most of this time will be spent waiting for progress bars. The laptop will be rendered unusable for work. Plan accordingly.

Step One: Install Mac OS X

Assumes Mac OS X 10.5.3

1. Before we begin, back up all your documents to your home network or USB thumbdrive. Don’t forget to includ any Notes files, browser bookmarks, etc.

2. Next, install OS X to the Macbook Pro. Tell it to use the entire hard drive.

3. Use the Boot Camp Assistant to partition the drive.

  • Start the Boot Camp Assistant located at: /Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/Boot Camp Assistant. A quick reminder: the “Windows” partition shown will eventually become both the Windows and Linux partitions. As previously stated, since we will be dividing the drive equally across all operating systems, slide the divider until the Windows partition takes up two-thirds of the disk.
  • Click ‘Partition’ and wait for the process to complete.
  • When the partitioning process completes, click ‘Quit and Install Later’. Do not use the Bootcamp installer.

Step Two: Install Windows

Assumes Windows Vista 64-bit

1. Insert the Windows install CD or DVD and reboot the machine. Hold down the ‘C’ key to boot from the CD. Please note that the Windows XP 64-bit install DVD may not recognize USB keyboards when booting from DVD.

2. Once the Windows installer loads, proceed through the installation. When asked where to install Windows, select the partition that is approximately two-thirds of the disk. In testing, this was ‘Disk 0 Partition 3 BOOTCAMP 126.1GB’.

3. Highlight the partition and click ‘Drive Options (advanced)’.

4. Click ‘Format’ and ‘OK’.

5. Now that the drive is formatted, click ‘Next’. Windows will now install.

  • During the Windows install process, the machine may reboot on its own several times.
  • Windows is rebooting and expecting to boot back into the installation process. You need to help it do so by holding down the ‘Option (Alt)’ key when the machine reboots, and manually selecting the ‘Windows’ hard drive. (not the ‘Windows’ CD). If you happen to miss the chance to reboot into the Windows install process, the machine will boot into OS X. Simply reboot the machine, hold down the option key, select the ‘Windows’ hard drive (not the CD) and continue from there.

6. Once installation is complete, the machine will boot into Vista and have the user complete the setup procedure.

7. Eject the CD from within Vista by clicking the drive once in ‘Computer’ and selecting ‘Eject’ on the title bar. Vista now needs drivers for the Macbook Pro hardware.

  • If you want to be able to have greater control over the fans in the Macbook Pro cooling system, you need to install the ‘inputremapper’ application (tested version 1.0.04) first. This is recommended, as the Macbook Pro can run quite hot at times, dependent on the ambient air temperature.
    • Download and install inputremapper. You will need to use a USB key, as the networking drivers for the Macbook Pro have not yet been installed.
    • Reboot the machine, holding down the ‘option’ key and choosing the Windows drive.
  • Install the Windows drivers for the Macbook pro hardware by inserting the ‘Macbook Pro Install CD 1′ in the drive. If the Bootcamp Drivers application doesn’t start automatically, double-click on the CD in ‘Computer’ and run WindowsSupport/setup.exe.
  • Once the drivers are installed, eject the CD and reboot the machine into the Mac OS partition.

Step Three: Install rEFIt

1. Boot into the Mac OS partition and install rEFIt. This is our boot menu application.

  • Download and install rEFIt (tested version 0.11)

2. To configure rEFIt to be the default boot menu, open a terminal window and give the command:

/efi/refit/enable-always.sh

3. rEFIt has a default timeout of 20 seconds. When reached, it will boot into OS X. If you would like to disable the timeout:

  • Open /efi/refit/refit.conf in Text Editor
  • Change ‘timeout 20′ to ‘timeout 0′.
  • Save and close.

Step Four: Install Linux

1. Enter the Linux install CD (tested Ubuntu Linux 8.04 Desktop 64-bit Alternate Install) and reboot the machine. Hold down the ‘C’ key to boot from the CD. In this case, you might actually need to use an external USB keyboard. Sometimes the Linux install CD doesn’t recognize the built-in keyboard correctly.

2. Treat the Ubuntu install as you normally would until you arrive at the partitioning section. Brace yourselves, here’s where it gets tricky.

  • When Linux installs, it will corrupt the portion of the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the current Windows partition. In order for Windows to be usable, the MBR installed on this partition must be backed up.
  • When the installation procedure asks about partitioning disks, exit to the command line and make a backup of the MBR of the Windows partition.
    • In Ubuntu, this is done by pressing Alt-F2 to get a command line.
    • Enter

      dd if=/dev/sda of=/tmp/sda.mbr bs=512 count=1

      and hit the ‘Enter’ key.

    • Press Alt-F1 to return to the Ubuntu installation.

  • Choose the ‘Guided – Resize…’ option. (in testing, this was ‘Guided – Resize SCSI3 (0,0,0), partition #3 (sda) and use freed s’)
  • Make the Linux partition 50% of the resized space (one-third of the overall drive, if the Windows partition was two-thirds…)
  • Continue the installation process.
  • After the base Linux OS files are installed (but before installing a Linux bootloader) the MBR must be restored from the backup that was created earlier.

    • In Ubuntu, this is done by pressing Alt-F2 to get a command line.
    • Enter
    • dd if=/tmp/sda.mbr of=/dev/sda

      and hit the ‘Enter’ key.

    • Press Alt-F1 to return to the Ubuntu installation.

3. Continue the installation process until reaching the bootloader installation screen (in testing, this was the ‘GRUB installation’ page).

  • In Ubuntu, do not install GRUB to the MBR. Windows needs the MBR as it is.
  • When asked where to install GRUB, choose the Linux installation partition (not the swap). In testing, this was /dev/sda4. (Note that this partition is one greater than the partition specified on the ‘Guided – Resize…’ line of the ‘Partition disks’ screen.

4. When the installation is complete, eject the CD (if it is not done for you) and reboot the machine.

Step Five: Update rEFIt

At this point in the process, rEFIt will see all three operating systems and will be able load Mac OS and Windows. Linux, however, needs to have its own partition records updated to properly load.

1. Once the machine is rebooted and on the rEFIt screen, press the arrow keys until you reach the ‘Partitioning Tool’ icon. Press the ‘Enter’ key.

2. When it asks, “May I update the MBR as printed above?”, press the ‘y’ key. rEFIt’s partition records will update.

3. You should now be able to boot into any Operating System.

Final Notes and Observations

General

To disable the Apple ‘bong’ noise when the machine starts, install and configure StartupSound.prefPane.

Windows

Windows will check (CHKDSK) its partition the first time it boots. It will notice the difference in partition size. This is fine, let it run through. Windows will still load afterward.

The right-click behavior in Mac OS (Control-click) can be replicated in Windows by using inputremapper.

Linux

To reduce the amount of time the GRUB menu appears when booting Linux (tested Ubuntu), edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst where it says ‘timeout 10′ to say ‘timeout 3′ or whatever your preference is.

To replicate the right-click (and middle-click) functionality in Mac OS by using Control-click,

  • Go to System > Preferences > Keyboard > Accessibility tab > General – and enable “Allow to turn accessibility features on and off from the keyboard”
  • Go to System > Preferences > Keyboard > Mouse Keys tab > and enable “Allow to control the pointer using the keyboard”
  • From the terminal, type

    gedit ~/.xmodmap

  • Type

    keycode 116 = Pointer_Button3
    keycode 108 = ISO_Level3_Shift

  • Save and close the file.
  • Go to System > Preferences > Sessions and click ‘Add’.

    + Name: xmodmap

    + Command: xmodmap /home/[your username]/.xmodmap

    + Comment: Add middle- and right-click functionality

    + Click ‘OK’.

  • Restart X to use the changes (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace).

Thanks to Dan Wieringa. This guide originally appeared on his blog, GeekLimit.

Comments

  1. jared
    jared Excellent article Dan!

    I think I'm going to update my HD soon, and then I will definitely give this a try.

    Since I hate Vista, and still am quite fond of XP, will things change much if I just sub XP for Vista?

    cheers :jared:
  2. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B No swap partition is created in this guide? Or is it created automatically?

    -Craig
  3. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Guided partitioning will create a swap for you in the Ubuntu installer.

    Jared, I think Vista has some extra stuff that helps the multiple-boot process, so it might change something, but overall, I think this process will help bypass it. You should be fine unless XP's boot sector is a different size.
  4. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Snarkasm-

    Thanks for the speedy reply! I'm definitely trying this out when I get home from work...I've been looking forward to it for a while!

    Actually, I have one other quick question.

    I know when to execute the first terminal command (when the partitioning part of the installer comes up), but I'm kind of fuzzy on when to execute the 2nd command (to restore the MBR); should I do it when the installer asks about GRUB? Or is it sometime before that?

    Thanks!
    -Craig
  5. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Not at all, good sir. Stick around and let us know how it goes.
  6. Linc
    Linc Welcome to Icrontic, Craig! Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
  7. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Well, I worked on it all day and I only managed to screw things up.

    I followed the guide, but I'm not sure if I did something wrong with copying the MBR; I ran the 2nd command as it was saying Installing Grub on the progress bar. Should I have done that before I even let the Linux base files install? The copy of Ubuntu that I used (8.04 32-bit) had the GRUB options under an "Advanced" button before the files started copying at all, but after the partitioning. Maybe I should get a copy of the Alternate Install CD for 32-bit?

    It's looking like I'll be redoing everything tonight; Windows doesn't boot at all, and no amount of repairing and prodding has fixed it.

    Can someone tell me what I did wrong with those commands? I'm sick of messing with it, so if someone can help me out that'd be great. Thanks!

    -Craig
  8. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Yeah, I'd advise going with the alternate install disc; the graphical installer doesn't really do you any favors if you want to tinker with anything. It just installs the whole thing in one go, unlike the alternate disc. I'd go with the alternate if I were you.
  9. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B So, I got the alternate install disc (i386 version, I've had more luck with software in x86 instead of 64).

    When I get to the partition disks part, pressing "Alt-F2" doesn't kick me to a command line, it just sits at "[!!] Partition disks". Am I supposed to choose an option first or should it just work? I'm guessing without that terminal I can't back up the MBR, and so it'll all go to hell.

    Any suggestions?
    -Craig

    EDIT So, I'm not sure what keystroke I used, but I finally got to a terminal. I'll post again when it works/I know what keys I pressed :D END EDIT

    EDIT AGAIN
    So, I think I had to hit Fn then Alt-F2 to get the terminal. Ubuntu finished installing, now I'm checking to see if I can still boot everything.

    So, Windows says it's missing hal.dll. Ugh. Does anyone have an easy fix for this? Maybe if I just reinstall Windows over the old install (not a repair, but an actual install) that'd work. IDK. What're your thoughts?
  10. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Download it, maybe? Not sure. If you're going to reinstall anyway, may as well try the whole process over again. From everything I've seen, this is a perfect guide, so if you varied anything, it might be worthwhile to wipe and start clean - but that's up to you.

    Sorry it hasn't worked out so far; keep trying though.


    Also, if you just edit your previous post, we don't get notifications that you've responded again to the thread, so put in a new response if you want us to see it faster :)
  11. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Ok, I wasn't sure what your policy on double-posting was :D

    I think part of the problem was the partition numbering was off in Windows; I used Ubuntu to change my boot.ini file from partition 3 to partition 2. Now, I get the splash screen with the scroll bar for a second, then a blue screen with "UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME".

    I'll probably do it all again anyway because I realized that I had my partition size backwards.

    I have a question for you, though, and I think this is where I'm screwing up. Exactly when should I restore the mbr with
    dd if=/tmp/sda.mbr of=/dev/sda
    
    Should I do it while it's gathering more applications, or when I'm sitting at the GRUB install part, or just right after the base files? I think if I have an exact time to execute that 2nd command it'll work.

    Thanks!
    -Craig
  12. kryyst
    kryyst It's a good article, but I maintain a better setup is to install os x and then windows in bootcamp as the article starts. But to not bother with the linux 3rd partitioning. Instead linux runs very well inside of a virtual machine, parallels in particular.

    The only real need to dual boot into windows instead of running it in a virtual machine is to gain all the graphical advantages (directx) of windows. Linux on the other hand doesn't rely on directx and runs perfectly happily in a vm.

    You don't need parallels either, you can use any number of free virtual systems to do it. But parallels allows you to use your bootcamp partition as a virtual machine so you can access your windows partition both ways. It also has support for up to directx8.1 plus it's coherence mode works really well.

    This doesn't take away from the article is really well done and straight forward. I'm just suggesting there is a more optimal way of doing it.
  13. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm I haven't done it, but I believe if you replace it just before GRUB tries to install, you should be good. We need TT back in here to clarify... I'll see if I can find him for you. :)
  14. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B kryyst-

    Thanks for the input. I'll probably end up using a VM if I can't get the triple-boot to work; there's something about turning on my MacBook Pro and seeing those 3 boot options that is just inherently cool for me. :cool:

    I'm still hoping I can get the triple-boot sorted out, but Parallels (I already have it) is definitely a solid option.

    Snarkasm-

    I'm just posting this again in case TT does take a look, I'm using Ubuntu 8.04 32-bit Alternate Install CD and Windows XP Pro SP2.

    Thanks!
    -Craig
  15. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat Hey!

    OK, a few points:
    1. You want to save a copy of the MBR before you partition the disk in the Ubuntu installer. You want to restore the MBR after you partition the disk. I would suggest doing so before installing GRUB. It just happens to be a good place to do it, when the grub install page is up. You don't have to perform these operations while the installer is doing stuff, and I wouldn't recommend it. Do them when the installer is waiting for user input.
    2. Don't forget that you have to tell GRUB to install to the main linux partition, not the swap. It isn't in the listed suggestions, you have to know which partition the linux main is. I've listed what it usually is in the instructions.
    3. Don't edit the boot.ini or any other Windows files. You don't need to.
    4. Virtual machines work great. In fact, I have a triple-boot macbook with several virtual machines on it for testing. The goal of triple-booting is to have any OS and have access to 4GB of memory. In a virtualized environment, you will always share the memory between the host OS and the VM.

    OK, so if you've done any of this stuff and borked the process, I wouldn't bother trying to fix it. Either Ubuntu mucked the MBR so Windows won't boot, or you've otherwise lost the pristine MBR Windows requires, and you're screwed. Easiest way is to boot into OSX, fire up Disk Utility (it's in Applications/Utilities), crush all the partitions back into OSX and start over.

    This is a very exact procedure, and everything has to be done perfectly. If you make a mistake, you're done. :)
  16. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat
    Snarkasm wrote:
    Guided partitioning will create a swap for you in the Ubuntu installer.

    Jared, I think Vista has some extra stuff that helps the multiple-boot process, so it might change something, but overall, I think this process will help bypass it. You should be fine unless XP's boot sector is a different size.

    Vista adds nothing to the process, Windows (and Ubuntu as well) are completely unaware that they are sharing the drive during boot. What the OS sees on the drive after boot is a different story as far as accessing files.

    You can swap XP for Vista, and Ubuntu for another distro, provided that the Linux distro gets its bootloader installed to the partition and not the MBR, and Windows gets its MBR backed up and restored before and after Linux partitions the disk.
  17. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Well, it's still not working.

    I re-installed Windows and Ubuntu today and now I still get missing <system root="">system32\hal.dll. I ran the commands in your tutorial when I was supposed to (before choosing 'Guided - Resize...etc.' and at the GRUB install screen (and even once before that because GRUB runs something before that screen comes up)) and it still does not work. And yes, I told Ubuntu to write GRUB to /dev/sda4, and when I look at the drive in the partition editor, Ubuntu is /dev/sda4.

    I've found, however, that if I boot an Ubuntu Live CD and use the partition editor (the copy I installed with the alternate install CD didn't have the partition editor for some reason, but I couldn't use it anyway for what I did) to delete the Linux EXT3 and Swap partitions and expand the NTFS partition into that empty space, Windows boots just fine again.

    It is strange that when I edit the Windows boot.ini file to partition 2 instead of 3 that I get the splash screen and then UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, whereas with partition 3 it goes straight to missing hal.dll.

    Any suggestions?
    -Craig

    Edited to add where GRUB was installed (/dev/sda4)

    Sorry, one more thing:
    I'm not splitting the drive equally between the 3 OS's; I don't anticipate doing much work in Ubuntu, so that's getting about 13GB, Windows has around 55GB, and OS X has the rest. Not sure if it's relevant, just thought I'd add it.
    </system>
  18. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat Did you re-create the windows partition from OSX, or just reinstall to it?
  19. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B This morning I re-created the partition in OS X. Now, if I delete the Ubuntu stuff Windows boots fine.
  20. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Just wanted to do a quick update-

    I did a quick Google and a lot of the guides I found around the web put XP on /dev/sda4 instead of 3 (they use the diskutil command interface to make 3 partitions), and install XP on the last partition instead of the 3rd. They still use the same dd command, though. Would that maybe be it?
  21. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat
    Just wanted to do a quick update-

    I did a quick Google and a lot of the guides I found around the web put XP on /dev/sda4 instead of 3 (they use the diskutil command interface to make 3 partitions), and install XP on the last partition instead of the 3rd. They still use the same dd command, though. Would that maybe be it?

    You could try...perhaps XP requires installation to the last partition (I vaguely remember this to be true), where Vista is more tolerant. The tutorial is for Vista x64, so you may have to adapt it to XP.
  22. tedrios
    tedrios I am using the same software same versions as listed in document but performing this on a standard Macbook and with Vista 32bit and Ubuntu 64bit.
    The only problem I am having is I have not been able to get to the terminal to enter the commands. Can anyone confirm having to press function or (FN) key to get to the option for the command line. I have also tried with a USB keyboard. Alt (Option) F2 did not work for me and neither did holding down FN+Alt+F2. Any tips on getting to command would be great. My Standard Macbook is about 3 weeks old and has 4GB or RAM with Core 2 2.4Ghz.
  23. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Try ctrl-alt-F1 or ctrl-alt-F2.
  24. tedrios
    tedrios Ok,
    Will do, might take a bit, I will be starting over from scratch for attampt number 3 :) Thanks.
  25. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, I got Windows installed on sda4 and it works even after installing Ubuntu on sda3. The bad news is, now when I try and boot Ubuntu I get a "GRUB GRUB Geom Error". (As in, I select Linux in rEFIt, I get the transparent penguin, and it errors)

    Please tell me this is easy to fix?
    -Craig

    Edit: Well, now it's just saying "GRUB _" and the underscore flashes. IDK what's going on. Delete the partitions and try again maybe? I can easily restore my XP partition w/ WinClone in OS X. I had created a swap partition, but decided not to later to I used my livecd to delete it, that might've screwed it up...
  26. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Finally, good news! IT ALL WORKS!

    What I did:

    Found out the recognized size of my hard drive (all as one partition) with this:
    diskutil list
    
    Partitioned my disk with this command:
    diskutil resizeVolume disk0s2 165G "Journaled HFS+" "Ubuntu" 12G "MS-DOS FAT32" "Windows XP" 55G
    
    REMINDER: Those values are for a 250GB hard drive recognized as 232.4GB. Change the values to match your drive size and wants.

    Reboot with XP disc in, installed to last partition (/dev/sda4). Installed BootCamp in XP, rebooted with Ubuntu 8.04 alternate install i386.

    At partitioning, I exited to terminal and ran:
    dd if=/dev/sda of=/tmp/sda.mbr bs=512 count=1
    
    At the partitioner, I chose "Manual", 3rd partition, formatted to journaled ext3, mount point "/". Finished, wrote changes to disk, DID NOT MAKE A SWAP PARTITION.

    Continued until GRUB install, ran:
    dd if=/tmp/sda.mbr of=/dev/sda
    
    Installed GRUB to /dev/sda3 (NOT /dev/sda4!)

    Finished install and rebooted.

    Updated rEFIt, and it all still works!

    To make a swap FILE, boot into Ubuntu and do this:
    # become root
    sudo su - 
    # create a 100 MB blank file
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1M count=100 
    # setup file as swap
    mkswap /swapfile 
    # enable swapfile
    swapon /swapfile 
    # show swap
    swapon -s
    
    Thanks a bunch for your input and help, I'm happy I'm finally done!

    Regards,
    Craig
  27. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat Cool. Yes, Triple-booting a machine with XP is different than with Vista.
  28. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Sounds like somebody wasn't so wrong after all :cough cough: ;)

    Glad you got it working, Craigular, and congrats. Thanks for YOUR help with the info you just gave us.
  29. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Well done Craig!
  30. fortillian
    fortillian So I followed your directions explicitly. My only problem is that if i select to boot ubuntu, refit fades and i see the penquin and then nothing happens. It doesnt boot linux. I have the same setup as you. Macbook Pro 15" 2.5ghz. Vista-64bit Ultimate and Ubuntu 8.04. Windows Vista runs great, and OS X runs the same. Where did i go wrong?
    on rEFIt Partitioning tool i see

    Current GPT Partition Table
    # Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 40 409639 EFI System (FAT)
    2 409640 465715239 Mac OS X HFS+
    3 465977384 524571133 Basic Data
    4 524571134 620936368 Basic Data
    5 620936369 625142414 Linux Swap

    Current MBR partition table:
    #A Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 1 409639 EE EFI Protective
    2 409640 465715239 AF Mac OS X HFS+
    3 465977384 524571133 07 NTFS/HPFS
    4 524571134 620936368 83 Linux

    Status: Tables are synchronized, no need to sync.

    Any ideas why linux wont start up?
  31. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B
    fortillian wrote:
    So I followed your directions explicitly. My only problem is that if i select to boot ubuntu, refit fades and i see the penquin and then nothing happens. It doesnt boot linux. I have the same setup as you. Macbook Pro 15" 2.5ghz. Vista-64bit Ultimate and Ubuntu 8.04. Windows Vista runs great, and OS X runs the same. Where did i go wrong?
    on rEFIt Partitioning tool i see

    Current GPT Partition Table
    # Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 40 409639 EFI System (FAT)
    2 409640 465715239 Mac OS X HFS+
    3 465977384 524571133 Basic Data
    4 524571134 620936368 Basic Data
    5 620936369 625142414 Linux Swap

    Current MBR partition table:
    #A Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 1 409639 EE EFI Protective
    2 409640 465715239 AF Mac OS X HFS+
    3 465977384 524571133 07 NTFS/HPFS
    4 524571134 620936368 83 Linux

    Status: Tables are synchronized, no need to sync.

    Any ideas why linux wont start up?


    Well, my first thought is to tell you to turn the machine off and try again; every time I loaded a new OS I had to choose it, then it would get stuck at the faded icon, then I'd hard reboot and it would be fine.

    Other than that I'm not sure what to tell you. I only modified the instructions for XP, and I haven't used them with Vista at all, so I wouldn't even know the first place to look.

    Good luck!
    -Craig
  32. tedrios
    tedrios Let me start by saying thank you for this post and all the helpfull information. After 7 attempts I have my tripple boot Mac running great.

    These are the items that hung me up and what steps I changed a bit to resolve them. I only had trouble with the Linux install and the windows MBR getting corrupted.

    First: On my Macbook the hotkey to get to a command line / Terminal was "FN+CTRL+ALT (OPTION)+F2"

    Second: I am new to Linux so I did not know to use "sudo" in front of the command line for backing up and replacing the mbr so I changed

    dd if=/dev/sda of=/tmp/sda.mbr bs=512 count=1

    to "sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/tmp/sda.mbr bs=512 count=1"

    Third: The replacement of the MBR part did not work for me to apply at any point before Grub ran its part of the process. I am not sure if the original poster did this from command line or if something was different but the Grub bootloader pops up almost immediately after the Partitioner.

    As an additional note to select where Grub puts the bootloader you need to select Advanced Options on the final install screen immediately after inputting your name and password.

    So for the windows bootloader to not be corrupted I had to restore the MBR at the very end of the installation when the installation asks for a restart. It is at that point that I ran the command again using sudo,

    "sudo dd if=/tmp/sda.mbr of=/dev/sda"

    And my last note is that it is "FN+CTRL+ALT (OPTION)+F7" to exit back to the installation.

    Thanks again for the post and I am enjoying my tripple boot Macbook!
  33. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm I think the part people are routinely missing is the fact that he used the alternate install CD, not the standard desktop install; when installing via the alternate install, the process installs the OS files first, and then later asks where you want to install GRUB rather than how the desktop CD just sets everything up first, asks for partitioning info, and then just assumes GRUB will go where it wants it to go. Did you use the alternate install disc?

    Either way, thanks for the extra info and glad to hear you got it up and running!
  34. tedrios
    tedrios Snark,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I did not use the alternate install CD. Sounds like that could have been the cause for some confusion on my side. I appreciate your help. Guess my tips can be applied if someone uses the standard install.
  35. the_technocrat
    the_technocrat Yes, I intentionally listed the Alternate Install DC in the directions because of its install procedure. Using a different method of Ubuntu installation will require changing the install procedure.
  36. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B I know this topic is old, but it still has useful information, so I thought I'd post a quick update with my recent dealings.

    I went back to a triple-boot today (finally got a bigger hard drive in the laptop). Have OSX, Win7 Ultimate 64-bit and Ubuntu 10.04 32-bit. Partitioned the drive first with Apple's bootcamp utility (GPartEd doesn't like HFS+ resizing), then used GPartEd to cut it up into what I wanted (NTFS, ext4, swap). Installed Win7, then tried Ubuntu, and ran into problems....I did everything like the guide said, except I could not get Ubuntu to boot (detected in rEFIt as legacy OS because it doesn't recognize grub2), but even after waiting and rebooting and waiting it didn't work. So I reinstalled, this time with the desktop live CD (used the alternate CD the first time) and followed tedrios's instructions for using the desktop disc, and it worked! So, IDK if it was something I botched, something different with 10.04 or what, but the desktop CD worked better for me.

    The "dd" commands are still definitely necessary, though. But, in the end, it all works! :)

    So, there's a quick update for newer OS's.

    -Craig
  37. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm The desktop install CD is definitely loads better than it used to be - even I switched off of the alternate installer for 10.04. Congrats on a sweet triple boot - Win7, OSX, and Ubuntu all in one machine is a very nice powerhouse.

    Any reason you went with 32-bit Ubuntu over x64? Just wondering.
  38. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B
    Snarkasm wrote:
    The desktop install CD is definitely loads better than it used to be - even I switched off of the alternate installer for 10.04. Congrats on a sweet triple boot - Win7, OSX, and Ubuntu all in one machine is a very nice powerhouse.

    Any reason you went with 32-bit Ubuntu over x64? Just wondering.

    I've had issues with software compatibility in x64 Ubuntu in the past...Granted, I haven't tried it in a long time (a couple of years, I think) so I don't know how much has been fixed, but stuff like Flash never worked (and probably a couple other things too), and this was before the Broadcom STA driver was included in the Restricted Devices and you had to use ndiswrapper and the Broadcom driver for bootcamp to get wifi working, which didn't work in x64 when I tried it last.

    I could probably give it a try again, actually, especially with the wifi driver...That was my biggest issue haha. Are you using it, Snarkasm? Is it pretty good?
  39. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Yessir. Everything worked - out of the box - on a 10.04 x64 install. I was floored, but it has really improved. Flash is perfectly fine. I use Chromium over Firefox, and I couldn't be happier right now. I'm really happy with the changes.
  40. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B That's impressive! Wow. I'm downloading the 64-bit ISO now to make a bootable USB stick from (the optical drive in the MBP is a LITTLE slow haha). I'll let you know how it goes, thanks for the info!
  41. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Worth a laugh: if you try to install using the alternate install disc via USB, the installation will get stuck in a circular loop because it can't find your CD. Kind of amusing.

    But yeah - got around that by the miracle of the desktop installer working for my hardware for the first time. I was impressed. :)

    Good luck! Let us know if you run into troubles.
  42. Craigular-B
    Craigular-B Finally got 10.04 64-bit up and running! For whatever reason rEFIt didn't like my bootable USB device (and I tried doing it a couple of different ways, but it kept booting Linux from my hard drive haha), so I just used the LiveCD again. Got it installed and immediately ran into wifi problems (apparently WPA support is buggy), but got that fixed with this post, and then ran into issues with sound but that got fixed by editing /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf and adding this to the bottom of the file:
    options snd-hda-intel model=mb5
    
    and setting my hardware to the Analog Stereo Output profile in Sound Preferences.

    The last thing I did was change my UID by creating another administrator-user, logging into THAT account, changing my real account's UID to the UID of the user on my OSX install with
    sudo usermod -u <osx id=""> <ubuntu username="">[OSX UID] [Ubuntu username]
    
    then logging back into my real account, and deleting the temp account. This allowed me to access all of my files and directories in my OSX partition with full access, so I can do stuff like set up Rythmbox to watch my iTunes folder for any music so I can listen without duplicating my entire library :cool: (this also required installing pysdm (Storage Device Manager) to get the Mac partition to mount at log-in instead of me manually editing the fstab file; much easier!)

    Oh, and rEFIt was updated March 7th to auto-detect grub2, so Ubuntu is now recognized as Linux instead of "Legacy OS".

    I am back to a super triple-boot! :D
    </ubuntu></osx>
  43. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Rock on, bud. Keep up the good work. :D
  44. jgblanco Hi, I've followed your guide and now I've the three installed on my macbook pro. But I think there's something that is worth noting: after installing Linux, I just could boot Mac OS X, and with Linux and Win, rEFIt freezed. But after doing a complete shutdown, it worked as supposed.
    Thanks man!
  45. rgthreepo Any word on whether or not triple boot can be achieved with a MacBook 1,1 in this manner?
  46. saroop sandhu hi...
    bootcamp is giving me trouble partitioning the disk...it freezes everytime i try to do it. can i use disk utility to partition the disk?

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