Boot camp and 3 partition

Discussion in 'macOS' started by diabol, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. diabol macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    Hi Guys,

    Anybody knows how to make a boot camp installation with three partitions?
    I mean one for mac, one for windows and one for data to be shared between the OS's? When I try to create 3 partitions on leopard installation, when I start the boot camp assistant, it doesn't work. Or when I create an extra partition inside windows, mac is not able to see it.
    Any Idea?

  2. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    Partitioning doesn't work like that. You can create as many partitions as you wish, but you can't exchange files between the three without outside assistance (like a flash drive for example).
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
  4. diabol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    Mac drive

    If I understand correctly, macdrive needs to be installed on windows and enables windows to see and edit mac files. What about Mac side, I want to be able to edit windows files from mac os. I am also looking to have a shared 3rd partitions for both OS's. After installing windows on Boot camp, I don't know how to create this 3rd partition. From mac (how?) or inside windows.
  5. diabol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    And how can I have 3 partitions in this case? before installing windows using boot camp or after it? from mac OS or from windows disk management?

  6. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    MacDrive allows Windows running in Bootcamp to see your Mac OS partition.

    By using MacDrive you can have the same functionality that Windows provides, but you can affect folders/files on the Mac OS Partition.

    AFAIK, using Bootcamp to create your Windows partition, you can only have two partitions on your HD. One Mac (various formats available) and one Windows (NTFS or FAT).

    From the Mac OS side, you can do the following depending on the formatting scheme used:

    - NTFS --> Read only

    - FAT --> Read and write

    I have not tried this, but I believe from within the Windows installer, you can sub-partition the Windows partition with no problems.

    I also believe there are some work arounds using other bootloaders that allow for mulitple OS partitioning. I have not tried this so I cannot speak from experience.

    Now with VMware and Parallels I can effectively run Windows XP, Vista, and Ubuntu on the same computer. This is very handy at times. And with Parallels and VMware is is easy to share folders between the two systems.

    So now I keep a minimal Windows installation to run a combat simulator game. The rest of the time I run in the Mac OS and use Parallels or VMware to run Windows. Convenient for me this way.

  7. diabol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008

    I found it and it perfectly works:

    1) Install OS X with 1 default partition
    2) Run Boot camp and install windows on windows partition created by Boot camp
    3) Restart into Mac and extend your primary Mac partition using disk utility to create a third partition (to store data only) to share between both OS's with Mac's default file system (not fat32)
    4) Restart into windows again and install Macdrive.


    You can obviously do what ever you want with your data stored on this partition from mac and Macdrive allows you to edit data from windows as well. Just be careful not to touch the folders made by Mac OS when you explore it from windows.

    It is practically working for me with no problem.
  8. Godin1605 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    Ok, just one thing
    What do you mean when you say "Just be careful not to touch the folders made by Mac OS when you explore it from windows." ?
    Do you mean don't touch the files need to run Mac OS? or any file or folder that you put forth from Mac OS?
    Please explain
  9. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    All wrong. I have a Leopard HFS partition, a Windows NTFS partition and 1 media partition that is FAT32 that shares photos, video and mp3's and office documents between the 2 OS's

    1) Boot up Leopard. Should only have 1 partition
    2) Use Boot Camp to create the Windows Partition. Choose the size you want
    3) Install Windows using NTFS (full, not quick), then download all updates if you wish
    4) Boot back into Leopard and create a new partition using Disk Utility >Erase and format the new partition to FAT32 (it'll say FAT in Disk Utility)
    5) Boot back into Windows. You'll find that you cannot. This is because Windows thinks there should only be 2 partitions, but now it sees three. So load you Windows disc and reboot from the disk. You'll come to the DOS screen for installing Windows, but this time choose "R" for Recovery Mode. We are going to fix the booting error to make Windows self configure to recognize 3 partitions.
    6) You should be at a command prompt. Type in HELP to get a list of options
    7) Type in FIXBOOT C: (if C is your Windows drive)
    8) Reboot and go into Windows. You should be able to boot fine.

    and there you have it. 2 OS's that can read data from the FAT32 partition.
  10. diabol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    You are mistaking my friend

    Sorry my friend. You are missing a point. You shouldn't say all wrong if you know enoughf about FAT (File Allocation Table). It is true that you can read and write on FAT 32, but Fat32 is stabble at a partition size of 32GB and below. But if you are using a hard drive with 320 Gb like the one I am using, you will not even be able to format a partition of 200 GB with FAT32 in an apple machine. That's why I suggested MAC Drive.


  11. priller macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2007
    Seems loads of hassle instead of just using a fat32 partition to share the data & you can have a fat32 partition larger than 200GB.
  12. Godin1605 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    Thanks a lot man, i'm doing this right now and hoping it works.
    It makes quite a bit of sense so I'm sure it will work.
  13. Godin1605 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    The reason I like Razeus's solution is because it seems like the most intuitive solution. Only using 32 gigs for a swap drive is a little lame but it works well enough for me. It seems more reliable because its fat32, so I know that both systems will be able to read and write any file on it
  14. priller macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2007
    The fat32 can be larger than 32GB.
  15. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

    Feb 11, 2003
    Columbia, MD
    You could, as long as the third partition is in a format that both Windows and OS X can write to (eg, FAT32).

    EDIT: I've just repeated what others are saying. Should have read the whole thread. Can't you avoid the whole FIXBOOT issue by creating three partitions the first time in Disk Utility when installing Mac OS X?
  16. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    i'm not sure what you're talking about. I have a 1TB external drive divided into 4 sections in FAT32: 1) 250GB for mp3; 2) 500GB for Video 3) 75GB for Photos 4) a formatted HFS partition for Time Machine 100GB in size. Very stable, never had an issue.

    On my Mac, I have a 250GB drive in 3 partitions: 50GB for Windows (which I need to go and make bigger); 125GB for my media on the go (video, mp3's and photo's that I transfer from my external to my Mac) and the rest for the Mac partition.

    So my suggestion stands. I post it because it works.
  17. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    i've tried and no you can't. the reason is Boot Camp. Boot Camp won't work unless you start with a single Mac drive. It then divides the drive for Windows, then makes you go straight into installing Windows. So now Windows configures itself to recognize 2 partitions. Going into Mac to make the 3rd partition in FAT32 confesses Windows (because Windows designates itself as the "2" partition, but gets moved to being the "3" partition when you make the 3rd FAT32 partition, so when Windows boots, it thinks it should be on the "2" partition, but finds its not there because the FAT32 partition is blank), so we have to use FIXBOOT so Windows reassigns the partition numbers.

    It's a PITA I know. I was up all night trying to figure it out when I first got my Mac.
  18. Godin1605 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    Alright Razeus, I'm trying to use fixboot to have the windows partition work and it hasn't worked yet. I'm not sure what to do or whats wrong
  19. Godin1605 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    So i reinstalled windows on the windows partition and it works great.
    but now i have the old xp that still crashes on dual boot when i choose windows on bootcamp. Any ideas on how to get rid of the second xp on dual boot?
  20. diabol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    It's very easy to understand. I said there is no reliability on a FAT 32 partition. It means if your big hard drive crashes, you cannot recover any data from a FAT32 partition because of it's allocation table format. But if you use NTFS, you will have a great chance to recover the damaged data from the HDD. Hope you never face it, but it's better to know it.

  21. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    go into recovery mode. at the prompt type in HELP

    then type in BOOTCFG to get a list of options

    then type in BOOTCFG /scan (to see how many windows partions windows is seeing.
    then type in BOOTCFG /rebuild to rebuild the drive

    [1] C:\Windows
    Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All): type in YES
    Enter Load Identifier: (Type in Custom description for an operating system loading from the Boot menu like Windows XP Home Edition)
    Enter Operating System Load Options: (type in: /fastdetect)

    then type in FIXBOOT

  22. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    thanks for the info.
  23. 1visitor macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2008
    An important issue with FAT32 : files can't be larger than 4 gigbytes (or somewhere near that).
  24. Zultner macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2010
    Easy, but not free, Boot Camp & 3 partitions

    I wanted a three partition Boot Camp setup: one OS X partition, one NTFS data partition, and one Windows 7 partition. After trying some of the other comments, I found a very easy way to accomplish this:
    1. Run Boot Camp assistant and install Windows 7 as per the installation and setup guide. You don't have to do anything special, just follow the directions...
    2. Purchase Coriolis System's iPartition software (about $36). Upon downloading it, you are directed to create a bootable CD. Boot with this CD, and use iPartition to resize the Macintosh HD and Bootcamp partitions to whatever size you want, and create a new partition for Data with whatever format you want (NTFS in my case). As others have warned about Windows being picky about where it is, I put my extra partitions "at the end of the disk" (an iPartition option when you create partitions).
    3. Reboot and run Verify Disk Permissions and Verify Disk, just to make sure everything is OK.

    The Bootcamp and Data partitions show up as disks and can be read by OS X. For read/write access, you can purchase and install Paragon Software's NTFS for Mac on the Macintosh HD, and HPS+ for Windows in Windows. Then all disks are fully accessible to both operating systems.

    I also suggest immediately making sure Time Machine has a fresh backup, and getting WinClone to make an image of the Windows partition, as a further backup. If there is any problem, you can delete the Windows partition, recreate it, and restore it from WinClone. [In my experiments before finding this solution, Restoring Windows from WinClone was so much easier than doing a re-installation of Windows!] You could even use a WinClone image during the initial Boot Camp installation, if you have one, instead of using the DVD.
  25. tomllama macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2007
    I share files back and forth between OSX and Win (7 or XP) all the time on a variety of disks.

    I use MacDrive on the Windows side to ensure R/W to Mac disks and I use Tuxera NTFS (the other common option is NTFS-3G) to allow the Mac to read and write to Windows disks (NTFS, not FAT32). The only downside is that in SL you can't select the windows disk as a startup disk from the system settings, you have to use the ALT key at boot time to switch between the OSs.

    You can find lots of information and options for getting the Mac to read NTFS via a simple google search.

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