Does the four partition rule still apply to Bootcamp?

Mike Boreham

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Aug 10, 2006
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Is it possible to create a Bootcamp partition on an internal drive with more than four partitions?

I know a few years ago it wasn't, and as a standard macOS install has:
EFI
Recovery
Macintosh HD
.....It meant that Bootcamp had to be the fourth.
Is this still the situation please?
Thanks
 

casperes1996

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By default, yes, but there are workarounds.If you create a fifth partition, you can't boot into Windows anymore, but all partitions are still there. What you then need to do, is recreate the Master Boot Record for Windows – You can use GDisk for this. Requires a fair bit of Terminal commands, and disabling the System Integrity Protection. If you are curious about more, I can probably find you the guide that taught me me about this, back when I struggled with it, or at the very least, create a step-by-step myself, if I can't find it
 
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Mike Boreham

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Thanks very much for helpful answer. It is not important enough for me to jump through the hoops to do it, but I wanted to check my understanding and to make sure I hadn't missed out on a recent change.
 

Altis

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If you don't have a recovery partition, would it then be okay to install say Windows and Linux with OSX and be fine?
 

casperes1996

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If you don't have a recovery partition, would it then be okay to install say Windows and Linux with OSX and be fine?

1) Why don't you have a recovery partition?
2) Do you have a Mac that supports internet recovery?
3) You can always create a bootable USB installer with OS X/macOS

In case of the answer being yes to nr. 2 or you doing number 3, nothing can really go too wrong. If you don't have any way of getting OS X/macOS reinstalled, I would advice against, though creating a dual boot system if done right, won't exactly harm anything. Though I've just realised you're probably talking about the maximum number of partitions supported by the Master Boot Record scheme, and not how safe it is in terms of losing access to macOS...

In that case, I am not actually 100% certain. I think that would work, yes. But I wouldn't recommend nuking your recovery partition. I would instead recommend using Disk to rewrite the partition map such that your Master Boot Record Hybrid only contains the Windows partition, its EFI, and maybe the Mac partition or something. That way you fully circumvent the issue
 

Altis

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1) Why don't you have a recovery partition?
2) Do you have a Mac that supports internet recovery?
3) You can always create a bootable USB installer with OS X/macOS

In case of the answer being yes to nr. 2 or you doing number 3, nothing can really go too wrong. If you don't have any way of getting OS X/macOS reinstalled, I would advice against, though creating a dual boot system if done right, won't exactly harm anything. Though I've just realised you're probably talking about the maximum number of partitions supported by the Master Boot Record scheme, and not how safe it is in terms of losing access to macOS...

In that case, I am not actually 100% certain. I think that would work, yes. But I wouldn't recommend nuking your recovery partition. I would instead recommend using Disk to rewrite the partition map such that your Master Boot Record Hybrid only contains the Windows partition, its EFI, and maybe the Mac partition or something. That way you fully circumvent the issue
Thanks for your input!

Turns out I was mistaken. I did a fresh install of OSX (El Cap) and didn't see any Recovery drive, nor in Disk Utilities, but it shows up in Terminal when I list the drives. So 4 are already used.

My MBP is a 2010 with the DVD drive and the firmware supports internet recovery, so I don't have any use for a recovery partition.

It would be nice to replace it with a Linux install so I can boot that with full resources, but I don't want to get into risky business trying to accomplish it.

From my understanding, if I want to install Linux as a triple-boot, I need to do some fancy and possibly risky moves with rEFIt.
 

casperes1996

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From my understanding, if I want to install Linux as a triple-boot, I need to do some fancy and possibly risky moves with rEFIt.
That's not necessarily necessary (redundant words I guess). You can circumvent rEFIt altogether, setting up the partition map thusly:
GUID:
1) EFI
2) Macintosh HD
3) Recovery HD
4) Linux
5) Bootcamp

MBR:
1) EFI
2) Linux
5) Bootcamp

(order doesn't have to be the same)

With that setup, you should be able to boot from all from the standard Apple boot menu as far as I can theoretically tell, although I think the Macintosh HD partition would be invisible to both Windows and Linux.
 
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