is multiple boot camp partitions possible?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by RedCroissant, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hello everyone.

    I recently upgraded my iMac's HDD and still have the original 320GB drive that I would like to use as a fun drive for experimenting and using other operating systems. XP would have to be on there because I still have to use IE for school, but I would also like to have Ubuntu and Mint on there as well. Is there a way to create multiple and bootable partitions on the same drive so I wouldn't have to run all or any of these in virtualization?

    My current 320GB HDD is in a Thermaltake Black Widow docking station and connected via usb. My iMac recognizes the original 320GB HDD no problem, but I'm not exactly sure what to do from here and I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    The absolutely easiest and safest way to do this is to use a VM. Either VirtualBox or Parallels, or Fusion. If you do this with native booting, you immediately have to learn a lot more about boot loaders than you'd ever want to know.

    Presently on Apple hardware Windows, and most Linux distros depend on CSM-BIOS mode booting. Mac OS X uses EFI booting. BIOS expects to locate an MBR partition scheme. EFI expects to locate a GPT partition scheme.

    EFI/GPT can support multiple boot loaders. BIOS/MBR can't, because the first 440 bytes of the MBR can only contain one piece of code for one boot loader, which then chainloads the rest of the boot loader elsewhere on the disk. The most common boot loader for supporting multiple BIOS mode operating systems is GRUB. Usually the installers for Linux distros will scan the disk for other systems and add entries in the GRUB menu for you to choose from.

    Because of how Apple hard codes its CSM-BIOS support, the way to access GRUB once installed, is to hold down the option key at startup, and you'll see there's a Windows option. Choosing that will get you to the GRUB menu and you choose which OS you want to boot from there.


    OH, and for the disk that contains only Windows and Linux without Mac OS on it, repartition using MBR scheme, not GPT. And do not use Boot Camp Assistant to prepare that disk.
  3. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Wow. I was thinking that it would seem easier than that and now I think I want to use a VM to run them. Thank you very much for that informative reply.
  4. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    You can triboot easily, just make another partition for Linux and install it on there. Install widows via bootcamp.

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