Physical windows pc to tripleboot on mbp

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by CedricAnne97, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. CedricAnne97 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    I'm going to buy a new macbookpro 13" next week, but I've been looking into triplebooting it.
    What I want to do is clone my current windows laptop with clonezilla and use it as a bootcamp partition. Then for the linux part I want to boot ubuntu from an external hdd with refit (on the external hdd).
    I've searched for lots of tutorials and alreday found some for things like sharing files, installing tripleboots etc, but I haven't found any guides or similar things about cloning a windows pc and using it as bootcamp partition. Does anyone know if this is even possible?
    (sorry for spelling errors, I'm Dutch and I'm on my iPad....)
  2. OatmealRocks macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    OP it is possible. When I first got my first Mac computer it was a MBP 13", I joined this forum and one of my earlier posts was about doing triple boot on MBP because I was mainly used to using windows. Do a search on here or check my earlier posts in this thread about 2 years ago. I was successfully able to get WIN XP, WIN VISTA and Snow Leopard natively.
  3. CedricAnne97 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    That's not really an answer to my question... I know it's possible to tripleboot the mac and I have found several tutorials, but what I want to do is use an image of my current pc as my bootcamp partition... I was wondering if that would be possible...
  4. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    You almost certainly have to reinstall Windows, in particular if the CPU family between your current Windows computer and the Macbook Pro are not the same.

    Second, Windows has multiple bootloaders, which are chainloaded in sequence with each stage hopping to specific sectors on the disk. When you move these bootloaders to a new disk the sectors are different breaking the boot loading chain. So Clonezilla needs to know about this, I don't know if it does. It's possible a Windows install disk's repair utility will be able to locate the bootloaders and repair the chainloading sequence.

    rEFIt is not maintained anymore. Check sourceforge for rEFInd. However, gptsync included with both is not going to produce the correct hybrid MBR for your new MBP because the GPT invariably will contain more partitions than will fit in the MBR. The MBR partition 1 is reserved for 0xEE PMBR, leaving you with just three entries. But your GPT will at a minimum require three partitions for Mac OS X Lion, at least one probably two or three for Ubuntu depending on whether you can EFI boot this new hardware (I seriously doubt it but could be wrong, I still cannot EFI boot a 2011 MBP 8,2) or need to use the CSM-BIOS, and at least one for Windows. So that's 5 to 7 partitions required. You will have to create the hybrid MBR manually with gdisk.

    I highly recommend Windows be the last partition on the disk. (Mac OS X first, then Ubuntu, then Windows).

    The EFI vs CSM-BIOS mode booting is highly relevant because only one kind of bootloader can exist in the first 440 bytes of the MBR for CSM-BIOS booting. If your hardware can only CSM-BIOS boot Ubuntu, then you have to choose either GRUB2 as your bootloader for both Ubuntu and Windows, or the Windows bootloader. If you choose GRUB2, by virtue of dealing with Windows last, and fixing its other bootloaders, this will break GRUB2 meaning you will need a LiveCD to reinstall GRUB2.

    Seriously, this is going to require lots of rebooting and lots of iterations to get right no matter what.
  5. CedricAnne97, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012

    CedricAnne97 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    ... because I didn't understand most of what you just said :D .... I've decided to just try and dualboot (lion and windows 7- through bootcamp) and use ubuntu in vmware because I'm not going to use it very intensively (I won't need that much ram and I'm not going to play games at all).
    Would it still be such a big problem to boot then?
    IF the windows repair disk would be able to repair the bootsequence... this should work just fine, shouldn't it? If the repairdisk wouldn't be able to, is there another way? Can I do it manually?
  6. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dual boot is infinitely easier than triple boot. VM is still easier.

    You still almost certainly will have to install Windows 7 from scratch. Various cloning tools mention that Windows won't run when moved to a different processor family. I'm not sure why. It might be worth trying - *shrug*. I personally would clone it and then see if you can turn the cloned image into a VDI or other format virtual disk image, and run Windows in VM as well.

    Boot Camp Assistant will leave you with a FAT 32 partition that needs to be formatted NTFS, and then Clonezilla should be able to move your data to that partition. I don't know if Clonezilla supports formatting partitions as NTFS volumes or not, or if you still will need a Windows install disk to do that, then restore the clone, then use the install disk to run the repair utility to fix the bootloaders.
  7. CedricAnne97 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    I see you're definately not a fan of what I try to do :p but thanks for the help! I've just got one more question, just in case restoring a clone doesn't work.... what files of windows may I absolutely not remove for the system to keep working? (if it restoring the clone doesn't work I could just reinstall windows and then paste my original files over with the exception of the files that are essential for the system to work.)
    Sorry to bother you so much, but I really don't want to reinstall all my programs + then I'll lose all progress made in any game :(
  8. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    I'm not a fan of regular users suffering high effort, low efficiency tasks, or data loss.

    I'm not a Windows expert. I have no idea if the cloning will work or not, or what files would be needed to make it work. But from what I've read I suspect that the Windows kernel has a certain amount of baked in support for the CPU family it's installed for, so moving that kernel to a sufficiently different family breaks the kernel. Hence reinstallation is necessary. Plus isn't there some sort of copy protection scheme in Windows that's designed to thwart making it easy to produce clones of Windows installations?

    Yeah best not to tell me this is about games because I find it totally non-serious. My personal bias. I'd suggest the games should have a way to export your current state, and then import it onto a new computer. You can't be the only person who needs to do this. I'd find such impossibility to be a rather hideous design flaw.
  9. CedricAnne97 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    Thanks for all the help, it really... helped me :p

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