Triple boot configuration

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Dr. McKay, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    I will be buying a new computer around September (currently have a G5 iMac with Leopard).
    In addition to OS X, I would like to run Windows 7 and Ubuntu on it (my wife bought a 15" Dell Inspiron a few weeks ago and I'm really impressed with Win7).
    Now, the easiest way to do this, would be a Mac Pro with 3 hard drives. But that's a bit on the expensive side.
    I was thinking Mac mini with external firewire hard drives (like the ministack).

    I would like to be able to boot up natively in any of the three operating systems, but would also like to run Win7 and Ubuntu in a virtual environment from within OS X (using either VM Ware, Parallels or Virtual Box).
    I haven't decided on the Mini yet, could be an iMac or even a 15" MB Pro but that doesn't really change the "equation"...

    How difficult would it be to set up a configuration like this ?

    Also, can I just go out and buy an OEM version of Win7 Ultimate or will I have to fork out extra for the retail box ?
  2. stuarthatto macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2008
    check out refit -

    I can't speak to your question about OEM vs Retail, I have no knowledge, but there are threads here that talk about this.

    VMware Fusion and Parallels will allow you to run Windows and Linux while running OSX obviously, but again I can't say whether these will be accessible as bootable machines when using refit and not Boot Camp.

  3. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    A couple of comments.

    Windows will not boot from an external nicely, so plan on it (at least the OS) being on the internal HDD. The external FW drives can be used for data, OS X and Linux. As stuarthatto pointed out, rEFIt helps to keep it all straight.

    OEM is a personal choice. It isn't licensed to end users and comes with enough license restrictions that retail may just be a better choice if you can afford it or if you care to be "properly licensed". You should read the following blog post and the licenses and decide for yourself.
    Licenses are linked to at the bottom of

    Fusion/Parallels/Virtualbox all allow you to boot your native (i.e. Boot Camp) Windows install as a VM, but I am not sure about Linux on an external. I'll have to try that for grins. At least for that, the licensing would allow you to install a separate instance of Ubuntu in a VM without questions.

  5. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    I'll look into that, thx. Seems that rEFIt might be what I'm looking for.

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