Triple Boot MacBook Pro Mid 2010 with SSD Boot Drive and HDD for Storage?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nopstnz8, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Nopstnz8 macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #1
    I'm trying to triple boot and add an SSD in the optical bay, while keeping the HDD for storage. What I want to do is install Ubuntu, Win 7, and the OSX operating systems onto the SSD into 3 partitions for the triple boot. I want to the use the HDD for storage for each of those individual partitions so I can have adequate storage space for cheaper, while enjoying the benefits of the SSD as a boot drive for all three OS's. Can this be done? I'm assuming I'd have 6 (or 7 including the Linux swap) partitions to accomplish this. Will the EFI be able to differentiate the bootable partitions on the SSD from the storage partitions on the HDD so I don't have 6 options when booting?

    I'd really prefer this setup over running only OSX from the SSD.

    Also, if there are issues using the SSD as a boot drive for all three OS's, is that related to the SATA port in the optical drive slot, or is that an EFI limitation with no resolutions to fix it? What if I was to run the SSD in the HDD slot and the HDD in the optical bay to accomplish my feat? Will a 1TB HDD or 750gb HDD fit in the optical bay?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. superericla, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #2
    You likely won't be able to see and boot all three partitions using Apple's EFI but if you use rEFIt then you shouldn't have any problems.

    Edit: What I would do is to first run the Boot Camp Assistant to partition your hard drive with one partition for OS X and one for Windows, giving the amount of space you wish to use for just Windows to the Boot Camp partition and the rest to the Macintosh HD partition. Then install Windows. After the Windows installation has finished, boot into OS X (I don't know how to do the next step in Windows), start Disk Utility, click the "Partition" tab for your SSD, and change the size of your Macintosh HD partition to give enough free space to install linux. Next, boot your linux distro of choice from a cd and use the free space to install linux. Then, boot OS X again and install rEFIt and go into the /efi/refit/ folder it creates, open terminal, and drag the "enable-always.sh" file into terminal and hit enter, entering your root password when asked. After that, every time you reboot you choose what OS to boot into. That's the simplest way I can think of to triple boot. The storage HDD shouldn't show up as any sort of boot option so that likely won't be an issue.

    Edit (again): Nevermind, you probably don't need to know the process of creating a triple-boot setup seeing as you're already apparently using one (looking at your specs). You shouldn't run into any problems with that sort of setup of using a triple boot with the operating systems on the SSD and the data on the HDD. The data partitions will most likely not show up in the EFI and running the SSD in the optical bay shouldn't produce any problems as well.
     
  3. Nopstnz8 thread starter macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #3
    Thanks. I've just been wondering if all this would actually work before I went out and bought the SSD. I'm currently dual booting off my HDD with Bootcamp and OSX, and running Ubuntu through Wubi on the Windows partition. I know rEFIt is really the only stable way to run three partitions and up, but I've been kind skeptical about it based on the part where you have to choose which system to boot into on startup. I know this is not a big issue, but since I'm so used to my Mac booting into OSX by default, does rEFIt allow you to define a default OS to boot into so that I can always boot into OSX by default, and do something like holding the option key to bring up the rEFIt screen like the default EFI bootmanager currently does? I just prefer the fact that if I'm in OSX, which is like 90% of the time, if there were updates being performed or maintenance tasks being done where OSX needed to restart to finish them, I'd like this to continue on reboot, even if I'm not near my computer. Same think for VNC if I needed to remotely reboot my Mac.
     
  4. superericla, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #4
    rEFIt doesn't allow you to choose a default operating system and I don't believe it can be chosen as an option by holding the option key at boot. rEFIt will automatically boot into the first partition of the hard drive after 20 seconds though so it would likely boot into OS X automatically after that time period. You don't have to permanently enable rEFIt either, you can choose a one-time enable which would only boot to rEFIt on the next startup.

    Edit: I've just now read up a bit more on rEFIt options and you can change the time before auto-boot to a lesser amount of time if you wanted. That way you could have a 5 or 10 second wait before auto-boot. This would allow for time to switch to a different operating system if needed while still basically booting into OS X by default (with only a 5 second difference in boot time).
    All you would need to do is open /efi/refit/refit.conf with text editor and change the timeout value to whatever number of seconds you want.
     
  5. Nopstnz8 thread starter macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #5
    Oh ok. As long as it automatically boots into a partition, being OSX, since it will be my first partition, then that's all I really care about. I just didn't want to leave something running overnight, then wake up and it's still sitting on the rEFIt screen. That's really been my only issue with switching over to rEFIt. Guess now that that's settled, I can try all this out.

    Another question... For the Linux partition, do you NEED to use a swap partition in conjunction with it for the best performance? If so, around how big does it need to be, percentage wise compared to the OS partition, and I would put this on the boot drive other than the HDD, correct?

    Last question... in regards to rEFIt, does Apple frown upon it when you bring your MacBook in for warranty work? I know the program doesn't actually modify the EFI, and that you can disable rEFIt, but I just don't want to have to do a crap load of system modifying if I ever have to bring my MacBook in at an inconvenient time.
     
  6. superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #6
    Seeing as you have 8GB of ram installed you'll likely not see much of a speed difference (if any) in using a swap partition. Personally I don't use one and I've had no speed issues. I don't believe Apple has anything wrong with you using rEFIt although I don't have any personal experience in bringing a computer in with rEFIt installed. Just so you know, rEFIt will likely be disabled on boot after some major OS X updates such as full operating system updates but it is easily re-enabled.
     
  7. superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #7
    Oh yeah, after you're done installing everything it may be necessary to update the MBR. That's easily doable by booting to the rEFIt screen and choosing the "Partitioning Tool". If it asks if you want to update as shown simply type a "y" and hit enter. This will just update the MBR and give the EFI a more accurate partition reading.
     
  8. Nopstnz8 thread starter macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #8
    Ok great! Thanks for answering all my questions. I've been trying to find answers to a few of them for quite some time, but came up empty in my searches, so I just gave up on Linux and went with Wubi. Now that I'm trying to get more out of Linux, I'm ready to Triple Boot. Oh and about the swap partition, I was never really sure what it was for, but now that you sorta clarified that, is it basically just virtual memory the hard drive uses as RAM, making it useless for me since I have 8GB of RAM? I'm just curious if that is the reason most people use swap partitions? Mainly for older devices to be able to get more RAM out of them? I thankfully don't need this now. Thanks again :)
     
  9. superericla macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    #9
    Yeah it basically works as virtual memory. It's similar to how OS X uses swap when the ram is full. Since you have 8GB of ram there's really no need. About answering your questions, it's really no problem. I have quite a bit of experience in setting up double and triple booting using rEFIt so if you have any more questions in the near future I'll be willing to help out.
     
  10. Nopstnz8 thread starter macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #10
    Thanks. I appreciate it and will definitely keep that in mind. Now I just need to pick an SSD. Lol.

    I'm not sure how much I want to spend yet, but I'll probably be going with one of those OCZ Vertex 3 SATA II drives.
     
  11. Nopstnz8 thread starter macrumors member

    Nopstnz8

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #11
    Oh... I just realized... How are backups affected with the OS's on the SSD and data on the HDD? I like to do full clones of each OS then do a update backup of that clone pretty often so if I ever need to restore, I get everything back. Will I have to do separate clones for the OS and data, for something like Carbon Copy Cloner for Mac?
     

Share This Page