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I have 43 partitions in hda, 60 in hdc (last 20 are 100Mb each for experimenting with Grub). The two Sata each have 15. All of them are 200Gb disks. Hdb is the CD drive.
I have between 50 to 60 installations but some need a bit of work to get them going. Some Linux can't cope with partition number larger than 16 or 20, some can go beyond 137Gb barrier and so I can have distros installable but not bootable. Even now the Red Hat distro can list partitions more than 16.
LInux permits 15 partitions in a Sata and 63 in an IDE but I haven't been able to get more than 60 partitions out of the IDE, as the partitioning program (cfdisk) can't cope.
However Linux is a great tools even just for assisting XP. One can use Linux to clone XP to save paying out a copy of Norton Ghost or Drive image.
14 months ago a guys in a Pajero (4x4) forum commented that he hadn't seen anything XP could do that Linux couldn't. I haven't been able to prove him wrong. But one thing for sure I have found something XP cannot do but Linux can and that is
Round up all the MS systems, put them in a box and Linux will boot all of them.
Just before any MS expert jumps in to claim NTLDR can multi-boot too he should investigate that XP's boot loader can't do more than one DOS-based system and NTLDR's boot menu has a maximum of 10 entries. Linux can boot any number of dead DOS, Win3x and Win9x systems because both Lilo and Grub can hide partitions and re-map the drive to "con" a MS system that it is booting to a "C" drive.
I don't have a practical use of 45+ systems in the box but I just couldn't believe booting in Linux is so simple and powerful.
How come PC users are still talking about "dual boot or "tri boot" when just one humble Grub floppy can boot 45+ systems, using the nearly same 3 lines of commands?
For booting with a Grub floppy the instruction entered at Grub prompt are just
(hd0,5) is just an example but it could be (hd3,15) etc
A bootable Grub floppy can be made by any Linux using Grub as its boot loader. Just boot up the Linux, pop a floppy into the drive and type
A Grub floppy produced this way has no operating system attached and can operate manually to boot any system.
In my 14 months of Linux adventure I haven't seen any thing so ridiculously simple and yet so powerfull in booting as a Grub floppy. It always works as long as the target system has its a boot loader in its root partition. I now have burn it in a CD and starting using Grub unattached to an operating system in the hard disk.