Can I install mutiple operatng systems with linux? like bot mac and windows?
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Distribution: Slackware 14.1, 14.2
Dual boot implies you have two operating systems installed on your drives, and you can boot one or the other OS. You can boot as many OS's as the boot loader program and disk space allow.
Boot loaders come with all linux distros. The two most common are grub and lilo. Grub is the more modern, and in my opinion, a little more difficult to configure. Lilo has a few more limitations. I have one system I used lilo on, and booted w98, mandrake 9.2 and mandriva 2007.
The only limitation is the hardware you are going to load any OS on. You need to find out if there are drivers ( windows speek) for the hardware, and of course if the OS will run on the CPU you have.
Usually, everything goes fine and you don't need to mess with the boot loader. I started using LILO and now I'm using grub (I always use the one that's installed by default!!!).
Also, in the beginning I was said that the best to do is:
1 - Whipe your HD.
2 - Create the partitions.
3 - Install all the OTHER operating systems (OS) you want, in their partitions.
4 - Install linux and let the boot loader manage the booting...
(Of course, if you want to keep your data, don't "whipe the HD". It's good to defrag the disk...).
For your information, a boot loader is a program that's located in the beginning of your disk and it is the first thing that's launched at boot time (after the BIOS). This little program knows where the OS are and, after your selection, gives control to that OS...
Key thing to remember: always back up your data before doing something like this. (Obviously, you should always do that, but in this case it is critical.)
If you install, say, Ubuntu, you can have the Ubuntu installer resize your Windows partition and it will set up the dual booting for you. You will choose the OS you want at boot time.
If it is not possible to reinstall Windows and all your programs (ie if you have lost your activation codes for some software) you should not try dual booting. I've never had a problem, but there is (as always) a small probability that anything can go wrong.
I'd recommend installing Virtualbox or VMWare in Windows and then installing a couple of Linux distros inside of that. That way you can understand how dual booting works. You might try with Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS, for instance. Virtualbox and VMWare will prevent you from screwing up your Windows system, though it will be slow.