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Old 03-27-2009, 05:07 PM   #1
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multiple linux distros

I am a newbie at linux and would like to know if you can install more than one distro on the one hard disk and if so how do I go about it
thank you
Old 03-27-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by leovil View Post
I am a newbie at linux and would like to know if you can install more than one distro on the one hard disk and if so how do I go about it
thank you
Yes is possible to install Multi distro in one hard drive, if you are planning to install windows also then you will have to install your windows distro first and then to install Linux.
which distro you`re planing to install ?
Old 03-27-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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This "how-to" is for Newbie's who wanna install Multiple distro's but are confused about partitioning/grub/lilo setup.
Ubuntu is a "hold-your-hand" type distro for people switching over to linux from Winblowz. Ubuntu is powerful in it's ability to "auto-recognize" your other various distro's on various partitions and will autoinstall grub so that all your partitions will be bootable at boot time (most likely).
Many other distro's you have to configure grub/lilo manually or they miss the other partitions and have to be configured.
If there are mistakes in this how-to I will try to catch them or if others see something amiss-please correct me...
Also-ask others about whether to install windows first or second to last-I'm not sure.

Step-1= Plan out your Partition layout for your Hard Drive. If you have a large HD you may want 3-10 partitions or more...
As an example in this "How-To" I'm gonna install Ubuntu-8.04.02, Debian-Lenny-5.0, Slackware-12.2, Fedora-10, STUX-2.0, PCLinuxOS, and Windows XP.
My HD is 160GB (149GB) (smallish but it'll do.) and 1GB RAM Desktop PC. Stick with me 'cause this is gonna be easier than fishing with Dynamite!
So-for my HD after partitioning with Gparted below it might look like this-substitute (S)DA/(H)DA with what Gparted says your HD is=SDA or HDA.
SDA-1 Ubuntu-8.04.02 EXT3 (25GB)
SDA-2 Windows XP NTFS (30GB)
SDA-3 Debian EXT3 (15GB)
SDA-4 Extended Partition (79GB)
SDA-5 Slackware-12.2 EXT3 (25GB)
SDA-6 Fedora-10 EXT3 (20GB)
SDA-7 PClinuxOS EXT3 (20GB)
SDA-8 STUX-2.0 EXT3 (12GB)
SDA-9 SWAP (2.0GB) (according to RAM...512MB-RAM=1.25GB/1GB-RAM=2GB SWAP)

Step-2=Download all the Linux ISO's that you plan to install-Let's say 4-5 Distro's (or more) Plus Windows If you want...
You can have 3 Primary Partitions and Multiple Logical Partitions within an Extended Partition-All will be explained clearly!Don't worry! This is made for a Newbie BY a Newbie!

Step-3= (Note-if you already have Ubuntu installed burn the CD(s) there.) Download Ubuntu-8.04.02. Burn the .iso image to a CD-R(only), not CD-RW. Use "k3b" with Ubuntu-it's good (It's in the Ubuntu "Synaptic Package Manager"-just install k3b using Synaptic while running "LIVE" and then remember to choose "BURN CD IMAGE"! Also choose it to run at 8x or less! Most CD burn errors are from trying to burn it too fast. Choose "DAO" too. Probably use Nero in Windows-?

Step-4= (NOTE-in the next few steps whatever you have on your HD is gonna get formatted-so this is for a totally Fresh install on an empty HD!)
Boot from the Ubuntu Live CD-use the "Try Ubuntu Without Any Change to Your Computer"(Live). It will boot to a BROWN desktop.

Step5= Once at the Desktop-go up to the top panel and click "SYSTEM"/ADMINISTRATION/PARTITION EDITOR. Gparted will open up displaying your HD info.

Step-6= Delete all existing partitions using the "delete" button-click "apply".
Now, Click the "New" button-a GUI will pop up-
"Create As"=choose "Primary Partition"
"FileSystem"=choose "EXT3"
"Free Space Proceding"=choose "0"
"New Size"= "25GB"
"Free Space Remaining"=should be set when you choose above
Now click "Add"
Now click "Apply"
This will create HDA/SDA-1

Step-7= Do the same for the next 2 Partitions-SDA 2 and 3, EXT3 for both, 30GB and 15GB respectively. ALWAYS CLICK "APPLY" FOR EACH PARTITION BEFORE DOING THE NEXT PARTITION.

Step-8= Now to create the Extended Partition (SDA-4) do as above Except it's like this-
"Create As"="Extended Partition"
"New Size"= "79GB"
Click "Apply".

Step-9= Now simply create the next partitions-SDA-5/6/7/and 8 as with 1-3 except like this-
"Create As"=Logical Partition"
"New Size"=25gb/20GB/20GB/12GB
remember to click "apply" for each one before doing the next partition.

Step-10= Make the Swap partition with the remaining 2GB-
"create as"= "Logical Partition"
"File System"="Swap"
Click apply.

Step-11=Time to start installing the distro's!
Ubuntu ,and MOST-but not all Ubuntu variants have the great feature of being able to "auto-know" how many distro's you have installed when it installs GRUB-so ALWAYS INSTALL UBUNTU LAST! More about this later.

Step-12= First we're gonna install Debian Lenny to SDA-3. Go through the install, just don't partition anything-just choose to format SDA-3 to EXT3 and set it as your root directory "/"=mountpoint.
Set the bootable flag on SDA-3.
Make sure it installs either GRUB or Lilo to the "MBR", not SDA-3, don't install grub/lilo to any partition-just "MBR"-it should say "SDA" or "HDA"

Step-13= Hopefully everything installed correctly-
Ok-reboot after install and hopefully Lenny boots up and loads the Desktop.
If everything is alright-put in the next linux distro and reboot-don't upgrade anything to any distro till after we've installed all of them.

Step-14= Now install whatever distro's remaining in any order to their partitions-so long as Windows is second to last and Ubuntu is last.
Slackware 12.2 might look hard-it's not-just remember you don't need "fdisk/cfdisk" so just type in "setup" and set the "/" root and swap target partitions. Also-don't try to configure LILO to add any partitions except it's own-so just tell LILO to add the partition your installing to-like if Slack's on SDA-5 just tell LILO to add SDA-5 to /etc/fstab , no others. Ubuntu is gonna do all the hard work of figuring out all the linux distro's so every time you install one distro-always install grub/lilo to the MBR on SDA/HDA. This sounds like the MBR is being overwritten each time-and it is but it won't matter 'cause Ubuntu know's what to do.
Also, you can just the leave the bootable flag on for SDA-3-it doesn't need to change with each new distro.

Step-15=Now install Windows-Watch Out because Windows might want the whole HD-don't let Windows partition anything-just format it's partition-SDA-2.
If Windows doesn't boot after install don't panic-that's what Ubuntu's for...

Step-16= Finally/Hopefully your almost done-for this example we just installed Windows and it boots ok, before Windows I installed Slackware 12.2/or whatever-of course Slack's not booting and it doesn't show up on the boot menu-no problem....

Step-17= Now, put in Ubuntu 8.04.02 and reboot.
Now, don't partition anything-choose "edit partition" set it to format SDA-1, set the mountpoint as "/" root, EXT3.
So, to be clear we're installing Ubuntu to SDA-1 and swap will be SDA-9.
Just go through each screen and accept the defaults.
OK-once Ubuntu starts installing to SDA-1 your almost Home.
Sooner or later the install GUI is gonna say "installing grub", then "updating grub", now a screen will pop up and say "Grub has found these other Operating Systems, do you want Grub to add these to /etc/fstab" or "do you want to boot these partitions at boot time"
This is what we've been waiting for-CHOOSE YES!
Grub should finish installing and then ask to reboot.
Reboot and...Hopefully/Probably all your distro's plus Windows will show up on the Grub boot screen-Hell Yeah!

That's the easy way for a newbie and how I did all my installs until I figured out how to setup grub/lilo-just let Ubuntu do the hard part of figuring out how many partitions you have and the differing OS's.

Last edited by linus72; 03-27-2009 at 08:12 PM.
Old 03-28-2009, 05:26 PM   #4
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Thumbs up multiple linux distros

Thanks to all who have assisted in replying to my initial query re installing multiple distros


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