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I have a MacBook Pro that dual-boots Ubuntu 12.04 and OS X Snow Leopard. I'd like to upgrade OS X to Mountain Lion, but have never done this on a dual-boot OS X system before. Will the upgrade work safely, or is it to likely to mess with the EFI stuff and my partitions?

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For future reference, it seems like there are more questions on dual-booting OS X and Linux on – Nick Hawes Sep 3 '12 at 10:11

I did the same thing about four days ago, but the upgrade was from Lion to Mountain Lion. I also have done the same with Snow Leopard to Lion. I have a triple boot with windows 7, ubuntu 12.04, and osx, with refit (which I highly recommend installing if you haven't already). All of this on a MacBook Pro 5.5.

How I upgraded was through the app store (downloaded, and then clicked open the file and told it to install. I did not upgrade through making a DVD or usb, and it was not a clean install, so I can't say if that will some how change things.) and it worked perfectly fine for me. I'd be interested though to see if anyone has had issues like that before.

But, hope this helps ease your worries. If anything just be safe and back everything up of course.



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So, you upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard on a triple-boot system? This is useful be Lion already introduces the recovery partition, doesn't it? If this worked fine, then I think I'll try it out. – Nick Hawes Aug 30 '12 at 10:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'm going to answer my own question, as it was not a straight-forward process, but it all worked safely in the end.

  1. After downloading the Mountain Lion installer from the App Store, I ran it, but it wouldn't allow me to install onto my "Macintosh HD", giving the message "This disk cannot be used to start up your computer".

  2. The solution to this is to resize your target install permission to provide 128MB of space afterwards, as described here. However, my disk couldn't be resized as disk utility produced the error "MediaKit reports no such partition".

  3. However, I was able to run disktutil resizeVolume from the term, but this failed during the validation stage due to errors in the filesystem. Disk Utility was unable to fix these online, so I needed to boot from an OSX install disk to run Disk Utility from there.

  4. At this point I ran into an issue that my Leopard and Snow Leopard install CDs wouldn't boot up correctly (the former just hung, the latter kept restarting my system). Luckily I had a Lion install CD, and this was able to boot and I could run Disk Utility from there to repair the partition. Interestingly, I couldn't resize the volume from there (it gave an error that the filesystem type wasn't correct, even though it was), so

  5. I had to boot back into Snow Leopard and run the resize from the command line.

At this point the installer ran and let me select the newly resized partition. The partitioning for my dual boot setup meant that the installer warned me that "Some features of Mac OS X are not supported for the disk Macintosh HD", but that as OK and the installer ran fine.

After this Mountain Lion was installed fine but my rEFIt boot menu had vanished. This was an expected part of the update process (as documented here) and I just had to run

cd /efi/refit

and the menu was back at the next restart.

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