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I need to try out Win 8 and learn it, and I want to triple boot it (because I'm only going to use it when I have to) with Ubuntu and Windows 7 already installed.

The current boot loader is Windows' boot loader and I want to keep it that way. Whether it is Windows 8 or 7's boot loader doesn't matter, but I want to be able to boot all three with Windows 7 as default.

I also want to use an external drive for Windows 8. (It's connected through USB.)

Can I keep/use any of the loaders that Windows has and be able to link them all together, when Windows 8 is on an external drive which is connected through USB? If it works, but is slow or otherwise suboptimal, that's fine.

I read another post about this before asking but since I have a short supply of primary partitions I'm willing to format to convert to logical I wanted to specify my question a bit.

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In my experience Windows always needs to be on the drive that has been set as the first boot HDD device in BIOS. I don't remember whether I have tried it with Windows 8 but probably it's still the same.

So if you want to boot Windows 8 from the external drive you should select that one as the first boot device from BIOS or BIOS' boot menu. If you select Windows 8(that is on a second drive) from the Windows 7 boot loader (that is on the first drive) Windows 8 will start to load but after few seconds the computer will reboot.

You could also try to fit all the operating systems to the same hard drive and use the external for storage. Or run Windows 8 inside Virtualbox if that is enough for your needs.

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No problems to install any Windows to logical partition. There must be at least one primary active partition on first HDD for boot related files.

If you install Windows 8 on a computer with existing Win 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 Windows 8 boot files will replace that of Windows 7, an entry for Windows 8 will be added in BCD (boot configuration data).

To view complete BCD contents (and edit it) you can use Visual BCD Editor.

For booting any Linux/Unix descendant using Windows boot manager see Dual boot Windows 7 and Linux/UNIX.

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