I am currently running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 on my laptop. I would like to install more than one Linux distro, IN ADDITION TO Windows 7. How do I go about this, what do I need to be careful and aware of, is it possible?

The specific distros I might eventually install:

  • Definitely: Ubuntu (is it a good idea to install the Linux-Secure-Remix version?)
  • Almost definitely: OpenSUSE
  • Probably: Zorin
  • Possibly: Arch
  • Possibly: Fedora
  • Possibly: FreeBSD

Computer details:

  • Successfully used WUBI for Ubuntu in the past
  • Recently reinstalled Windows using the RECOVERY partition
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64
  • model: ASUS K53U series
  • AMD Brazos Dual Core E450 1.65 GHz
  • 750GB hard drive, currently partitioned into C: (300GB total, 246 GB free), D: (373GB - total, 167 GB free), and RECOVERY (the rest of the space, I think)
  • 4GB RAM

Can I be sure that GRUB will work, if WUBI has worked?

In short, how do I go about triple- or quadruple-booting Windows 7, Ubuntu and other distros? What do I need to be aware of? How do I set up the partition structure?

Thank you in advance

  • @TrailRider Feel free to edit my answer, I made it CW. – Lucio Nov 2 '13 at 15:47
  • @Lucio thank you I did just that, I didn't want to horn in just to address this, you had answered the question well. I just wanted to address what was kind of a "second" question that I saw. I will not be insulted if you think I have butchered your answer and roll-back..;) – TrailRider Nov 2 '13 at 16:04

Well, dual booting is kind of pushing it already. You will find that over time you stop using all OSes but one.

If you REALLY want to have multiple OSes, VMs are the best way to go. You can install, uninstall, and trash them at will. =]

If you REALLY REALLY want to have more than 2 OSes that are NOT in a VM, just create a partition for each. Finally install something like GRUB or BURG.

  • I agree with this, but must also point out that we're midway through a conversion from BIOS-mode to EFI-mode booting. If multi-booting is really required, it's imperative to first identify the current boot mode, because mixing boot modes is tricky, and multi-boot procedures differ for BIOS vs. EFI. See here for how to identify your current boot mode. – Rod Smith Nov 2 '13 at 17:11
  • Sorry, I completely forgot about the pain that is EFI. – Kaz Wolfe Nov 3 '13 at 4:45
  • I completely disagree with this. I and many many others dual/triple etc boot and have done for years and will continue to do so. Otherwise bootloaders like rRFInd, GRUB and OSX's own native uefi boot managers would not exist. Virtualisations and containerization is brilliant the guest is never as powerful as naively booted os due to sharing resources. – jowan sebastian Sep 15 '16 at 6:57
  • @jowansebastian This answer was written for a relative noob to Ubuntu about three years ago. Since then, there have been many new things, like UEFI and similar that have made dual-booters' lives much easier. Hell, I run four OSes at the moment, but I have legitimate uses for all of them. Not everybody has the latter. – Kaz Wolfe Sep 15 '16 at 6:59
  • @KazWolfe OK so we are to deter relative noob's from achieving their goals and not answer their questions ? They question was 2 years ago, I have been triple booting on Mac's for the past 7 years with refind and grub etc, no advancements in that time have made it any easier. Dual booting is simple and a really great way to better understand you computer on a hardware and OS level. Give it a go everyone! Feel the power. – jowan sebastian Sep 15 '16 at 7:11

If you just want to try out the different distros I would advise to run them in a virtual machine (eg. virtualbox). you can install the os and try it out and when you don't need it just remove the machine and it is all gone. afterward you can always decide to install the distro on the hardware.

  • +1 this is good advice, if you(the OP) are only going to install all the listed OS's just to give them a try I would recommend this also, then when you decide which one(s) you like you can install them to your hard-drive...this saves any problems(rare,but still a risk) that might happen when uninstalling the unwanted OS's...it will also prevent having to re-size/move partitions on the hard drive after unistalling them.... – TrailRider Nov 2 '13 at 15:50

First advice: don't use WUBI any more.

To set multiple Operative Systems in the same machine, you have to install them, one by one, there is no mystery here.

After install all the hundreds of OS that you wanted, if you cannot boot in every one because you don't see them in a boot manager or if there is no boot manager at all, then you will need to repair it.

That's all.

In fact, there are plenty of questions here asking the same thing (how to do it? what will happen? etc.) and every one of them finish on the same subject, repairing the GRUB.

To address the part of your question about the "Remix" version...

The major difference between that and the vanilla Ubuntu it that the remix will save your Windows bootloader before it is overwritten by GRUB.

If you might want to make it a standard Windows install again you can just restore the bootloader file with the remix CD. If you have a Windows 7 install disc you can also use it(question here will tell you how to do it) so if you have the Windows CD or know that you will not need to restore the windows bootloader(this will make all other OS's unbootable BTW) then using the remix is really not needed but you can still use it if you want to.

Using the Remix will give you a Vanilla Ubuntu install plus a few other useful programs (boot-repair is one for example) but they are all available via the Software Center(or via ppa in the case of boot-repair) for install after you have installed Ubuntu.

  • Thank you - I was never planning to use WUBI in the first place. – user210606 Nov 2 '13 at 17:31

I did this recently. I will endeavor to actually describe the process in some more detail than previous replies.

The equipment: DIY computer with Asus z170 motherboard, intel i7 quadcord CPU drives: m.2 SSD, 640 gb 7200 rpm Seagate, 1 tb 7200 rpm Western Digital

You have to install Windows first. I installed Windows 10 from a Microsoft thumb drive onto the m.2 SSD.

Next I installed Ubuntu Studio from a live DVD. I downloaded the ISO onto our iMac and burned the ISO onto a DVD using toast.

When booting from live DVD, a crucial point, which may seem obvious to anyone else, but not to me, in BIOS I didn't notice at first, but I was given two different DVD boot options. Only the second one, with "UEFI" in the name, would actually successfully install the darn thing, see below for why***. My BIOS is UEFI.

During this Linux install and subsequent ones, I generally do NOT select any additional options, for example, encrypt home, install third party, etc. This seemed to hang the install.

When the installer gave options to install alongside, or erase the detected OS, I choose "Something else" so that I could set aside hard drive space differently for each OS. For example for Ubuntu Studio, I placed root, swap on the Seagate drive, but put home on the Western Digital Drive, which I actually partitioned into two, one for Windows and one for Linux. The reason for this, I would be doing video editing with Ubuntu Studio, and it is considered better to keep your OS files on a different drive from your data, for better performance.

I was generous, I gave 100 gb for the Ubuntu Studio root.

I designed the boot loader to go onto the m.2 partition labeled UEFI, Windows Boot manager. ***This is where you would go wrong if you didn't boot from the UEFI DVD option, because it wouldn't recognize the partition as UEFI Windows Boot manager.

So this was no problem. Dual boot worked fine, other than some clock issues, which I will describe below.

So now, triple boot. I used a MINT Live DVD created in a similar process as described above. Again, select the UEFI option to boot from in BIOS.

I put the root and swap and home all on the Seagate drive for this one, because I wasn't really concerned about performance or drive space for this particular OS.

Again, I selected the m.2 UEFI partition labeled Windows Boot manager for where to put the boot loader. I have read elsewhere that it is possible to NOT install a second boot loader, but I didn't seem to have that option. Also, it may be possible to put the second boot loader in a different partition? IDK. But, see below for what happened at the end of the quadruple boot****.

The install completed successfully and I booted into MINT no problem. Then....

I think I may have booted into Windows to make sure that would work. After that the boot manager disappeared.

So I ran "boot-repair" from a CD. At the end of the first repair attempt it mentioned creating a separate EFI partition using Gparted and to turn off Secure Boot. So I ended up doing both of these because the first repair attempt didn't fix the boot manager. (Actually, come to think of it, I may have used the Windows disk management to create the EFI partition.)

So I ran boot-repair again, advanced options, and selected the option for separate partition. It didn't allow me to pick the new partition I created, only the original boot partition on the m.2. But somehow this reappeared the boot manager. But the boot manager was a total mess. It listed like ten different boot options, some of which were redundant ("Windows UEFI" AND "Windows boot manager" on the same menu with the same function).

So I had a fully functional triple boot. Getting to this point was a huge time suck frankly because it took me a while to figure out the UEFI DVD boot issue so I took some pause before I went for the quadruple boot. But I wasn't pleased with the boot menu. However, I felt more confident having on hand the boot repair, so went for the quadruple.

So I wanted to install Elementary OS because this appears to be most like the iMac OS; this would be the default OS that my fiancée could use if the iMac was unavailable to her.

Again, a live DVD, pick the UEFI boot DVD option from BIOS. When it asked where to install the boot launcher I picked the Windows Boot Manager partition, not the newly created EFI partition I made earlier.

The install went well, and BONUS, ****the install cleaned up the boot manager list. So something in the installer went ahead and repaired it. Awesome.

Now, the clock.... Apparently with multiple boot Windows and Linux, the BIOS clock will be set by the various OSes to the wrong time. Others have brilliantly explained why this is. The solutions vary.

  1. Pretend like you live in Iceland. This means set your timezone to UTC+0. If you do this, you'll want to set network time to "off" in Windows and Linux. This seemed to work for dual-boot the clock was fine, but not for quadruple boot, not at all.

  2. a solution posted by Muru. This is a less common solution, but the only one that worked for me:

    timedatectl | grep local

    This command displays how the clock is currently set.

    timedatectl set-local-rtc 1

    This will make the clock use "local time".

  3. the most common suggestion, but I couldn't get the commands to run at all.

    1. edit /etc/default/rcS
    2. add or change the following section

      # set UTC=yes if your hardware clock is set to UTC (GMT)

Have fun!!!

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