View Full Version : [SOLVED] Partition Table Design for Multi Boot Linux Distro, using Grub bootloader

October 25th, 2009, 06:17 AM
##Updated on 22 May 2010 for Win XP behavior
Partition Table Design/Scheme/Planning for Multi Boot Many/Multiple Linux Distro, Windows OS, or Mac, using Grub bootloader[GRUB 0.97 Legacy]
check your existing partition table:
$ sudo fdisk -l

This is my partition table design on paper![the spaces are not shown, sorry]
Name,FileSys,MountPoint,Size, Linux form, Grub form
Winxp NTFS na 200MB /dev/sda1 (hd0,0)
Ubuntu ext3 / 15GB /dev/sda2 (hd0,1)
LinuxMint ext3 / 10GB /dev/sda3 (hd0,2)
Extended ext3 na /dev/sda4 (hd0,3)
## All the partitions above are primary partitions.
## All the partitions below are logical partitions.
Bootloader1 ext3 na 200MB /dev/sda5 (hd0,4)
Backup ext3 na 200MB /dev/sda6 (hd0,5)

Winxp ntfs na 10GB /dev/sda7 (hd0,6)
MacOSX hfsplus na 10GB /dev/sda8 (hd0,7)
DistroY ext3 / 10GB /dev/sda9 (hd0,8)

Data1 ext3 na 15GB /dev/sda10 (hd0,9)
Data2 ext3 na 15GB /dev/sda11 (hd0,10)
Data3 ext3 na 15GB /dev/sda12 (hd0,11)

Ext4 ext4 na 1GB /dev/sda13 (hd0,12)
NTFS ntfs na 1GB /dev/sda14 (hd0,13)
FAT32 fat32 na 1GB /dev/sda15 (hd0,14)
Swap swap swap 1GB /dev/sda16 (hd0,15)

##Note, the small partiiton at the beginning is for WinXP, because it will install some small booting files on partition 1 whether you like it or not... but you can still install the rest in any other logical partitions.

----------== original post
Make the partition table on paper first
## 15GB for Ubuntu because my vitualization[VirtualBox] alone takes 4GB
## For faster Linux operations, install Ubuntu in the front[low numbered cylinders]

## Reserve Primary 1 to 3 for Windows OS or BSD..., Linux can pick any other partitions to install

## NO shared /boot partition!!! each distro is installed into each / partition, and the distro's bootloader[Grub or Lilo] is installed into that partition as well at the same time, for easy chainloader Multi boot

## NO shared /home partition! Use Data_sdaX partitions!
Make [keyboard] shortcuts inside every distro's /home

## One main bootloader partition[5 BM/distro], see reference below...

Before making changes to partition table...
## Make sure the NTFS drive is not too fragmented if resizing it
## Boot from a Live CD for partitioning, NOT from an HDD installed distro! Unmount the HD or USB that you want to partition
## fdisk is more reliable then GParted

When installing a new distro...
## Do not allow any distro to format any partition during it's installation. Tell it to use the already existing partition that you have created already.

## when installing a new distro, just specify swap partition, / partition, and also set the distro's bootloader to be installed into that / partition[Not MBR!!!]

When adding another distro or upgrading existing distro...
## Just install the new distro (instead of upgrading) as many times as you'd like into its own / partition for a clean install(upgrade). Easy!
## No hacker distro is installed, unless you put a password on Grub!

see more details at ...
Moving from Dual Boot to Multi boot [Dedicated GRUB Partition]

Install Ubuntu in the front[low numbered cylinders]
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot#Disadvantage%20of%20Installing%20U buntu%20after%20Windows

HowTo: Partitioning Basics

New HOWTO: Linux Partition HOWTO
Partitioning Windows and Ubuntu


swap partition size

A Short Guide to Partitioning a Hard Drive for a Linux System
http://www.linuxquestions.org/linux/answers/Hardware/A_Short_Guide_to_Partitioning_a_Hard_Drive_for_a_L inux_System

JustLinux Web Forums, by saikee,
A grub menu booting 100+ systems of Dos, Windows, Linux, BSD

How to install and boot 145 operating systems in a PC.

Just booting tips

How to use Grub2 to boot Linux manually

How can a Linux user multi boot a new additional Linux?

A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

How to Multi-boot (Maintain more then 2 OS)

GRUB bootloader - Full tutorial

Multiple-booting Guide by Ghosh

Multi Distribution Boot Howto

Making a Dedicated Grub Partition

Note: Say if you delete partition (hd0,2), then the UUID of partition (hd0,3), (hd0,4), (hd0,5),..., and UUID of swap partition will change, plus (hd0,3) will change to (hd0,2)..., causing boot errors.
So either you only resize partitions, or edit the sub menu menu.lst, ok?

To find UUID:
$ sudo blkid

Thanks for above articles.
Any suggestions/corrections welcome

May 22nd, 2010, 04:09 PM
##Updated on 22 May 2010 for Win XP behaviour. See original post.