How to triple-boot Fedora 15, Ubuntu 11.04 and Windows 7

The computer should boot into the Ubuntu CD/DVD, and give you the option to boot into a Live desktop or to start the installation, bypassing the Live environment. If you boot into the Live desktop, click on the Install Ubuntu icon on the desktop to begin the installation. When the installer starts, click Forward until you get to the “Allocate drive space” step,

On the “Allocate drive space” window, the installer presents several options. Because partitions are going to be configured manually, the option to choose here is “Something else.” That will start Ubuntu’s Advanced partitioning tool.

On the Advanced partitioning tool window, the installer presents the detected partitions. Notice the two ntfs partitions. The third partition is the boot partition of the Fedora 15 installation and /dev/sda5 is the first logical partition on the system configured for use by LVM. Ubuntu’s desktop installer does not “understand” LVM, so as far as it is concerned, there is nothing on that partition. In other words, it does not “know” that Fedora 15 is installed on the same disk.

For Ubuntu, separate partitions for the following mount points will be configured: /boot, Swap, / and /home. Because the number of primary partitions allowed has been exhausted, they will all be logical partitions. To begin, select the free space, then click Add.

For the boot partition, a disk space of 500 MB should be more than enough. And the mount point is /boot. OK.

With the boot partition configured, select the free space, then click Add to create the next partition. Note that this step will have to be repeated for the other partitions.

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Next partition will be for Swap, so select “swap area” from the “Use as” dropdown menu, and allocate a reasonable disk space to it. The default is usually 2 GB. OK.

The third partition will be for /, the root file system. File system type is ext4. It does not have to be ext4. Btrfs is another good option, but to use btrfs, the partiton layout will be slightly different. See how to install Ubuntu 11.04 on a btrfs file system for guidance. Ubuntu 11.04 recommends a minimum of 4.4 GB of disk space for installation, so the space allocated for / in this example should be more than enough. OK.

The last partition will be mounted at /home and like the rest, the file system should be ext4. Unless you have other plans, the rest of the available space should be allocated to it. OK.

All the partitions are configured. Before clicking Install Now, you need to change the location where GRUB will be installed. By default, the installer will install it in the MBR, but we need it in the boot partition of the Ubuntu installation. So, click on the “Device for boot loader installation” menu and select the entry for the boot partition – /dev/sda6.

This just to show what the window should look like before you click on Install Now. Once that is done, continue with the rest of the installation.

After installation, the system will reboot into Wiindows 7. Now, we need to add an entry for Ubuntu to the boot menu by using EasyBCD just like we did for Fedora 15. So, start EasyBCD. This screenshot shows the previous entry. Click on the Add New Entry tab..

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Then on the Linux/BSD tab. Select “GRUB 2” from the Type dropdown menu. Unlike Fedora 15, which uses GRUB Legacy, Ubuntu uses GRUB 2. You may change the name to reflect the distribution being added. Click on Add Entry.

This shows you a preview of Windows 7 boot menu. You may change the order here, and change the default.

And this is the real thing. You see this every time you boot the computer. When you try to boot into Lovelock or Natty Narwhal, you will be presented with GRUB’s menu. Note that you can use any two Linux distributions for this setup. So, you could triple-boot Windows 7, Linux Mint and Ubuntu, Windows 7, Mandriva and Linux Mint. Your choice.

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