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> How To Triboot A Computer
post Dec 10 2005, 07:10 PM
Post #1


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Here is the tutorial I made with the info I got from budman7 and smolloy

It can help anybody including me and should be sticked

How to Triboot a Computer

Distro 1= Prime Distro example (Windows)
Distro 2= The 2nd distro to be installed, this can be any distro (This controls the bootloader)
Distro 3= The 3rd distro to be installed, this can be any distro

Things to do Before You Start if you are using Windows as the Prime Distro and if not you can skip it.

Backup Computer
Run Defraging tools
Scan for Spyware
Scan for Viruses
Run chkdsk

These are good steps for Window's users and can be used in Linux also

This guide focuses primarly on the GRUB bootloader to Triboot

You can also use the Knoppix Live cd or the partitioner that comes with your distro these include Diskdruid in Fedora Core,Qtparted in SuSE and Kdrak in Mandriva and GParted (Gnome Partition Editor)in the GNOME desktop. There are also partition tools that you can use that do the same thing but in text mode are Parted,fdisk,cfdisk

Download A Copy of the latest Knoppix from

This is very important because this is the Live cd we are going to use to partition the hardrive to get it ready to Triboot.

Step 1:Bootup the Cd you have made then make sure the computer can bootup the cd.To do this you need to get into the bios this can be accessed by pressing the "Delete" key, for some compaq's it's the "F10" key and there's even "F1" or "F2" for other computers.You will then find an option for the boot order.

The correct setup should be


Step 2:Once Knoppix is running you must now Unmount all partitions.

You do this by going into My Computer you will then see all of the partitions.Right click on one of them it will then give you the option to unmount.Select it and it will then be unmounted you must do this for all of the partitions.

You must do this for all of the drives or else the computer can't be partitioned

Step 3:Click on the KDE logo then go to run application and type qtparted in lowercase then hit run or click QTParted in the menu

Step 4:This will now startup QTparted

The drive I am going to resize is a NTFS partition.

Step 5:Now we begin the process of resizeing the hard drive

1.Select the /dev/hda for IDE or /dev/sda for a SCSI drive on the left, then you should see its info on the right

2.Select the NTFS partition and right-click on it, then select Resize.

3.Next you'll see the Resize Partition dialog.

4.Enter the size you want for your existing Prime Distro to be resized and then click OK.

This can be done in Gigabytes or Megabytes

5.After clicking OK you'll see an updated view of your partitions. Note that nothing has actually changed yet; you must select File then Commit to apply the changes.

6.Just click Yes on the confirmation dialog.

7.You'll see the progress dialog and when it's done click the OK button

8.Now Select File then Quit to exit QTParted

9.You should now boot into the Prime Distro it will then detect the partition that you have made but it will be unformatted.

Now boot back into QTParted the way you did before and Delete Distro 2 and the Swap Partition by right clicking it and hitting delete

Now you should have the Prime Distro and a bunch of free space.

Here is how you would go on to create the extended partition with two partitions inside of it that contain the two distros that will be added to the triboot.

With QTparted this will be quite simple and you don't really need a guide. The mepis guide that you linked to is quite detailed, and if you read that you will get the general idea of how qtparted operates.

Basically you will want to click on any free space you have, and choose the option to create a partition (it will be an icon somewhere near the upper left of the screen). Then choose the option to make it an extended partition, and move the slider at the top to choose the size you want (in this case 8GB).

After you've done this you'll be able to click inside this partition and choose to create another partition. This time make it a logical partition, and format it as ext3 (if that is indeed what you want). Also make sure to set its size to 4GB. Once you've finished this, repeat for the remainder of the partition, to create the second logical ext3 partition inside the extended partition.

If you want to make a swap partition, then put this before (to the left) of the extended partition. In fact it might be best to do this before you create the extended partition. The process to do this is basically the same as before -- click on some empty space, choose "create a new partition", set the size, type, etc., and that's it.

It really is quite easy and I'm sure you'll have no problems. Just be sure to defragment and chkdisk any windows partitions you intend to move or resize, and everything should go smoothly.

Good luck.

When installing the Operating System it will give you the most common options which are Reiserf and Ext3.

Also many distros support Custom Partioning which will give you more formatting Options.

A file system is added to the computer whenever you install an Operating System to it.

Below are some examples of filesystems that can be formatted or resized.



Its also a good idea to add Swap if you have a low memory computer which will use the Swap as temporary ram also the Swap partition should be formatted as Swap.

If the swap is inside the extended partition, you will have to delete the swap first.

Step 7:Now Install Distro 3 by Booting the install cd as if you were going to boot Slax and Install bootloader to the root partition.

Step 8:Install Distro 2 using swap already created from installing Distro 3 and putting GRUB on the MBR which will make GRUB the bootloader that is controlled by Distro 2.

GRUB can be put anywhere but for this tutorial we are going to be put on the MBR so Distro 2 becomes the bootloader.

When installing other operating systems

Distro 2 should now make an entry in GRUB for both the Prime Distro and Distro 3.

The computer should now be restarted I you will be shown the Distro 2 GRUB Bootloader which contains the Prime Distro,Distro 2 and Distro 3.

The computer can now Triboot

Make sure you don't put Swap for Distro 2 on the partition where you are going to install Distro 2 to. By default Distro 2 should make a Swap partition or detect a Swap that is on the computer and mount it.

For Installing new linux distros install to the partition so Distro 2 Grub doesn't get overwritten

A Big Thanks to budman7 and smolloy for supplying the info

Here are two other sites that are a guide with pictures.

And One for Isos
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post Dec 11 2005, 07:19 AM
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Its GNU/

Group: Support Specialist
Posts: 1,284
Joined: 14-November 04
From: Southampton, Hampshire
Member No.: 4,165

Any chance you could add this to the wiki? Guides etc. are better off there since they can be modified by other users and therby become more useful and accurate.


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