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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > Multiple OS X partitions with "boot camp" XP

Multiple OS X partitions with "boot camp" XP
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powerbooks
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Jun 23, 2007, 01:49 AM
 
I have been hesitating with Apple's Boot Camp ever since its release. The main concern for me is the strange requirement of only one OS X partition and one Win XP partition. I have been using Parallels VM on my home iMac with wonderful results, but the real hardware booting into Win XP is still intriguing.

I always personally use Apple laptops and just bought the brand new 15LED MBP 2.2G (BTW, fabulous machine!) with only one internal hard drive. But I have been partitioning my laptop hard drive to more Mac OS partitions for multiple reasons: file organizations, big open space for audio/video processing, and multiple-boot for emergency repair/new OS testing. (Are these reasons enough? ) So a multiple mac partitioned hard drive is a must for me, and I am sure I am not the only one who has the same concern.

I am no tech geek, so I don't understand the rationale for Apple's decision not allowing more partitions with Boot Camp. I put my trust on the mac community to come up with a "hack" because I know I am not alone for this purpose. I have searched this forum quite a while, and the more I read about "Triple-boot" with duo Windows partitions (XP, vista, etc.), the more I am convinced that a duo Mac OS boot should also be possible. Now with my new MBP just arrived in the hall way, I decided to take a dive into the partition issue. (To be continued......)
( Last edited by powerbooks; Jun 23, 2007 at 03:33 AM. )
     
powerbooks  (op)
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Jun 23, 2007, 02:43 AM
 
Before Boot Camp, there have been successful attempt to install Win XP directly into MacIntel machines (remember the contest?). At that time, there is no mention why only one Mac OS partition is necessary. The only thing I remember was that you have to burn a special Win XP boot CD for that. I was prepared to go through the old way if the "Boot Camp" route was proven impossible.

Last night, I was inspired by one thread on Mac OS X Hints about "Burn Boot Camp drivers without running Boot Camp". While this is a known trick for the Parallels community for a while (that's how we got iSight working in VM XP), the main interesting statement was the author claim: "I manually partitioned my drive into four partitions: Mac OS, Users, Windows (NTFS), and Scratch. You can install/run Windows on this partition scheme as long as Windows is either the second or third partition of your system." That's exactly what I need! So it might be truly possible.

I opened my brand new MBP, and went ahead to boot into OS X 10.4.9 disc. Then launched Disk Utility, and partitioned the hard drive into three parts: Two in Mac OS extended, one in MS-DOS format. I followed the quick OS X installation into the first partition, and once it started okay, I inserted a Win XP install CD into the slot and went to Startup Disk Preference Pane. To my pleasant delight, the Win XP disc was recognized as a bootable source. I went ahead selecting it and restart. In order to boot into Win XP disc, I have to hold "C" for the start up, and after the "windowish" dark black screen, I got the Windows blue screen! And the CD began setting the installation.

Once I got into the partition scheme, I could see two unrecognizable partitions (my mac HFS+ parts) and one "C" partition with FAT format. That's my target Win partition. Selected it and reformated into Win NTFS, the installation took about 35 minutes, and it worked! (To be continued......)
( Last edited by powerbooks; Jun 23, 2007 at 03:34 AM. )
     
powerbooks  (op)
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Jun 23, 2007, 03:12 AM
 
Sure, I installed Boot Camp Assistant 1.3 while I was in OS X, and copied the driver files from the hidden disk image into a USB flash drive. Once I was in XP, the driver installation was a piece of cake. Time for rebooting: I held the "option" key, and two hard drive images popped up: one mac, one windows. So far so good.

Once the drivers were installed, the Boot Camp really felt like a windows machine: fast and clean. By the time booting back to Mac OS X, I got three hard drive images on my desktop: two Macs, and one "Untitled" windows. Mission (half) accomplished!

Can I make it triple-boot? Mac-Mac-WinXP? That was exactly what I tried next, I used the 10.5 preview disc and successfully install the new OS into the second Mac partition sandwiched between another Mac and the XP partition.

In conclusion: the Boot Camp requirement of single mac OS partition is not necessary, it might only be needed if you don't want to erase your hard drive for resizing/creating windows partition. I am quite surprised that my old Window XP CD can directly boot a new MBP, and the implication is significant: you can format almost the entire hard drive to NTFS and make the MBP a 100% Wintel machine without going through Boot Camping.

Finally, the triple-boot was really easy compared to making Parallels recognizing the "Boot Camp XP Partition" (really shouldn't call it like this since it has nothing to do with boot camp except borrowing its driver set afterwards). I spent much time on that and eventually succeed bearing some small glitch. But my thought is too slow for now to keep typing......
( Last edited by powerbooks; Jun 23, 2007 at 03:39 AM. )
     
lovetravelsfaster
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Jul 4, 2007, 05:11 AM
 
Thanks for this very useful post. I'm headed home right now to format my computer, and try this out. One question though. When the 10.5 system is installed as the third OS, and the 2nd Mac OS partition, is it possible to boot in this OS by holding down option when booting (like with windows and 10.4) or do you have to select it from startdisk in the system preferences every time?
     
powerbooks  (op)
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Jul 4, 2007, 08:16 PM
 
Sure. When you hold option boot, all three partitions showed up, and you can choose anyone of them to proceed. No need to go through Startup Disk preference every time.
     
stokestack
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Aug 16, 2007, 07:09 AM
 
The max partition size for FAT32 is 32GB. If you create a larger partition for Windows in Disk Utility, you can't format it. When you boot from the Windows installation disc, the installer doesn't see ANY of the partitions you created in Disk Utility. It sees the whole disk as one partition.

So I tried creating all the partitions with Windows setup, but the OS X Disk Utility did not interpret them correctly at all. The partition map it displayed was not just wrong, but internally inconsistent.

In the end, I had no choice but to partition the drive with OS X's Disk Utility and limit the Windows partition to 32GB. I set it up as FAT32 in Disk Utility, but later formatted it as NTFS during Windows setup.

Thanks for the post.

I don't see any reason for this highly inconvenient limitation in Boot Camp Assistant.
     
ghporter
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Aug 17, 2007, 04:38 PM
 
The max FAT32 partition the Win2K installer formatting utility (which is also used in XP) can format is 32GB. That does NOT mean that FAT32 can only go up to 32GB-only that the particular utility that comes with both Win2K and XP's installers can only handle that size disk. I have a networked drive whose enclosure's utilities formatted it for FAT32-its 300GB. "The maximum disk size is approximately 8 terabytes..."

There are a number of options outside of built in formatting utilities for formatting drives. For example Hiren's Boot CD has tons of tools, including a number of tools that will format just about any type of partition.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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