Dual Booting All discussion on Dual Booting 2 operating systems (or even more!) on the Dell Mini

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superleggera superleggera is offline
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Default Working TRIPLE BOOT- what they didn't tell you....... - 03-02-2010, 02:03 AM

Yes other people have posted on this topic, but I looked at those and I think this one is different enough to warrant a new thread. So there.

I have installed Win XP Pro SP3, Snow Leopard 10.6.2 and Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox all on a MBR only disk, essentially using just NetBookMaker and NetBookInstaller, everything works, reboots and updates. I'm running Bios A06 too.

I've just spent almost 2 weeks of messing about and going around in circles trying to get a triple boot going on a friend's Mini10v. Dual booting on a GPT/MBR hybrid with Chameleon was no problem, did my Mini9 and my girlfriend's Mini10v no problem first time (many thanks to Mechdrew/Meklort, Chameleon team and others of course) but triple booting.....no way. I've been wanting to post but my id didn't seem to work and after trying to log in for two weeks I've registered under another second choice user id. Booooo!

I've read most of the guides and they all sems to leave out seemingly innocuous bits of info which turn out to be deal-breakers. However, after hitting some of the other H4ckint0sh forums, resources, blogs etc I finally found a solution. So for the benefit of anyone not wanting to waste two weeks of their lives mouthing 'WTF?' to themselves or their cat here's a few pointers:

It seems to me that the hybrid GPT/MBR path is not a righteous one and will always cause trouble, so don't bother. Keep it simple I say. Most of my problems were stemming from the variation between the partition tables, I tried gptsync, tried various tools to recover the partitions etc (Testdisk is an excellent bit of kit) but things just never worked together, as soon as you install the third OS, whichever it is and whichever order, everything goes t*ts up.

NetbookInstaller also seems to reserve a small piece of the disk at the very beginning of the disk for protected code, bigger than the boot sector which can confuse the XP installer into recognising it as a partition when using GPT/MBR. Everytime you install OSX first, you must create your partitions using Disk Utility so the initial GPT/MBR sync can occur but they cannot be used by XP (they result in blue screens, even after selecting both the format/quick format options). So you must delete them but once you do you can't create anymore because there are too many already- the hidden EFI partition and the 'hidden' NBI mini partition. Sounds complicated? Too f*cking right.

Throw in the fact that Linux may or may not recognise these and you end up with blank screens with a Grub Rescue prompt which I usually found to be because Grub had the wrong partition numbers in grub.cfg (I much prefer menu.lst and the old Grub). Btw, I tried GParted and neither OSX nor WinXP liked it's partitons. Again, everytime you sync between partition tables it always ends in tears.

Much kudos to MINIMALPC for observing/discovering/passing on that NBI utilises the standard OSX fdisk file and therefore f*cks the WinXP bootcode everytime it runs, meaning you previously had to install it first but really needed to install it second. Bloody hell. That easy fix meant no more messing about with pointless 'Repair your installation' or fun with the Rescue console, both on the XP disc and which both never worked anyway (see f*cked partition tables, dodgy OSX formatting blah blah) although by this time I was becoming quite philosphical about it (see www.dudeism.com for more info) and my need need to chew my own arms off was starting to wain.

The common method on this forum seems to be to install XP on the 3rd partition (after EFI and OSX) but anyone with experience of the early days of dual booting Linux with XP and Win2k knows that XP likes to go on the 1st partition- all I got was hall.dll errors and blue screens with error codes. It also ideally needs to be installed while the partition is marked as 'ACTIVE' which everyone seems to have missed.

The solution is to put it all on a MBR partitoned disc, first installing XP on the first partition, then OSX on the second partition (where it likes to be) and finally Linux on the third with your linux-swap last.

Snow Leopard on an MBR disc? Yes it's true and so much easier than the p*ssing about I've done trying to do the GPT/MBR hybrid thing.

This guy, Prasys, posted this in August last year and I'm sure he could have saved many people on these forums many hours of work if only they'd been aware of this stuff, so thanks to him too.

I found that the best partitioning tool for this exercise was DISKPART, which of course is part of Windows and it's easiest method of application was via the command line on a Win7 install disc. I've got plenty of Beta and a couple of RC discs of that and so it was simple for me, but for others maybe not so.

This isn't intended as a 'hold your hand' guide, there are better people then me on these forums for writing that kind of thing, I'm just sharing my experience of this so the other people posting the same issues can know that they are not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Below is an account of what I did patched with bits off other articles, follow it in addition to your own research, not instead of your own research :-)


-Using a Win7RC installation disc (which was free of course, should be plenty floating around in ISO form on the net), clean and partition the drive into 3 partitions with DISKPART from a command line (hit SHIFT+FN+F10 when you get to the first options screen, showing regions etc) and remember to leave some space at the end of the drive for your linux-swap. Make the first partition active.


-Install Win XP onto the FIRST partition after selecting the quick format option. I used the Dell disc with an external drive for simplicity.


Prepare an USB Drive for Installing OSX as per the instructions on other parts of the forums or Mechdrew's guide (hail Mechdrew! etc), using NetbookMaker v0.8.3- I called mine 'OSXUSB'.


-Delete /usr/sbin/fdisk from OSXUSB. Download a copy of Chameleon from here Copy the modified fdisk file in the Chameleon folder to /usr/sbin/ on OSXUSB.

Then to create modified OSInstall.mpkg (as per Leopard modification) and OSInstall file:

-Open terminal and type: "defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE" then type "Killall Finder"
-Create a folder "OSInstall" on your desktop.
-From OSXUSB (the install media), copy the file /system/installation/packages/OSInstall.mpkg to the folder you just created.
-In terminal, type "cd ~/desktop/OSInstall" and then "xar -x -f ./OSInstall.mpkg"
-Move the file OSInstall.mpkg out of your OSInstall folder and back onto the desktop.
-Open the file in your OSInstall folder "Distribution" in textedit.
-Delete the line "eraseOptionAvailable='true'" (it's near the beginning)
-Save and close the file.
-In the terminal, make sure you are in your OSInstall folder and type: "xar -c -f OSInstall.mpkg *". (This creates a new OSInstall.mpkg in the folder on the desktop. To be fair there are ready made versions of this modified package floating around but it seemed easy enough to make my own so I did) The old OSInstall.mpkg file will be on the desktop. Trash it now.
-On OSXUSB, delete OSInstall.mkpg from /system/installation/packages/ and copy the new OSInstall.mpkg to this folder.
-Replace OSInstall in (/Volumes/OSXUSB/System//Library/PrivateFrameworks/Install.framework/Frameworks/OSInstall.framework/Versions/A/OSInstall) with a modified version which will allow Snow Leopard to install on a MBR partitioned drive. You can find it here. (I believe its made by Kabyl , modbin and the crew of ToH)
-In terminal type: "defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE" then "Killall Finder".
-Restart finder & eject the USB disk.


-Boot from OSXUSB.
-Using Disk Utility, format the partition on which you want to install Snow Leopard to OSX Extended (journaled) aka HFS+.
-Install SL normally, run your updates etc but remember to run Netbook Installer before you restart as explained in many other guides on these forums. I always install NTFS 3G, Onyx and a few others goodies at this stage too.


-Using a CD, I then installed Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox (not my personal choice, I prefer Fedora LXDE or Crunchbang but it was for a friend), pretty standard stuff although you must remember to install the bootloader on to the partition on which the Linux lives, in this case the THIRD partition.
-Create a linux-swap on the free space.

Should all work after a reboot. Good luck!
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minimalpc minimalpc is offline
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Default 03-02-2010, 07:11 AM

Just as a point of reference, Windows 7 seems to be much happier with a hybrid GPT/MBR setup than XP is. I had no real problems getting my triple boot set up with it, other than the need to repair Windows 7 at various points (which as you note I later figured out a way to avoid--a future version of NBI will likely seamlessly eliminate that annoyance for everyone).

Dell Mini 10v | Mac OS X 10.6.2 | Windows 7 Professional | Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 | 1GB RAM | 160GB HDD | BIOS A05 | USB Legacy: OFF | USB Wake: OFF | BT: Enabled (self-installed BCM2046) | NBI 0.8.3 final
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superleggera superleggera is offline
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Default 03-02-2010, 10:06 AM

Hi, thanks for reading my post. Yes I tried Win7 just to see but I don't have a spare license for it- I've got one genuine licensed copy of Win 7 Pro Boot-Camped on my Macbook Pro so I have the install discs. I work in an ITC/Networking/AV environment and many routers and Cisco, AMX and other proprietry utilities that I need to use just don't talk to or work in Win7 yet. In most technical environments I've encountered XP is still the preferred choice.

Also, most of the Dell Minis I'm aware of have a Win XP license readily available underneath them already paid for, so why pay for a license for a system that you'll rarely use- if Windows was THAT good why would we be bothering to Hackintosh these Dells in the first place?

Another benefit of solely using MBR I suppose is the ability to use Imaging/Backup software to do the whole disk, a hybrid would just confuse it probably.
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cybohemia cybohemia is offline
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Default Step 5 incomplete? - 04-01-2010, 02:06 AM

Step 5 says:
5. Create modified OSInstall.mpkg (as per Leopard modification) and OSInstall file:
but there's nothing after the colon. Was there meant to be a descriptive line to explain how to create the modified OSInstall.mpkg?

Just figured it out after seeing some other instructions - it's all here, it's just that items 6 through 18 are meant to be the stuff after the colon.
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cybohemia cybohemia is offline
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Default 04-02-2010, 12:42 AM

Worked great! Thanks so much for gathering the information together, superleggera!
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superleggera superleggera is offline
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Default 04-29-2010, 11:51 AM

Hi, glad it helped. I've noted what you wrote about the numbering so I've clarified it a bit. My girlfriend did the 10.6.3 update without upgrading NBI first so I'm using my own guide to remind me how to re-install it all.

Of course, the benefit of re-loading her's using a MBR only configuration is that she'll now be able to use any standard back-up tool, Time Machine, Clonezilla or my favourite- Carbon Copy Cloner. Also, perhaps even more usefully, is the with just the one partition table, writing between partitions etc is so much simpler. Using the free utilities MacFUSE and HFSExplorer I can read and write to and from Mac and Windows, therefore only needing one iTunes library, one Pictures folder etc....
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WisconsinPlatt WisconsinPlatt is offline
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Default 05-02-2010, 12:05 PM

Thank you. This is looking promising. The hybrid route is just not working for me so I shall try this now.

Dell Mini 10V - Obsidian Black - 2GB - 40GB Intel SSD - Bluetooth 2.1 - Razer Pro|Solutions Mouse
Current OS: Windows 7 Professional
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chameleon, linux, mbr, tripleboot, winxp

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