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I currently have a triple-boot setup in one dev machine (OSX/Win/Linux). I wonder how many more could I install.

I know Windows needs a primary partition, and Linux could be installed in an extended partition; what about OSX?

In theory, can you install 2 versions of Windows, 3 of OSX, and 1 Linux in a single hard disk?

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migrated from serverfault.com Feb 25 '10 at 21:16

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3 Answers

Depend of you OS and partition type,

if the OS can only boot from primary partition on a MBR partition table, the limit is 4,

if the OS can boot from a GUID partition table, as I know there is no limitation.

But i'm not sure at 100% of that (for the GUID Partition Table), I never tried.

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...And if the OS can boot from a logical MBR partition? –  grawity Feb 25 '10 at 19:22
    
There is no limitations on logical partitions, the only limitation will be the total amount of partitions (primary + logical) that is 255. –  Kedare Feb 25 '10 at 19:45
    
How XP can live on a logical partition..sousuke.org/wiki/Installing_Windows_on_a_logical_partition –  Moab Sep 17 '10 at 18:49
    
How to install and boot Windows on a Logical Parition...zyxware.com/articles/2008/07/20/… –  Moab Sep 17 '10 at 18:52
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I've heard of someone having 40+ different operating systems on a single machine before. Certainly the standard Windows boot loader won't play nicely with multiple systems, but any modern open source boot loader would just fine.

I'd suspect you're limited to the number of partitions (and systems) you can fit on a disk.

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I'm quite sure even ntldr can deal with many OSes just as fine as grub would. –  grawity Feb 25 '10 at 19:23
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I would say that in theory, it depends on your boot-loader. For the sake of argument, let's say that your boot-loader is some sort of hypervisor. Then, the question is moot.

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-1 Sarcasm not needed. –  Sam Feb 25 '10 at 21:33
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