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I'd like to have many operating systems on one HD in my laptop. Booting from USB is not an option; I have to boot from the HD.

Is the following partition scheme sensible?

What should I do for swap partitions?

4 primary partitions containing

  • Recovery stuff
  • Windows 7
  • Linux (eg Fedora)
  • EXTENDED partition containing
    • logical drive with Linux (eg Sabyon)
    • logical drive with Linux (eg Mageia)
    • logical drive with /home

This would all be on one hard drive. I understand that there's a 2 TiB limit; the drive is 500 GB so that's okay. I understand that I'd need a boot loader to boot the OSs in the extended partition's logical drives. I plan to use maybe GAG or Smart Boot Manager. (I know software suggestions are strongly discouraged, but I'd welcome suggestions for FOSS boot loaders in the comments)

EDIT: This question is about the particular situation of wanting to have more that 4 bootable OSs on one drive. The user can only have 4 primary partitions with a bootable OS in each. What does a user do if more partitions are needed? Can an OS be booted from a logical drive in an extended partition?

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This just feels like a bad idea, especially on a laptop. I see no particular reason it wouldn't WORK, though. (Assuming all these bits play nice with logical partitions.) I think you're just asking for trouble, though. –  Shinrai Nov 16 '11 at 21:33
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Whhhhhyyyyyyyyy –  nhinkle Nov 16 '11 at 22:20
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@DanBeale - Just excessive complexity. Something's likely to get screwed up, somewhere, and it might not be easy to figure out. –  Shinrai Nov 16 '11 at 22:33

1 Answer 1

Skip trying to mess around with logcal drives in your MBR partition, and use LVM for all of your linux filesystems.

  • Recovery stuff
  • Windows 7
  • shared /boot
  • LVM - Volume group - create the group, and create small LVs, add space to LVs when required.
    • shared /home so you have access to your data everywhere.
    • logical volume {1..n} the root fs for as many linux distros as you want.
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