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I have a great high end HP Workstation with 6-TB (4 Independent HD's) I would like to add the latest Linux os desktop and Ubuntu 12.04 - in addition to the 2 Windows 7 OSs I have, and if possible to add Windows XP Pro as well.

Is there any Boot OS management software out there, of any kind, for this - I have not done much research on this, and I understand this is not common, but I hope to find some useful answers here if possible. I am looking for a simple way to be able to dual, triple and quadruple boot. I had 3 Win 7 bootable at startup - but not with other different OS's. Is there any kind of software for this? Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

This all came about when I got the new 3TB Seagate internal HD and as it turns out I can only see 2TB and not all 3TB. For many years I have been a Seagate user and find their Hard Drives to be very solid, reliable and durable - yet this became a challenge because the "patches" did not solve the issue to expand the additional space on the drive. It turns out I would have to use Raid+AHCI instead of IDE and upgrade the Bios - very annoying and even more annoying - I would not be able to have my other bootable Win 7 os's appear because they were created in IDE's environment.

After all that I realized the performance was not going to be that much different and so I switched back to IDE's environment and ended up returning the 3-TB HD and got two new 2-TB Hard Drives instead and installed my new Win 7 os on one of the new 2-TB HD's - I can see both Win 7 Bootable OS's at startup which is great - So now I am curious to know if is there anyway for me to install Win XP Pro, Linux and or Ubuntu 12.04 in addition to my existing Win 7 OS's on my additional internal hard drives? If so what software is available for this? Any feedback would be great.

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Please keep the question section free of tips and answers –  Sathya Jul 18 '12 at 8:17
    
The problem with the 3TB is because of your motherboard. There was nothing wrong with Seagate HDD, you simply did not do enough research ahead of time, furthermore Windows XP would have had a problem supporting it anyways. –  Ramhound Jul 18 '12 at 16:02
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closed as not a real question by Diogo, Mokubai, DragonLord, soandos, Randolph West Jul 19 '12 at 4:23

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1 Answer

You cannot access drives >2.1TB with a standard BIOS using LBA since that uses 32bit addressing. However, there are a number of alternatives.

You can use an increased (non-standard) block size or 64bit LBA (which Linux certainly supports).

However, to cater to less informed OS's, a new mechanism has been proposed to support larger capacity disks across OS's. This is called "GUID Partition Table" (GPT). This replaces the Master Boot Record. Unfortunately though, your BIOS needs to understand this mechanism. In addition, when using SATA, the SATA controller also needs to understand.

So if you have purchased the hardware in the last year or so, it is highly likely that it will support drives >2.1TB but older hardware may not.

Additionally, you need to make sure that you are using software that understands GPT when manipulating the partitions.

Of course, the easiest approach is to have a boot drive(s) of <2TB and reserve larger drives for data only.

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