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I'm probably not really a power user (I can read instructions) but my problem is pretty specific, so I figured it would fit here. I'm sorry if it doesn't.

I managed to set up triple boot (OS X Mavericks, Vista, Ubuntu 12.04) on my MacBook Pro (mid-2009) a few weeks ago with the help of several tutorials I found on the web (and rEFInd).

Works perfectly (after having fixed the boot table with the help of another tutorial so Ubuntu wouldn't boot into Vista anymore), but I don't like Ubuntu much and I'd like to replace it with CrunchBang which I have been using on my netbook and which I like better.

I don't know what is the best way to do that though. I was thinking of simply going through the standard setup process, installing CrunchBang over the existing Ubuntu partitions (I have two of which one is swap), formatting them in the process (just as I formatted and partitioned a free space partition during Ubuntu installation).

I got to the point where the installer lets me choose on which partition I want to install CrunchBang but then quit the installation. I want to make sure first that it won't do major damage to my system. And I also don't know what to do with swap (whether I can use it with CrunchBang or merge it with my OSX partition again after maybe formatting it to free space via CrunchBang (at that point already installed)).

Additionally, there are two small partitions according to the installer that are only 1 MB in size, each one after one of the two Ubuntu partitions. I don't know what they do and I don't know what would happen to them if I proceeded they way I described.

Also, as far as I know, Ubuntu is, well, Ubuntu-based while CrunchBang is Debian-based. That shouldn't cause any problems though since the setup process is supposed to wipe the Ubuntu partition? The systems themselves shouldn't interact.

(An alternative to all of this would be setting up another partition, repeating the process I did for Ubuntu, basically making my setup a quad-boot. Then I could maybe figure out how to delete Ubuntu although that wouldn't be a high priority since I have enough space. I'd like to make it work though with the partitions I already have.)

My main fear is messing up the partition table so I can't start up in OSX anymore. I really want to avoid that.

So to get to my question: Is it possible to simply install CrunchBang over my existing two Ubuntu partitions in a triple-boot setup using rEFInd during standard CrunchBang setup? Would that work? How likely is it to break something in the process?

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I formatted the existing Linux partitions to MS-DOS (FAT) via Disk Utility, then simply chose the first one and formatted it to ext4, then chose the second one and formatted it to swap in the install. Then installed #! on them; it later asked me where I want to install GRUB. Wasn't sure about the partition name anymore (wanted it on the one where I have #! installed) so I kinda guessed. Maybe that's why neither Vista nor #! will start now ("No bootable device") and my MBR table has shrinked from four entries to one ("EFI Protective"). At least OSX is still bootable! Anyone more successful? –  mrclndr Mar 28 at 2:01

1 Answer 1

Triple-boot? That's SO very 1990's!

Seriously though, have you considered Parallels or VMware Fusion? All of the fun of other Operating Systems without the hassles of messing with the boot sector. AND you can run them side by side. Save yourself the headaches of multi-boot and get a hypervisor installed. Your system will be a lot more stable in the long run too.

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I have, but I prefer having it run natively. I actually want it to be a hassle to switch from one OS to the other (for productivity reasons). And I like this sort of work; it's useless, it's stupid, but it's fun. I will consider using virtualization if there's no way to make this setup work or if it's too much of a hassle or if it makes my system too unstable (although the damage is probably already done by now). But for now I'd like to see if it works the way I want it to. –  mrclndr Mar 27 at 20:52
    
Update: Resorted to using a VM. I only now realized, looking for a solution for my new MBR table problem, how delicate this sort of stuff is on a Mac. The VM works really well; I wrongly expected it to be like gaming on Windows with a VM years ago with a quarter of my current RAM and less than a fifth of my current HD size... Anyway, thanks for inspiring me and, as always, I wish I would have listened to you (and all the people who recommend VMs under any thread about this topic) earlier. ;-) I'd give you an upvote, except I can't yet. –  mrclndr Mar 28 at 2:29
    
Glad it worked out for you. And the next time you hear everyone telling you something, tell the little voice in your head to pay attention! ;-) –  SaxDaddy Mar 31 at 6:37

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