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How do I divide my hard drive into multiple OS'es/partitions for my test machine? For example:

  • Win XP
  • Win 7
  • Gentoo
  • Ubuntu
  • Storage

Can Linux'es share swap area?

I was told to leave the first primary for the grub and linux cores.

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  • I know a lot of guys here try booting 2 or even 3 OS'es off one drive, but you see so many come back with major issues. I don't know why they just don't use VM's for testing.
    – KCotreau
    Aug 3, 2011 at 4:05
  • @KCotreau this is a good solution. But I know a manager who sayd "Who will want such a thing?" for the computer, and now we have more than one. It is possible, why not try it. I would like :)
    – Bakudan
    Aug 3, 2011 at 4:10
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    I am not saying you can't try it, but when both things basically do the same thing, and one causes major headaches, and one doesn't and is much simpler to do; I take the stable, easy and simple route.
    – KCotreau
    Aug 3, 2011 at 4:11
  • VirtualBox or VMWare is a lot easier that trying to partiton your hard drive for multiple OSes. Even if you really want to partition your drive, a vm should still be your first step. You can configure a single virtual hard drive for multi-boot, and if you screw it up, your pc isn't messed up. Just rebuild or fix your vm's hard drive. Aug 3, 2011 at 4:44

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I'm up to 4 OSes at this point, so I have some idea. Install Windows first, then Ubuntu, then Gentoo - Ubuntu will replace the Windows bootloader with its grub install, and add Gentoo to that rather than the 'standard' Gentoo install procedure for the bootloader.

Windows should generally be the first primary (I install XP, then 7 in the first two primaries), and linux is fine on logical partitions - in this case, I'd probably install XP, 7 and ubuntu in primaries, and gentoo and storage as logical partitions on an extended partition.

Sharing swap SHOULD be possible, but rather than having a seperate swap partition, you might want to consider having a swap file instead on one of the partitions, and share that. Also, since hibernation uses swap, avoid doing so. Else, put it in a logical partition as well.

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  • +1, though I try to avoid sharing swap partitions.
    – user3463
    Aug 3, 2011 at 4:24
  • @Rudolph I've never heard that recommendation before. Any reason not to share?
    – new123456
    Aug 4, 2011 at 1:38

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