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?

  • 1
    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
  • 1
    Whhhhhyyyyyyyyy – nhinkle Nov 16 '11 at 22:20
  • 1
    @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

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.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.