Triple-Boot: Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux

In this post I will explain some of the issues i ran into using Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux in a triple-boot.

First, if you have a Mac, you should install rEFit before any other OS!

In short, here’s what you do:
– Install rEFIt
– Create partitions for the three operating systems
– Install Windows
– Install Ubuntu

Okay, so you have Mac OS X installed. The first thing you need to do is to install rEFit (

Now use the Disc Utillity in OS X to partition your Harddrive. You can also use the Boot Camp assistant to Install Windows. After you have installed Windows, you want to install Ubuntu Linux.

Go to Disc Utillity in Mac OS X, and make a new partition for Ubuntu, just format as “free space”, we will use the Ubuntu installer to format with the right file system later.

Now, I suppose you have burned Ubuntu to a CD that is now ready to install. Go through the installer, when it comes to “Allocate drive space” choose “Specify partitions manually”. Now, choose the “free space” partition you made before and make a 1 GB Swap partition. Use the rest of the free space to make a partition for Ubuntu. You do this by marking the free space and click change, in “Use as” choose Ext4 journaling file system, in “Mount point” choose “/”. Now be sure to install the Boot loader to your Linux partition you just made instead of installing it in the MBR (Master Boot Record). Now finish your installation.

Now, when you start up your Mac, rEFit should be the boot loader and you should be able to choose between MAC OS X, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux. Choosing Ubuntu Linux will then take you to Grub (Linux Boot Loader) where you have to choose Ubuntu again (or just wait some seconds) to boot from.

If you want to read a more detailed version, check out the Ubuntu documentation:

rEFit currently version 0.14, boot loader:

What if I already installed Ubuntu without installing fEFit ?
Okay, so you can’t boot Mac OS X from the Grub boot loader. You have to boot either from Ubuntu or Windows, and create a rEFit CD from the ISO disk image available at Burn the CD (when you have burned the CD it appears empty because it’s for the Mac file system, dont worry). Just put the CD in, start your Mac and hold down “c”, this will boot from the CD, where rEFit is on. Now choose to boot from Mac OS X, download rEFit for Mac and install it. Boot 2 or 3 times, and rEFit should now be the default boot loader!

Get Ubuntu

A good advice
Never use Windows’ own partitioning tools when you’ve installed it using a hybrid MBR, since it only “sees” the MBR side. Instead useĀ Apple’s Disk Utility.