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The Great Gatsby

Can Chameleon boot Windows XP (x86) from GPT partition?

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Short question: Can Chameleon boot Windows XP (x86) from a GPT partition?

According to this wiki entry, it is possible to install a 32-bit Windows XP to a fourth partition on a hard disk with a GPT. So a partition scheme like the following should - in theory - preserve XP's ability to boot:

1 EFI Partition (FAT32)

2 Ubuntu (Ext4)

3 Mac OS X (HFS+ journaled)

4 Windows XP (NTFS)

5 Mac OS X Install DVD (HFS+ journaled)

BUT ... : Is Chameleon able to boot Windows XP in this scenario? When I tried it with Windows XP placed on the second partition, it clearly wasn't. So I wonder if it is worth to retry it with Windows as the fourth partition ...

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I've further investigated the issue, and here's what I've found out:

1. You actually can install Windows XP (32 bit) on a drive with a GPT partition table.

2. Chameleon 2.0 RC4 is able to boot a Windows XP (32 bit) from a partition on a drive with a MBR, but not from a drive with a GPT.

Workaround: Here's how you can use Windows XP (32 bit) on a drive with a GPT in a triple-boot scenario together with Mac OS X Leopard and Ubuntu, even if you want to use Chameleon.

A) Create four partitions with Snow Leopard's Disk Utility according to the following scheme (starts counting from no. 2, because on GPT, there's always a first 200 MB EFI partition):

2. Mac OS X Snow Leopard (HFS+ journaled)

3. Ubuntu 9.10 (FAT32 -> to be re-formated to ext4 later)

4. Windows XP (FAT32 -> to be re-formated to NTFS later, apparently has to be the fourth partition)

5. Mac OS X Install DVD (HFS+ journaled)

B) Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard to the second partition as you're used to.

C) Install Ubuntu from the Live CD: Within the Ubuntu installer, use manual partitioning, choose the third partition (ext4, mount point "/", format) and ignore the "no swap partition" warning); in the last dialog, choose to install Grub onto the third partition (probably /dev/sda3), NOT into the MBR (installing Grub onto Ubuntu's partition is needed for Chameleon to recognize the ext4 file system).

D) You should then see Ubuntu from your Chameleon USB stick and boot it. In Ubuntu, open a terminal and install the program 'gptsync':

sudo apt-get install gptsync

This small programm is needed to re-sync the protective MBR to the GPT: Snow Leopard's Disk Utility already creates hybrid GPT partition tables, that also have a sort of "protective" MBR for operating systems unable to handle GPT. This MBR should be re-synced before installing Windows XP in a further step:

sudo gptsync /dev/sda

E) Insert the Windows XP Install CD and re-boot from it. Within Windows XP's installer, choose the fourth partition (the FAT32 partition that's left), re-format it to NTFS and proceed. Important: On the first re-boot, you need to bypass your Chameleon USB stick by pressing F12 and choosing your hard disk as the boot medium. The Windows installer should come up again and finish the second part of the installation (explanation: By then, Windows should have installed it's boot loader into the protective MBR of the hard drive and therefore should be able to boot, albeit from a disk with a GPT, if you bypass your Chameleon USB stick).

F) Now, you should be able to boot all three operating systems: Use your Chameleon USB stick when you want to boot Snow Leopard or Karmic Koala. Bypass it via 'F12' and choose to boot from your hard drive when you want to boot Windows XP.

That's it! :)

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Hey Gatsby -- that's cool, but I don't see a rationale for having all those partitions on one GPT drive as opposed to having several (cheap, not very reliable) separate drives, with each OS in the format it prefers. Why did you choose to do what you did? Just curious.

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Hey Gatsby -- that's cool, but I don't see a rationale for having all those partitions on one GPT drive as opposed to having several (cheap, not very reliable) separate drives, with each OS in the format it prefers. Why did you choose to do what you did? Just curious.

Hi richiem, well, there's a few reasons for that. First of all, I should mention that I plan to use the machine as an A/V workstation for restoration of analogue media (amongst other things). That involves capturing of uncompressed video which needs a high and - most of all - constant data put-through. In the past, I was used to have a system hard drive for the OS and at least one other hard drive exclusively for capturing with lossless codecs like HuffYUV. I'm not sure if with today's SATA hard disks, that is still necessary, but I've decided to keep that scheme and to install all operating systems on one hard drive and to have the user-generated data on a second, separate one.

Furthermore, I also have a ThinkPad which simply doesn't have two separate hard drives. So installing all operating systems on one GPT drive on my desktop machine was also a test for a future Snow Leopard install on the ThinkPad.

Finally, well, I think I also did it simply 'because we can' ... ;)

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