Install 10.5.6 (Triple Boot with Ubuntu and Vista)
WARNING: This guide is NO LONGER BEING MAINTAINED OR UPDATED. Using it is AT YOUR OWN RISK. If it does not work, I will not help you out anymore, so don't email me about it.
Newbie users should stay away from "Advanced Users:" notes and follow the guide exactly for a clean installation. I, nor any of the editors, am/are responsible for any irreversible damage or data loss.
How to Install OSx86 10.5.6 (iPC Distro), Ubuntu, and Vista in a Triple Boot Configuration
And Other Stories
Version 1.0 (for iPC 10.5.6)Written by Nelson Jenkins.
This is an extremely detailed, step-by-step guide for beginners and experts alike. Beginners can benefit from the guided tutorial that explains every single step to getting their triple boot configuration running properly, while experts can run through a quick, solid triple-boot installation and give me tips as to potential additions or changes I can make.
I can be contacted at officernelson<at>gmail,com. Words of praise are always appreciated! Please, though, refrain from asking me directly why your install didn't work. Use the InsanelyMac forums for that.
This guide is designed to assist people with installing OSx86, Vista, and Ubuntu Linux on one hard drive. This is aimed towards Vista users that wish to try out OSx86, yet still retain their old Vista standby. Ubuntu is added on because, primarily, we're going to use it for GRUB, a solid bootloader used by Linux that is easily compatible with Windows and OSx86. Still, it's a solid way to diagnose all sorts of computer problems, and it's always good to get a basic understanding of how to operate Linux in general. (Personally, I have installed Ubuntu on several clients' computers that only needed web browsing, email, etc... every single one of them thanked me for it! No Vista hassles!)
Obtaining illegal copies of OSx86 is, well, illegal. I'm not responsible for any damages caused by the FBI when they break down your door. I'm also not responsible for any damage you cause to your computer or its components, or any bodily harm caused by the subsequent explosion.
If you don't know what OSx86 is, it's recommended that you stop now and read up a bit, or at least enlist the help of a qualified nerd. Although this guide does take you through the basics in detail, severe computer damage can occur (not to mention bootloader failure) if you screw something up. Make sure you back up all data before continuing.
The OSx86 distribution that we'll be using, which I have found to have the most drivers packaged in, is iPC 10.5.6. (I'll refer to it as OSx86 in this guide.) Obviously, I can't supply a download link. If you're really desperate, I'm sure Google would be happy to help.
The computer you are running must support SSE2 and, preferably, SSE3.
NOTE: This process may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days! Don't expect to be finished within an hour.
- Sufficiently modern PC w/ following specs
- Intel or AMD processor with SSE2 capabilities (preferably SSE3)
- 100GB hard drive (preferably 200GB or greater)
- DVD drive (or BIOS support for bootable USB media)
- NOTE: You need to be able to burn CD-R's, and if your BIOS doesn't support bootable USB media, dual-layer DVD-R's.
- Mouse and keyboard (preferably USB)
- Knowledge of the parts inside
- GParted (Gnome Partion Editor) - Live CD (Download Link, see below)
- ImgBurn - For burning ISO files (Download Link, or another ISO image burner)
- Windows Vista - DVD
- OSx86 (Preferably iPC 10.5.6) - Dual Layer DVD (see above)
- Ubuntu (Preferably 9.04) - CD
- USB Flash Drive (optional, replaces Dual Layer DVD for iPC 10.5.6)
- Pen and Paper (for taking notes)
! TIP ! If you've got a slow connection and some time to waste while you're downloading some of the above, it's a good idea to read through this guide once or twice to get a basic understanding of what we'll be doing.
 My Machine
I'm using a Dell XPS M1710 laptop for this install. Many people have complained that OSx86 doesn't support ethernet, wireless, nor sound cards for common computers. iPC has a good list of drivers ("kexts" in OS X language) for these peripherals, so give it a shot.
 Part 1: Preparation
Before we begin, there are several key points that we need to tackle to ensure we don't get caught in any awkward snags without the necessary software or instructions.
Reminder: if you haven't yet, back up your data to an external hard drive or another computer! It will be erased!
 Using This Guide
If you have another computer near the computer you're modifying, it's a great idea to keep them both on and keep this guide up while you work. If you can't, print this guide now as we're about to start modifying your computer!
 Burning the Required Disks
If you haven't already, burn the Ubuntu and OSx86 ISOs to disks. Ubuntu requires a CD-R. OSx86 requires a DVD-R (Dual Layer for iPC 10.5.6). I recommend ImgBurn but most commercial CD/DVD burning software can handle ISO files.
 USB Flash Drive Option
If you don't happen to have a Dual Layer disk lying around, you can opt to extract the ISO to a clean, FAT32 formatted USB flash drive. It must be 8 GB or larger. If you don't know how this is done, or you're not sure if your computer supports USB drives as bootable media (many BIOSes do not), it's best to go with the DVD. Most Dell computers support booting from USB media, other computers may or may not.
 Recording Pertinent Device Information
You need the names and specs of the following devices before you install OSx86:
- Your processor brand (Intel or AMD) and SSE3 capability (must at least be SSE2-compatible to boot)
- Your video card manufacturer, name, and memory capacity (including integrated graphics)
- If using an ATI video card, whether it is AGP or PCIe
- Your chipset manufacturer (Intel/nVidia/JMicron/SAS/Silicon Image/VIA/SiS/Marvell/SB, usually Intel but not always!)
- Your audio card name
- Your ethernet card name
- Your wireless card name
Getting the above information recorded correctly will return the best results! iPC 10.5.6 has tons of drivers; if you use the correct ones your OSx86 installation will work perfectly with your PC.
 Setting the Boot Sequence
Unfortunately, many BIOSes default the hard drive as the primary boot device. Instead of manually selecting your CD drive every time you wish to boot from a CD, let's configure your BIOS to automatically boot from a CD, floppy drive, or bootable USB drive, in that order, whenever they're available. If they're not, it will simply boot from your hard drive.
Keep in mind that if you have a bootable CD in the drive, it will automatically start loading itself from now on. If you can't seem to boot to your hard drive, make sure there aren't any bootable CDs, floppys, or USB drives in your computer.
 For Dell Computers
- When you see "DELL" displayed on the screen, repeatedly press the F2 key until the display goes black.
- If you see a blue screen with a grey bar at the top and a menu on the left, you're doing good. Scroll down to "Boot Sequence" on the left using your arrow keys and press Enter.
- A green bar should appear on the right. Use your arrow keys to select "CD/DVD/CD-RW Device", or something similar. Note that you will probably need a DVD drive to install OSx86.
- If "USB Storage Device" is listed as an option, your BIOS allows you to boot from a USB flash drive, external drive, etc. (this allows you to install OSx86 from a USB drive). If it isn't, skip the two steps below.
- Scroll to "USB Storage Device". If it is not preceeded by a number, press the spacebar. This enables it as a bootable device. If it is preceeded by a number, skip this step.
- If "USB Storage Device" is not on the top of the list, press the U key until it is.
- Scroll to "Diskette Drive". If it is not preceeded by a number, press the spacebar. This enables it as a bootable device. If it is preceeded by a number, skip this step.
- If "Diskette Drive" is not on the top of the list, press the U key until it is. (Yes, even above "USB Storage Device".)
- Scroll to "CD/DVD/CD-RW Device". If it is not preceeded by a number, press the spacebar. This enables it as a bootable device. If it is preceeded by a number, skip this step.
- If "CD/DVD/CR-RW Device" is not on the top of the list, press the U key until it is. (All the way to the top.)
- At this point, you should see "1. CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive / 2. Diskette Drive / 3. USB Storage Device / 4. Internal HDD", plus any other bootable devices below it (usually PC and NIC cards).
- Press Enter.
- Press Esc.
- Select "Save/Exit" using your arrow keys, then press Enter. Your computer will now reboot. .
 For Computers Using Phoenix AwardBIOS
- When you see "energySTAR" displayed on the upper right corner of the screen, repeatedly press the Delete key until you see the CMOS screen.
- Scroll down to "Advanced BIOS Features" on the left using your arrow keys and press Enter.
- Scroll down to "First Boot Device". Press Enter.
- Use your arrow keys to select "CDROM", or something similar. Press Enter. Note that you must have a DVD drive to install OSx86. I'm not sure how Phoenix AwardBIOS displays this.
- Scroll down to "Second Boot Device". Press Enter.
- Use your arrow keys to select "Floppy". Press Enter. (We won't be using floppy disks, but it's safe to have it set as a bootable device.)
- Scroll down to "Third Boot Device". Press Enter.
- Use your arrow keys to select "Hard Disk". Press Enter.
- At this point, you should see "First Boot Device [CDROM] / Second Boot Device [Floppy] / Third Boot Device [Hard Disk]".
- Press F10 to save.
- Press Esc to exit to the main menu (if it hasn't automatically). Press F10 to save and exit. Your computer will now reboot.
 For Other BIOSes
Please change your boot sequence to CD/DVD, Floppy, USB Device, then Hard Drive. Advanced users may opt to modify this a bit, however, CD/DVD should always be above Hard Drive.
If you are unsure as to how to change your boot sequence, refer to your computer's user manual or contact the manufacturer. Google may also be helpful.
 Part 2: Partitioning
In this section we will begin the installation process by preparing your computer's hard drive. Please note that all data must be backed up at this point because we're going to be erasing the hard drive.
 Partitions 101
For most computers, hard drives have one partition. Basically, partitions are big sections of your hard drive that act as file directories where you can store filesystems and files. Several computers, including new Dell computers, have a backup partition that holds diagnostic and repair software that can be accessed during your boot sequence. This partition can be erased without harming your computer. In fact, we're going to be erasing all partitions.
Partitions also act as separate hard drives in Windows Explorer and the like. For example, if you decided to split your hard drive into two partitions, they would show up as the C and D drives in My Computer (or C and x, where x is some other letter). To the user, they're virtually separate hard drives. However, they both rest on a single physical hard drive.
Partitions can host different filesystems. NTFS, the newer Windows filesystem, is generally the most popular filesystem. XP and Vista both use NTFS. They can also access the older Windows filesystem, FAT32. FAT32 is used in many USB drives due to compatibility - most modern operating systems, including OS X, can read from and (usually) write to FAT32 partitions. FAT16 is FAT32's predecessor; it is rarely used today and cannot support large partition sizes at all. HFS+ is the filesystem used by OS X (and OSx86). It can't be accessed by Windows, and Linux occasionally has problems with it. (The partition tool we're using, GParted, can't even create HFS+ partitions!) EXT3 is the filesystem natively used by Ubuntu and most Linux systems. Ubuntu 9.04 can support EXT4 but, for safety's sake, we're sticking with EXT3. It's easier to read EXT3 partitions in OSx86, too (however, Windows can't read any EXT_ partitions without extra software).
There are three different types of partitions: Primary, Extended, and Logical. Primary partitions are your basic kinds of partitions, and they're the ones that we will be working with. You can only have 4 primary partitions at a time. Extended partitions can't actually hold any files; but they take up a primary partition slot (to make 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition). Within extended partitions, you can create logical partitions, which aren't actually real partitions but act like them. Operating systems tend to work best on primary partitions, with the exception of Linux, which can work on a logical partition. Using logical partitions (and a very big hard drive), one can create as many partitions as they want. Of course, this isn't very practical for sorting files, because folders within partitions work just as well and aren't limited to separate partition sizes. It also isn't good for booting more than 4 operating systems on one computer, since non-Linux operating systems tend to complain if installed on logical partitions. If you want to boot more than 4 operating systems on one computer, it's best to install a second hard drive to gain access to 4 more primary partitions. In fact, it's easiest to simply use 4 different hard drives and install the operating systems on each one, but for the purposes of this guide we'll assume that you don't want to rush out to a computer store and spend a few hundred dollars on new hard drives.
 Loading and Configuring GParted
Okay, let's begin! First, boot up your GParted CD by putting it in the CD drive and restarting your computer.
- When "Gnome Partition Editor" is displayed, press Enter (or wait 30 seconds). GParted will load a very basic, stripped-down Linux GUI into your temporary memory.
- When you see "Package configuration" on the top of your screen, press Enter. (We're assuming you're using a US keyboard. Otherwise, press Up, then Enter, and choose a keymap. Then press Enter again.)
- Press Enter again when "Which mode do you want when configuring X ?" appears in yellow. This guides us through simple GUI setup.
- When "Package configurag the right edge of the slider ration" reappears, scroll through the available display drivers to find one for the video card you use. ATI users should select "ati". nVidia users should select "nv". If you're using integrated graphics, try "vesa" (the default option). If that doesn't work, try "vga". Press Enter.
- If you know what resolution you generally use for the monitor you're using, scroll down and press the spacebar to check it. If you don't, the defaults will work. Press Enter,
- If you wish to use US English, press Enter. Otherwise, type the dual-digit language number that you wish to use, then press Enter.
- GParted should start loading. It will then open the main window.
 [Re]partitioning your Hard Drive
We will now [re]partition your hard drive. WARNING: This will erase ALL data on your hard drive, including any installed operating systems. This is your last chance to back up data to a separate, external hard drive or another computer.
Comment: If you are an advanced (read: Advanced) user, I suggest that you create 4 partitions: 3x15GB (For the OSes) Primary + 1x[Remaining Space] Logical (FAT32) (For Data)
- ReComment: Depending on what you plan on installing, you may want to vary your OS partition sizes (since installing programs across partitions is possible but rather confusing, especially in Ubuntu).
- When GParted has finished scanning your hard drive, you should see a list of partitions. Right click all of them and select "Delete". When finished, you should see a grey box above it that says "unallocated" with your hard drive's capacity below it.
- Now, right click "unallocated" in the partition list and select New.
- Drag the right edge of the partition to the left until it takes up about one third to one half of the available space. Assuming your hard drive is about 100 GB or more, this should be good enough. (Note to advanced users: you do not have to follow these size instructions if you don't want to. They're here for indecisive folk.)
- Next to "Filesystem", click "ext2". Choose "ntfs" from the dropdown list.
- Enter "VISTA" as the label. Click "Add". This will be the Vista partition.
- You will now see a graphical display of how much space Vista and its partition will take up in your hard drive.
- Right click "unallocated" again and select "New".
- This time, drag the right edge of the slider to the left until it takes up about one half of the available space.
- Next to "Filesystem", click "ext2". Choose "fat32" from the dropdown list.
- Enter "OSX" as the label. Click "Add". This will be the OSx86 partition. We will reformat it to HFS+ later.
- Once more, right click "unallocated" and select "New".
- Change "Free Space Following (MiB)" to 5120. (This is approximately 5 GB that we're going to reserve.) Press Enter.
- Change the filesystem to "ext3".
- Enter "UBUNTU" as the label. Click "Add". This will be the Ubuntu partition.
- Last time, right click "unallocated" and select "New".
- Don't change the size. Change the filesystem to "linux-swap".
- Enter "SWAP" as the label. Click "Add". This will be the Linux Swap partition for Ubuntu, which is essentially Linux's method of Windows' virtual memory. It acts as a backup in case you run out of RAM.
- If you did everything correctly, you should now see 4 new partitions: nfts, fat32, ext3, and linux-swap. (The label may or may not have saved correctly for some of the partitions. It's not important.)
- Take out a pen and paper. Write down the Size value for each partition along with its filesystem. (In case the filesystem is misinterpreted, we can determine it using the size.) If you have two partitions with the same size, you can opt to start this section over or continue - it's up to you.
- Click "Apply", then "Apply" again. Since we're only deleting and adding new partitions, this should not take very long. Click Close when it's completed.
- Double click "Exit" in the upper left, then press Enter.
- Take out the CD when your tray opens. Insert your Vista DVD (for the next section). Don't press Enter just yet! . .
 Part 3: Installing Vista
Congratulations on getting this far! Your computer is now ready for everything else. We're going to start with Windows Vista.
 Early Warning
Vista's bootloader causes problems. Lots of problems. That's why we're installing Vista before anything else, so the bootloader is overwritten. If you don't have the Vista disk available just yet, it's not a good idea to skip this section and return to it later. You must install Vista first.
 Why Vista?
XP is honestly getting harder and harder to find these days. If you're an advanced user, you can try to install XP instead of Vista, however, you may need to configure GRUB differently and it may not work out in the end. I haven't tested it as a replacement. Since Ubuntu automatically detects Vista, it might detect XP, but don't count on it.
Note: Vista SP1 can also be used. I am using Vista with no service packs because I purchased my computer before SP1. It makes no difference.
Note: I am using an OEM (Dell-branded) copy of Vista. Your installation may differ slightly, but probably not.
 Get On With It!
Alright, here we go. On to installing Vista!
- If you haven't already, put the Vista DVD in your computer and start up. Or, if you just repartitioned your hard drive, press Enter to reboot.
- When you see "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD." press any key.
- Wait for the installer to load. Select a time and currency format (and a keyboard layout) if you need to change them. Click Next. Click "Install now".
- Wait for the installer to load (again). Check "I accept the license terms" then click Next.
- Click "Custom (advanced)".
- You should now see the four partitions you made earlier. If you followed the directions, choose the first one. It should say "Disk 0 Partition 1 VISTA". If none of them are labeled "VISTA" refer to your handy-dandy partition size sheet. Mainly, select the biggest one. NOTE: If you see "Unallocated space" or something similar, you need to repartition your hard drive again.
- Click Next. If Windows says it can't install to this partition (and you're sure it's the NTFS partition), click "Drive options (advanced)", "Format", and "OK". The partition will be formatted into NTFS. Then, click Next.
- If all is correct, Vista will begin installing itself into the Vista partition. This will take quite some time. Go grab some food and take a bathroom break; you've earned it. (Coffee would also be helpful, if you've stayed up all night to watch your computer download all the necessary files. Yes, I know how you feel. You should be proud.)
- Please note that the Vista installer will restart your computer several times. After it has restarted, you do NOT need to boot into the DVD. When your computer first restarts, you may actually want to remove the DVD if you're around, but it will automatically boot to your hard drive if you don't press any key when prompted.
- When Vista is finished installing, it will ask you to start setting up your user account. Type your username in and add a password. Choose a picture if you are so inclined. Click Next.
- Name your computer and choose a background. (I chose "Nelson-VISTA". You may want to choose a name that describes which OS you are currently running, if you work on a local area network.) Click Next.
- Click "Use recommended settings" unless you have a reason to choose otherwise.
- Choose a time zone and adjust the time if necessary. Click Next. Click Start.
- Vista will now check your computer's performance. If you're running a non-integrated graphics card, most likely this is pretty useless (since nVidia and ATI cards generally default the Graphics Acceleration score to 1.0 until you install their driver). It's actually simply useless overall, in my opinion. In any case, let it run.
- When it's finished, log into your account. If you haven't yet, it's a good idea to record device information now (see Recording Pertinent Device Information). You shouldn't install software (if possible) at this point - wait until you are sure your triple-boot configuration is working correctly.
 Part 4: Installing OSx86
When you're ready, it's time to get to work with OSx86. Remember, this install guide is focused towards users of iPC 10.5.6 - other distributions may encounter different installation features, especially in the customization section.
 Starting the OSx86 Installer
We are now ready to close down Vista and start installing OSx86.
- Take out the Vista DVD if you haven't yet and insert the OSx86 install DVD (or USB drive, if you used it).
- Restart Vista. Actually, this reboots your computer and boots into the Darwin install loader. Press any key. If you're stuck loading Vista again, one of three things could've happened:
- You didn't burn/extract the ISO correctly (or the DVD is damaged),
- You didn't set the BIOS to load other drives before the hard drive, or
- You're using a USB drive to install, and your BIOS doesn't support booting from USB devices.
- The OSx86 installer will take several minutes to load. This is normal. If it hangs and displays a small "no" symbol over the Apple logo, the install media was damaged or your computer doesn't support OSx86.
- When the installer is ready, choose a language and click the arrow to continue. When the taskbar appears, you're ready to continue.
 Preparing the OSx86 Partition
Remember when we made a FAT32 partition for OSx86? We need to change that and reformat it as HFS+, since GParted can't correctly handle HFS+ filesystems.
- Go to Utilities, then click Disk Utility. It will take a minute or two to load.
- Click "OSX" on the left. Then click the "Erase" tab.
- Select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" for Volume Format. Name it "OSX". (Advanced users: do not use spaces in this name.)
- Make sure you have the correct partition selected (look on the bottom, make sure the format is FAT32 and the size is correct) and click Erase. Click "Erase" in the box that comes up.
- Wait a few seconds. On the left, "OSX" should now be black (as compared to the other grey partitions). Close Disk Utility (click the Red X in the upper left corner).
- When the installer welcome screen reappears, click Continue. Agree to the license agreement.
- When the "Select a Destination" screen appears, click OSX. There should be a picture of a hard drive. Once again, ensure the size matches up. Click Continue. If no partitions are available, try reformatting the partition again.
- STOP! Do not click Install! First, we need to set the custom packages to install with OSx86 to make our computer work correctly.
 Selecting Custom Packages
Now, we need to ensure we install the correct device drivers for our OSx86 installation. Now is when you'll need to use the information regarding the devices in your computer. Note that this section applies to iPC 10.5.6 only.
- Click Customize. Expand (don't check) "iPC OSx86 10.5.6 Intel AMD SSE2 SSE3" by clicking the triangle to the left of it.
- If you are using an AMD processor OR your processor does not support SSE3, expand "Kernels" and check "9.5.0 Voodoo Kernel".
- Expand "Drivers" and "Video Drivers".
- If you are using a laptop, check "LaptopDisplay".
- If you are using an ATI graphics card, follow these steps:
- Expand "ATI".
- If you are using an X_000 Series card, expand "ATI Radeon X1000 Series".
- If you are using an HD Series card, expand "AT Radeon HD Series".
- If you can find your card, select the driver for it (or the closest one you can find). Otherwise, for X_000 cards, choose "ATI Radeon X1000 Series DevID 71c7".
- If you are using an nVidia graphics card, follow these steps:
- Expand "nVidia".
- If you can find your card, select the driver for it and skip down to Step 7.
- If you are using a GeForce card, select the NVinject that corresponds to the amount of memory available. (If there is none, select "NVinject 0.2.1 Default".) If you are using two GeForce cards, select "NVinject 0,2,0 Dual Cards".
- If you are using a GeForce Go card, select "NVinjectGo 0.2.0 Default". If your GeForce Go card has 512 MB of memory, select "NVinjectGo 0.2.0 512MB VRAM".
- If you are using Intel integrated graphics, expand "Intel" and choose the driver that applies to you.
- Expand "Chipset Drivers". Follow the instructions below.
- For Intel chipsets, choose "Intel ICHx SATA Drivers". For ICH10 chipsets, choose "Intel ICH10 SATA Support".
- For nVidia/nForce chipsets, choose "AppleNForceATA nForce Drivers". If you are using the MCP67, choose "NVIDIA MCP67 Drivers".
- For JMicron chipsets, choose "JMicronATA for JMicron IDE".
- For SAS chipsets, choose "SAS Chipset Support".
- For Silicon Image chipsets, choose the driver that most applies to you (or both, if you are unsure).
- For all other chipsets, choose "VIA/SiS/Marvell/SB Chipset Drivers".
- Expand "Audio Drivers". Follow the instructions below.
- For AD____ sound cards, expand "ADxxxx" and choose the driver that directly applies to you, if available.
- For ALC___ sound cards, expand "ALCxxx" and choose the driver that directly applies to you, if available.
- For Sigmatel sound cards, expand "Sigmatel Audio" and choose the driver that applies to you.
- For other or unlisted sound cards, expand "Other Audio Drivers" and choose the driver that applies to you, if available. If none are available, choose "Azalia Audio". (AC67 is also a possible choice for Intel integrated audio.)
- Expand "Ethernet Drivers" and choose the driver that applies to you, if available.
- Expand "Wireless Drivers" and choose the driver that applies to you, if available and needed.
- Expand "Power Management". If you are using a laptop, select "AppleACPIBatteryManager".
- Expand "Fixes and Patches". Follow the instructions below.
- If you are using a single-core processor, select "CPUS=1 One Core Fix".
- If you are using a PS/2 keyboard and/or mouse, check "PS/2 Device Support".
- Expand "Applications" and check the ones that you want to install. Feel free to check the actual "Applications" choice, if you'd like.
- Click "Done". Then, click "Install".
- The installer will automatically check the installation DVD. It's recommended that you do this, however, if you're short on time (or feeling lucky) you can click Skip. If you've already successfully installed OSx86 using this disk, you can safely skip this unless the DVD has been scratched or otherwise damaged.
- The installer will now begin installing OSx86. Again, this will take a few minutes. Grab a drink, take another bathroom break if you need it. . . . .
- The installer will restart. When it does, you might want to snag out the OSx86 installer disk. Don't press any keys!
- Wait for OSx86 to load. Follow the instructions on the screen (basically choosing your time zone, making an account, and registering). When that's finished, you should see your shiny new OSx86 desktop!
- Astute users will notice that the VISTA partition that we made earlier can be accessed from OSx86. We have made the VISTA NTFS partition the largest for two main reasons: first, we're assuming that it will be the most-used OS, and second, it's the only partition that's readable by all operating systems installed on our computer (and thus makes a great inter-OS storage drive).
Congratulations! Your OSx86 installation is finished, and we're around two thirds of the way to finishing up. At this time, remove any disk in your computer and put the Ubuntu disk in for our next step. NOTE: If you are having problems installing or using OSx86, stop here and get help. Once we install Ubuntu, it's not recommended to reinstall OSx86 without starting everything over.
 Part 5: Installing Ubuntu
Ubuntu is a very mild-mannered operating system. It also holds the bootloader that we will be using. Its installation is relatively easy, especially compared to OSx86.
- Ensure the Ubuntu disk is in the drive and reboot.
- Ubuntu automatically loads its own miniature bootloader. Select the language you would like and press Enter.
- Right now, we're going to go ahead and install Ubuntu. Select "Install Ubuntu" and press Enter. If you want, you can check the disk for defects, but this is not absolutely necessary unless you encounter an installation problem. (For OSx86, it mattered more, since reinstalling OSx86 without erasing the partition first can corrupt your bootloader and potentially not work at all.
- Wait for the installer to load, choose your language again, and click Forward.
- Click your location on the map, or choose a city. Click Forward.
- Test the keyboard layout. If it doesn't work right, choose another. Otherwise, click Forward.
- STOP! Do not click Forward! Doing so will erase all progress that we've made so far! Select "Specify partitions manually (advanced)" then click Forward.
- Select "/dev/sda3" (our EXT3 partition) and click "Edit partition". For "Use as:" select "Ext3 journaling file system". Check "Format the partition:". For "Mount point:" select "/". Our swap partition has already been detected, so click Forward.
- Fill in the supplied information. Note that the login name must have no spaces and must be all lowercase. Rename the computer if you wish (I used "Nelson-UBUNTU" in accordance with my Vista computer name). Click Forward.
- You may want to import your user account from Vista. It includes wallpaper, Internet Explorer bookmarks, documents, music, and pictures. Check one or all of the options, then click Forward.
- Ensure that everything is correct. Click "Advanced" and ensure "Install boot loader" is checked, and the device is "(hd0)". Then click OK and Install.
- Ubuntu will now go through the motions by partitioning the drives and installing itself. This will also take a good long while, so grab another drink if you want. (Also, geez, take a shower or something. Get up and stretch, at least. Take a walk. Change your underwear. At least look remotely presentable for the FBI agents barreling their way down the highway towards your house.)
- Once Ubuntu has finished installing itself, click "Restart Now".
- When the tray opens, remove the CD and press Enter.
- When the bootloader shows up, press the down arrow key to stop the timer. We'll talk about it in the next part.
Your Ubuntu installation is complete! This leaves us with the last necessity: modifying the bootloader to work with all of our operating systems.
 Part 6: Modifying the Bootloader
If you have gotten this far, congratulations. You are doing amazing! Rest assured, there's only a little bit more to go until your triple-boot system is finally ready.
You may have noticed that the bootloader currently on your screen actually already has Windows Vista listed under "Other operating systems:". That's right, Ubuntu has been smart and kind enough to automatically detect and add Vista to our bootloader! In fact, let's test it out now. Select "Windows Vista (loader)" from the bootloader menu.
Does it work? If it does, that's great! But we won't need Vista right now, so go ahead and restart your computer. Then, when the bootloader loads up, let it count down or simply hit Enter to load Ubuntu. The two other choices ("recovery" and "memtest86+") are for diagnosing system problems. We won't go over those in our guide. For now, load the first option.
Isn't this spiffy? Not to mention easy! We never had to install a third-party bootloader, and after installing all three operating systems, two of them are already working perfectly.
 Adding OSx86
Do note that Ubuntu may not be displaying the best resolution right now. This is because we haven't installed the driver for it. We'll get to that, along with some post-installation tips, in a moment. First, let's get OSx86 in the bootloader!
- Open up Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. Type in the following:
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
- Enter your password (if prompted).
- Scroll down to the bottom of the file. You'll see "Windows Vista (loader)", just like in the bootloader menu.
- At the bottom of the file, type in the following (make sure there's an empty line between "chainloader +1" from above):
title Mac OS X
- Advanced users: you can tinker with this file to adjust the positioning of various options, and their names. Don't adjust anything else unless you know what you're doing. The first option is default.
- Save the file and close out of all windows.
Okay, time for our test run. . . . .
 Final Bootloader Test
Excited? Here's where we test out every single operating system installed! If this works, you're home free!
- Restart your computer.
- When the bootloader appears, select Ubuntu (the default option) and press Enter.
- If Ubuntu loads properly and displays the login screen, you can go ahead and restart from there. Click "Options" then "Restart", then "Restart" again.
- When the bootloader appears, select Mac OS X and press Enter.
- If OSx86 loads properly, restart. (It may or may not display a login screen.)
- When the bootloader appears again, select Windows Vista and press Enter.
- If Vista loads properly, congratulations! You've just successfully installed and triple-booted OSx86, Ubuntu, and Vista!
 Part 7: Closing Statements
If you've gotten this far, thank you for reading... and, if you've actually completed the guide, congratulations again! Below are a few tips on getting your three operating systems working smoothly.
 Tips for OSx86
Unfortunately, OSx86 will be the most difficult part of your installation. Fortunately, you have two other operating systems to use if OSx86 goes kaput. Naturally, OSx86 may encounter problems with sound and internet - this is just a nearly impossible-to-oust bug. I recommend visiting the InsanelyMac forums if you can't figure out what's going wrong. They also can help you with general Mac questions, and if you're a developer, you can help make OSx86 better than ever!
Personally, I do not use OSx86 often, because Ubuntu is simply more stable and Vista is more compatible. It's mostly for geek points. But hey, my laptop is perfect for any tech support or IT job, because I've got the holy triumvirate of operating systems. (Note for the slow: that is my job.)
If you do happen to use OSx86 often, here's the most important tip: DO NOT use the Apple Software Updater under ANY circumstances! It will brick your computer and you will have to start all over again.
Several users have reported that they were able to reinstall OSx86. This is not recommended because it may damage your current installation, and might screw up your partitioning. If you do erase the partition first, it will probably screw up the bootloader, requiring you to reinstall Ubuntu (or, at least, the bootloader).
Note that other releases of OSx86 do work, because I originally wrote this guide while installing iDeneb v1.3 (10.5.5) and looking at the iPC 10.5.6 blog post for customization information. However, iPC seems to be the most user-friendly of them all. If you're an advanced user, don't be afraid to try out different distributions!
 Tips for Ubuntu
First of all, several of my customers have complained about the annoying (and, in some cases, ear-splittingly loud) system beep when trying to move the cursor past the available text and, most noticeably, when logging out. You can fix this by following these instructions:
- Open a Terminal session (Applications -> Accessories).
- Type in the following:
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
- Type in your password, if prompted.
- Then, in the window that pops up, type in the following:
- Save and close the window, then restart. Your system beep magically disappears!
(NOTE: This may not work on some systems.)
Unlike Windows, Ubuntu has a browser hat you can use in the actual operating system to download spiffy new software. Go to Applications, then Add/Remove. Click "Reload" if prompted to update your application list. Then, next to "Show:", select "All available applications" to view everything available. And guess what - everything is free! Here are some applications worth installing:
- VLC Media Player - Uber-compatible media player.
- Amarok - iTunes replacement.
- CheckGMail - GMail notification popups.
- Frozen Bubble - Most popular Ubuntu game, most likely.
You can also click the Popularity tab to have the applications sorted by popularity. Checked applications are already installed.
Ubuntu can read/write your VISTA (NTFS) partition! Go to Places -> VISTA, then enter your password to mount it. (You may want to go ahead and check "Remember authentication".) It'll show up on your desktop. Ubuntu can also mount the OSX (HFS+) partition, which makes it a great tool for accessing and diagnosing problems in all operating systems.
Make sure you get the latest updates! Click the notification icon in the tray (when you're on the internet, of course) to download 'em.
As I stated earlier, Ubuntu tends not to choose the best open-source display driver for your graphics card. This can be fixed by hooking into the internet and waiting a few minutes, then following the instructions on installing proprietary drivers. Don't do anything while they're installing! If they don't activate on your first install, try again. If they still don't work, reboot and try again.
 Tips for Vista
Hopefully you know how to operate Vista. At this point you'll want to go ahead and install drivers and load up software that you're going to use. If you look in Computer, you'll notice that VISTA is the only visible drive. This is because HFS+ (OSx86) and EXT3 (Ubuntu) are fully incompatible with Vista.
VISTA should be used for transferring files among the three operating systems. OSx86 automatically mounts it to your desktop (where it has read and limited write capabilities), but Ubuntu needs it to be mounted manually (see above).
Thanks again for reading through this installation guide! Link it up, send it to friends, post it on your blog, even email it to your grandma if you feel so inclined.
Again, I can be contacted at officernelson<at>gmail,com if you have any questions or comments. If you're having a problem, it's best to contact the InsanelyMac forums - I'm definitely not qualified to help, I'm just detailing how I did it. Ciao! . . . .
This page was last modified on 30 December 2009, at 06:27.
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