Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to triple boot a MacBook Air

Here is the guide I followed in order to triple boot my new MacBook Air. It is a great guide from Lifehacker. It uses rEFIt as the boot manager which works great! However, I did run into a few problems. My ultimate goal was to have OS X, Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), and Windows 7. I have had all three running on my MacBook successfully and here is what I learned:
  1. If you are installing XP (either instead of 7 or before you upgrade to 7) you can't have another partition after the XP partition. Either leave the space for the linux partition unallocated, or create it ahead of the XP partition. Otherwise XP won't boot.
  2. The first time you successfully boot into Windows make sure you install the bootcamp drivers. I joined my Windows 7 install to a domain and then couldn't ctrl-alt-del to login because of the Mac keyboard not supporting that key combo.
  3. I had some unresolved issues with my Ubuntu install not shutting down correctly. Sometimes it would just hang at a black screen with a blinking cursor after going through the shutdown tasks. I'm not sure how to solve this yet.
  4. Make sure you follow the instructions in the guide about installing the grub boot loader to the Ubuntu partition and not to the master boot record of the drive. The second time I loaded Ubuntu I forgot to do this and it has been a headache. Luckily one of our techs was able to reload the master boot record and I can get back into Windows 7 now, but we had to delete the Ubuntu partition during the process.