We often dual boot Windows and Ubuntu but at times users need to triple boot system. Today I’m going to show how to triple boot Windows with two Linux without any trouble. As when you dual boot you get two operating systems when you start computer, in the same way in triple boot you’ll get three OS and you can select anyone to boot. So let’s get started!
Before we start
I assume you have already installed Windows. We shall triple boot Windows with Kubuntu and Debian in this example but you could use the same procedure to install any two Linux distributions. Worth to mention that this tutorial is intended for system with BIOS settings. You can read this post on dual booting Linux with Windows UEFI. I also assume that you have already created ample free space within Windows where you’ll be installing the Linux distributions.
Let’s first dual boot Windows with Kubuntu 15.04.
Dual boot Windows and Kubuntu
First, save your important files. In case you commit any mistake you will not loose your important data. You can save data in pen drive, external hard-drive or traditionally in DVD.
Step 1: Boot in to live USB
Create a bootable USB drive of Kubuntu. Now plug-in Kubuntu bootable DVD/pen drive (USB drive). If you are using bootable pen drive then make sure you have set computer to boot from pen drive. You can do so from BIOS settings. Press DEL or F10 when system starts to boot into BIOS and go to BOOT and select your USB drive as primary. Press F4 to exit and save settings.
Boot system from Kubuntu bootable pen drive. Wait untill you get option to “Try Kubuntu” or “Install Kubuntu”. Click Try Kubuntu and you will be booted to Kubuntu Live. Here you can test several features and look and decide to further install the system or not.
Now you see an icon on the desktop “Install Kubuntu”, click it.
Setup will start and the first step is to setup language. Choose your preferred language and click ‘Continue’.
Next screen shows if you have enough space to install Kubuntu and also if you are connected to the internet. If you have enough space and system has internet access then you’ll see green check mark.
Check the box ‘Install this third-party software’ if you want to install other third-party packages and codecs during installation. You can also install these packages after installation. Check the second box ‘Download updates while installing’ if you want to download and install updates during installation. Although you can update your entire system after installation. After you’ve marked these options, click Continue.
Step 2: Do the partition
The main part starts here. You have three options available first is ‘Install Kubuntu alongside Windows’. If you want the setup to partition disk itself and install Kubuntu alongside Windows then select first option. ‘Replace Windows with Kubuntu”, this option removes Windows and installs Kubuntu. Last option is “Something else”. We are going to select “Something else” as it allows to partition hard-disk as I want without removing any Windows acquired partition.
Select ‘Something else’ and continue. The next screen would have all the partitions available at your disk, including the Windwos partition and free space. (Be very careful before you select any partition). Select free space and click ‘+’ (plus) sign below left side of window. Now it’s the main part but before that let me tell you what partitions are needed to install Kubuntu. We need to create minimum three partitions namely root, swap and home.
- ‘/’ root
root is the partition that contains all of your system and applicatins file. For example, when you install any application, the related files are stored into root partition. Nothing from this partition can be deleted without root user permission. Without ‘/’ root partition OS can not be installed. root partition should be more than 25GB so that you can install more applications on your system.
swap is the partition that is used as RAM (Random Access Memory). In case your RAM is full, system will use swap as a RAM. Swap is also used when user hibernates the system. The hibernate session is saved in swap. Swap size should be double the size of RAM but if your RAM is 8GB or more then keep swap 8GB. It’s should be enough.
/home is the partition that contains all users data. Like in Windows users have different partitions to store data and one partition has OS. Home is like the partitions that contains all users data, such as, documents, music, movies, games setup etc. You can specify any size for home depending on your use. If you have large amount of files then make it large.
Now that we know what root, swap and /home partitions are. Let’s move on to the partition step. First create root partition where we’ll install Kubuntu. Enter size in MB (1024MB = 1GB). Click ‘Primary’ and click ‘Begining of this space’. Selecting Begining of this space will create root partition first. From drop down choose ‘Ext4 journalising file system’. There are many other file systems but Ext4 works fine with Linux. In last, choose Mount point as ‘/’ root from drop-down menu. And click ‘OK’. You’ve created root partition.
Select rest of the free space again and click ‘+’ (plus) sign. You’ll get the partition creation window. Enter the size for swap and and select rest of the options and select ‘swap area’ from use as drop-down menu. This selection will hide the last option ‘Mount point’. Click OK and you’re done.
Create the last ‘/home‘ partition in the same way. Select free space and click ‘+’ sign and enter size of home partition. Remember that we need to install third OS as well, so keep enough free space after home partition. Select ‘Ext4 journalizing file system and ‘Mount point’ as home and click OK. You’re all done! You have created all three necessary partitions.
Click continue and it will give last prompt to check all the partitions. Click OK if everything is fine. If you followed everything correctly you should get to select Time Zone. Select Time Zone and continue.
Step 3: Install Kubuntu
Select Keyboard layout and click Continue.
Complete all fields in the next window. You name, You computer’s name, username, password (twice) and select if you want to login automatically or require to enter password to login. Click Continue and distillation will start.
It should take 5 minutes or so, if you selected to download and install updates then it may take more time depending on your internet speed. If you want to skip downloading expand the status bar and click ‘skip’ multiple times.
When installation is completed you’ll get message to restart to boot into Kubuntu or Continue trying. Click Restart and you’re all done. Plug-out Pendrive or eject DVD and now the grub menu will give you operating systems to boot. Select Kubuntu and you are done.
Congratulation! You now have two operating systems installed. Select anyone from grub menu and work without any problem. As I said we’re going to triple boot the system so let’s install another Linux OS. I’m going to install Debian as my third OS on my computer. So let’s get started!
Triple boot Debian alongside Windows and Kubuntu
The process steps don’t differ much. You only need to pay more attention when partitioning the hard-drive. You can download Debian from their download page. Burn .iso to pen drive or DVD and boot system from DVD or thumb drive. All steps are same whether you use DVD or USB drive.
Step 1: Boot in to live system
Boot from pen drive and wait until you see two options ‘Live (amd64)’, ‘Live (amd64 failsafe)’, ‘Install’, ‘Graphical install’ and ‘Advanced options’. Click first option Live (amd64) as we’re going to test it first. Wait until Live disk boots up. Try everything in Debian Live mode and see how everything works. If you are finally satisfied then goto Applications >> System Tools >> Install Debian.
Setup will start and select your preferred language first and click Continue. Select your country. Select keyboard and cilck Continue.
Enter Domain name. We’re setting up home so type any name such as Debain etc. Click Continue.
Enter root/system administrator password. Make a strong password. Click Continue.
Now setup user account and password. Enter user full name and click Continue. Now enter username that you want and click Continue. Type password for the username that you just created. Click Continue. Setup will detect all the partitions on your disk.
Now there are couple of options like Guided – use the largest continuous free space, this option partitions the largest free space and installs Debian on that.
We’re selecting Manual. We’ll partition our disk and install Debian.
Step 2: Partition
This part is exactly the same as what we saw while installing Kubbuntu. See for free space on your hard-disk, select it and click Continue.
Select Create a new partition and click Continue. Like above while installing Kubuntu we created three partitions ‘/’ root, swap and /home. Read more above about these partitions. Enter size of partition (in GB) and click Continue.
Select beginging or End. Click Continue.
Select ‘Use as’ Ext4 journaling file system, Mount point to be ‘/’ root and let all other options default and click Continue.
Create swap and /home partition in the same way. Take care of the space you give to each partition. See above for the minimum partition size for each partition. After you’ve created all of three partitions, select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk and Continue.
Select Yes and click Continue to accept all the changes goint to be written to disk. Partitioning and installation will start.
Step 3: Installation
Configure the packet manager: If you select Yes, this will find all the updates available for applications installed from setup.
You can also install more applications beside the default installed applications. Now wait untill the setup downloads and install all the files. When you see Installation is complete click Continue and wait for the final automatic process to end. When the final process is finished, reboot system and plug-out pendrive.
Congratulation! You’ve successfully installed Kubuntu and Debian alongside Windows. Now when you reboot , this time you’ll see three operating systems listed in the grub, Windows, Kubuntu and Debian. Select the one you want to boot.
I hope this guide helped you to triple boot Windows and Linux OSes. Any questions or suggestions are welcomed.