How can I dual boot two or more Linux distros?

I've been playing around with a few live CD/DVDs of different distros. This includes most of the Mint stable, Ubuntu 13.04 (unimpressed), Kubuntu 13.04, PinguyOS 12.04, and Dabian 7.01. I would very much like to install Linux Mint 15 and Debian 7 as a dual boot system. Linux mint 15 Cinnamon is stunning and I want it as my primary OS. While Debian 7.0 is a steady old carthorse that is reliable, comparatively unsophisticated and very powerful. Good for me as a relative noob to learn about the workings of Linux. I will be installing it on a Compaq Laptop (Windows Vista), Intel dual core Pentium 2Ghz processor on a 230Gb hard drive. I've messed with Mac and windows all my life. With windows I have no real problems I actually have win7 on all computers but the one I want Linux on, I've just grown tired with it, but with Mac personally I've never liked them, but I've had to use them for school
Any help would be great.
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about dual boot linux distros
  1. You'll have to make two different partitions, I suggest the free trial of EaseUS Partition Manager, works pretty well.

    After making the partitions just install the OS's.

    Make sure to get a drive big enough for your needs, for Windows 7, and two Linux distros, I would suggest at least 60GB total for all the partitions to have a little growing room, depending on what you're doing.
  2. Alright, but I guess I should have also put that I will just be have the Linux OS and no windows software, and also I will probably split the hard drive 50/50. Also something that my friend said is that I could just install one and partition the whole hard drive for it then, when I install the second just to set it as a dual boot strait from the installation menu, is that a good idea or should i do it some other way?
  3. Best answer
    When you go to install the Linux OS's on the laptop with the wiped drive, Linux will ask you how you want the drive split up, allocate however much HDD space you want to your main OS installed first.

    Then, pop in the USB or disc to the second distro, and allocate some more space to the second OS.

    Leave room for a third OS if wanted.
  4. Cool thanks. Just one last question, how do I wipe the drive on the laptop?
  5. You should also be able to wipe it via the OS's partition tool that is built in whilst installing.

    If you already have an OS installed backup stuff of course.

    But while installing it should give you the option.
  6. When you're installing Mint you'll get a brilliant tool called GParted which will allow you to wipe the drive, you can use that to wipe Windows and manually partition the drive. If I was installing two distros on the one drive how I would do it is make a shared partition so you can store files on the one prtition that can be easily accessed by both distros. There's also some nice advanced setups you could do like sharing the /home partition(can have unintended consequences with dot files though) and sharing common binaries by setting up softlinks etc... but it's very complicated and can be very messy even for advanced users.

    I would still recommend the shared partition approach though, so for example a 500GB drive would be split into two 20GB partitions for the distros(leaving room for expanding) and the remaining space in the common drive which you can set to automount under fstab or similar when either boot. This means when you save a file(example some source code or a document) on Debian you can access it easily through Mint. Also it's really easy to do. If you need help with GParted let me know.
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