Okay, I have a new computer and I will have 500GB (2x250GB in RAID 0).
Now I have multiple program needs, and I need 4 operating systems for everything, but obviously i need all these OSs on one system. I need these OSs:
Windows Xp professional 32-bit (Have OEM CD and key)
Windows Vista Home-Premium 64-Bit (ordering CD and key very soon)
Linux Ubuntu 8.10 (I think its 8.10, Ive been programming on it and a friend gave the CD to me)
Macintosh OSX (Got this from an undisclosed source... I need it for Final Cut)
Anything is possible but firstly why the F do you or anybody else "need" Vista? Secondly think about the risks of 4 multi OS's. Disk space lots of it. Ok you have 500GB how long will that last? If one hard drive fails you loose everything including all the time you spent setting it up. Backups will be difficult to properly implement.
But if you are still set on doing it you need to partition your hard drives (One partition for each OS) Vista and XP need much more hard drive space so bare this in mind when you are allocating partitions for them. I have no on hand with mac OSX so not so sure on this but should still be ok unless its specific to macs.
Once you have partitioned your hard drive you need a good boot cd capable of reading multiple file systems such as fat32, fat and NTFS Either Hirens boot CD (ISO download versions ready to burn to cd available from www.blackcode.com or get Barts Super windows PE from any file sharing network).
Lastly you need a good boot manager. Before installing your multiple OS's. Dont forget if you install programs and apps in one OS they will not work in the others unless you install them on that as well taking up valuable space.
In fact your best bet would be to obtain either partition magic or vcom system commander from your "undisclosed sources".
These will both partition your disk and give you a good boot manager all in one. I prefer the second program.
Another final and less complex solution for you (Seen as you are awkward and need 4 OS's) get 4 seperate smaller hard disks and 4 of those swappable disk caddy things you put a 3 half inch drive in a 5 quarter inch bay.
Sorry forgot to add you one pro for the multi boot on partioned hard drive is it would be easier to transfer files and date between operating systems so long as that operating system can read the file system of the other OS.
More food for thought:- You could get yourself a card reader and install the OS's to the memory cards or usb flash drive rather than to the hard drive. This would work for Linus and OSX that only leaves you with a dual boot xp / vista system which is much easier. Finally if I can persuade you enough to give vista a miss you can just have XP on a hard drive and multi boot the other 2 from high capacity memory cards. 2-4 GB cards are really cheap online seen as 8 and 16GB models are now available.
oo, I really like the idea of the card reader for OSX and Linux. I think I will do that, just need to order a card reader and some 8gb cards. And I do need vista, like it or not its what we're being pushed into. So I'll dual boot xp and vista with osx and Linux on cards. Thank you very much
oh one question. Ok so I get OSX and linux on cards, do I only have the HD space of what that card is? If so its not the end of the world because I have a 160gb external HD that I have all my final cut stuff on
I thought you would like the card idea. How portable, easy to back up and damn kewl is that!
Yes the card effectivly becomes your boot drive but you do still have your internal hard drive aswell as the 160GB external and you can easily just plug in another card for extra storage they are becoming more affordable. 8GB is easy to back up the entire operating system to other HDD or even to 2 DVD's
Personally I would run 3 partitions though. XP on one, the dreaded Vista on the other and last one used for a data storage drive which can be read and accessed from all OS's. Linux has FAT16, NTFS support and I read somewhere that it can even be patched for full FAT32 support. I don't know what file system OSX runs on so this will be the decider for your data partition but you probably know more about this than me. I am an OSX virgin.