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Installing Multiple Linux Distros

I've decided to try out a few Linux Distros and would like to know if I need to have a separate Boot and Home partition for each Distro or can I just have 1 Boot and Home partition that can be used amongst multiple Distros?


  • It is good practice to have a separate home partition for new install. Having a separate boot is also good if you plan on using different partitions and to be able to recover your system in case of a failure. You don't have to.

    You should not use one partition for all your linux installs as every install will reformt the partition. What you put in your partition will be lost.
  • So the boot partition for each distro will have to be installed as primary partitions followed by Root, home and swap for each distro being installed as logical partitions?

    If the above setup is acceptable, how should I install the grub boot-loader in order to get a menu on startup which will allow me to select one of the installed distros?
  • Each system has its own bootloader. You can install the new install bootloader in the primary MBR. Once you boot into the new system, ipdate grub so you can find all the other linux systems. Or, you can install each bootloader in the boot partiton of the new linux install. Update grub of your primary partition and you will be able to access the other systems. This is a good setup for in the case you remove a new installed linux system, you will still be able to boot your system and access the primary one.
  • Im a newbie to Linux, Do you know of a webpage or something that I could look at which has a step by step guide on installing multiple distros?
  • I would look at dualbooting documentation related to the distribution you are trying to install. Plus, use the grub bootloader as I have found it be to the standard on most popular Linux distros. I use ubuntu, however, I was finding mostly dualbooting ubuntu with Windows.

    I could write you a tutorial on dualbooting multiple Linux partitions but it would be mostly ubuntu based. However, I luckily found a tutorial on installing multiple Linux OSes. What is important is the number of partitions you need to setup on your hard drive. There are two types of partitions,primary and logical. If you are setting more than one Linux OS, you will need to setup a primary partition first. This will house the first Linux OS. If you installed one already,the primary partition is already setup. Then every other partition needs to be setup as logical.

    This is just a warm up. Keep this in mind when you read this tutorial.
  • Thanks a lot for all the assistance provided thus far, will have a look at that link.

    I managed to install 2 distros so far Mate and Mint, even tried my luck with updating Grub and it worked, so im now getting the boot menu to select installed distros. Seems like im on the right track, Ive installed 1 Primary Boot partition for the first distro and the rest all logical.
    Does the primary partition for the first distro need to be a boot or root partition? Will this even matter?

    What are your thoughts/suggestions on this: Instead of having a Home partition for each distro, I was thinking of creating a ntfs partition which I would mount for each distro to make it accessible to store docs, personal files, etc - Would this work or should i just create a home partition for each distro?

    Is there any particular order that I need to be weary of when installing multiple distros, in terms of installing older versions first, etc?
  • Yes, you can create a separate partition to use for backups. I do the samething. Whatever filesystem type linux supports you can use.

    As far as order, try to keep your partitions in logical order. Helps GPT read them. Make your spare partition as big as possible so you don't run into an issue trying to resize it. I prefer you create an ext partition. This will allow you to run file scanning tools on it that are created for linux. There are some for ntfs filesystems but are not always reliable. Hope this helps.
  • Between the Boot and Root partitions which one should I install as primary?


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