I recently purchased a MBP 13.3 i5 system, and I'm keen on making it triple boot (Lion, Win7, Ubuntu 11.04). What is the safest way to do this ? I found quite a few websites online, but I'm not sure of whether they are entirely accurate/updated for Lion etc.

I would really appreciate it if someone could post a link that has worked for Lion/Win7/Ubuntu 11.04.

Also, would this action invalidate the warranty of the MBP ?

  • Why can't you just run a VM for Windows 7 & Ubuntu? – daviesgeek Sep 11 '11 at 21:28
  • 2
    You can give this a try: refit.sourceforge.net/info/boot_process.html Also no, modifying the software doesn't affect the warranty of a Mac (different from iPod Touches and iPhones) – user10355 Sep 11 '11 at 21:29
  • @daviesgeek - I'm not sure whether running Win7 on VMWare is as fast as doing it on a native boot partition - could you confirm if its so ? – TCSGrad Sep 11 '11 at 22:17
  • Not quite as fast, and of course you need RAM for both the host and guest OS, but if you've got plenty of RAM, performance in general is fine unless you're gaming. – steveax Sep 11 '11 at 22:29
  • Or unless you are editing video or audio on Windows or Linux. In that case a virtual machine would not be fast enough and you would want to boot into that OS. – user9290 Sep 12 '11 at 0:18

Lifehacker's guide to triple booting has worked well for me in the past. You will also definitely need refit. I've seen varying reports of how well refit works on Lion - it seems to be that if you don't have FileVault enabled, you should be fine. Obviously make sure to back everything up before starting - any sort of partitioning/boot loader editing/etc is always slightly risky.

The basic steps are:

  1. Install refit
  2. Partition all the necessary partitions (OS X, Windows, Linux). Be careful at this step, it can be very difficult to resize partitions that aren't HFS+. You'll need three additional partions: Windows, Linux, and Linux swap.
  3. Install Windows, then install uBuntu.

(Lastly, this does not invalidate the MBP's warrantee.)


If you want to be really really safe and you don't mind a drop in hard drive I/O performance in Ubuntu, I'd recommend installing Windows normally with Boot Camp then in Windows installing Wubi: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/windows-installer. You can then boot into Ubuntu through the Windows bootloader.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .