Multi-boot Mac Mini

This can be a real pain. Windows XP doesn't understand GPT, so there's this hybrid MBR/GPT concept. but if you modify the MBR partition table in Windows, the GPT one doesn't get updated. Disk Utility doesn't understand NTFS, so you can only create FAT partitions with it. If Windows sees a FAT partition, it tries to install into it, without any opportunity to choose NTFS instead. This leads to Windows failing to boot in a variety of frustrating ways during installation.

Anyway, the short story to get Windows XP installed is:

  • Use Disk Utility or diskutil (command line) to create partitions, including one FAT32
  • Use Ubuntu live CD's gparted tool to reformat the FAT32 as NTFS
  • Install Windows into the NTFS partition.

A note about GRUB with Ubuntu Natty....

After applying a recent update, trying to boot Ubuntu via rEFIt resulted in a black screen with a flashing cursor. Seems that the latest grub tries to do some fancy graphical stuff, but fails. At the flashing cursor, tapping the "Shift" key brings up the regular old GRUB menu. Sometimes that doesn't work, and I've had to reinstall grub. I'm not sure which way actually works, but, using a Live CD, try....

mount Linux partition on /mnt

Mount /sys, /dev and /proc under /mnt

chroot /mnt


grub-install --force /dev/sda

grub-install --force <partition>