Quad boot from SSD with program files on separate hard drive(s)


May 23, 2012
Hello, I am building a new system this summer, and was wondering if it was possible to have a quad booting system (Windows 7, OSX, Ubuntu/Mint and FreeBSD) all installed on a solid state drive. This would then have all application, program and user files on another hard drive, probably partitioned for each os.

I've been looking around, and found posts online proving it is possible individually for each os, to an extent, but I would like to know if anyone has tried anything similar and seen good results, or if anyone has any tips as to how to go about it. I'm not really that sure on partitioning SSDs at the moment either; I've seen people mention alignment or something, so if someone could tell me what thats about it would be useful too!

Hope somone can help me :)


ps. sorry if this is in the wrong category, storage seemed likeliest!


While you may be able to do it without major hassles, the easiest thing to do is run VMWare workstation -- I've got a dozen VMs that I regularly run from Win95 to Ubuntu on my desktop from Win 7 x64 with a 240gb SSD and 16gb of ram, the VMs open in a flash and pretty much any OS can be a guest, although I think you need a patch program to run Lion.


Oh, on your alignment questions -- a fresh Windows 7 install will have proper alignment, Windows 7 is alignment aware. Vista is also, but XP is not. Don't know on the others you will use as I run them as VMs, but I do know that it can be an issue when you create partitions on the SSD and bad alignment will affect performance and could impact drive life.

In Windows to check alignment of partitions open the start button search window and type msinfo32. The MSinfo will run and then you check the values in Components > Storage > Disks and check "partition starting offset" with a value in bytes for each partition, the should be divisible by 4096 with a whole number value. Windows puts the SRP first and then creates an offset so that the C: drive is also aligned, but doing manual alignment requires some additional calculations on your part. GParted, which is on Ubuntu and available alone is the most often mentioned alignment tool, although I have not used it for that.