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Triple-booting with Windows 7, OS 10.6, and Windows 8


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The PSA section: or, how I learned to stop worrying and love winload.exe


If you're installing Windows 8 onto a triple-boot system with OS X and Windows 7, you may need to use the Windows 7 bootloader FIRST. Chameleon can be run AFTER the Win 7 bootloader if you set things up correctly.


This was my experience, posted here for the next poor sucker "brave soul" who tries triple-booting these three together. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).


Here's roughly what I did:

  1. Install OS X from a bootable USB flash drive.
  2. Use Disk Utility to create 2 additional FAT partitions (you MUST do this to create a hybrid partition map)
  3. Install Windows 7 to one of those partitions. In the Windows 7 setup, you'll need to delete the existing FAT partition and then reformat it as NTFS
  4. Install Windows 8 onto the last partition (same deal as Win7 -- you need to delete the FAT partition then create an NTFS partition in the empty space.)
  5. Boot to Windows 8 to make sure it works. Reboot, then use the Windows 8 bootloader to get into Windows 7 and verify it works. Smile at how shiny (or sneer at how shiny) the new Win8 multi-boot selection screen is.
  6. Reboot: Using the OS X Install USB drive, boot to your LOCAL HDD's OS X environment
  7. Run EDP/install Chameleon
  8. Reboot: launch Windows 7 (I think I did this from the USB drive, but it should work if Chameleon is running off your local HDD, too).
  9. Once in Win7, download EasyBCD (http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/ - free for non-commercial use)
  10. Use EasyBCD to add a new BCD entry for your OS X partition. It's actually a tab on the "Create Entry" screen, making it [almost] criminally easy to do with point-n-click.
  11. Use EasyBCD's repair tools to install/repair the MBR and boot files.
  12. Reboot and test the Windows 7 and Windows 8 partitions (at this point, they both worked -- but I lost the pretty multi-boot selector Windows 8 provides). Note that you'll be seeing the Windows 7 bootloader (winload.exe) now, not Chameleon.
  13. Reboot again: on the Windows bootloader screen, choose the OS X partition
  14. You should now see Chameleon, listing ONLY TWO partitions: your OS X partition and your Win 7 partition.
  15. If you see the above items, then congratulations! You should be able to select the OS X partition under Chameleon and boot into it normally. (Choosing the Windows 7 partition just takes you back to the Windows 7 multi-boot screen again)
  16. If things didn't turn out like this...well, YMMV.


Question to the community:

I haven't tried dualbooting ONLY OS X and Win 8 -- because of the bootloader issues I had around Windows 8, I'm not 100% confident it could be done (i.e., you may need GRUB or a Windows 7 bootloader in order to boot the Windows 8 partition). Has anyone tried this?

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Hi all...


I just installed Windows 8 and was hoping I can boot it from chameleon after reinstalling chameleon.


It seems that Windows 8 requires a windows created mbr (i.e. bootrec /fixmbr from rescue terminal) for it to list all windows operating system at the boot menu or even to boot Windows 8. Otherwise Windows 8 boot menu will either not list any operating system or restart upon selection.


I not sure if this is common case / problem for everyone or maybe its just me.



Interesting problem that needs solution.




Update #1 : I tried to boot using chemeleon from external hard disk and windows 8 boots normally. This further confirms my finding above.


Update #2 : I just reinstall chameleon and chameleon can load Windows 8 and enter into boot menu. It sems the boot menu is superfluous to chameleon. Selected my existing Windows 7 and it does the normal restart and booted my Windows 7.


So I guest it is possible to dual boot OS X and Windows 8. Need to rebuild the mbr, boot sector, rebuild bcd and and then reinstall chameleon.



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Start with an XP SL triple boot, I added win7 that makes the system bootable only for xp and win7, so I restored the MBR from backup, added Lion, re-intalled chameleon, that somehow make the bootmenu text based, default with xp (the leading partition) but I have to hilight down and up in the list to make the default selection work...(lead to xp/win7 boot menu created by win7, the original win7 boot selection doesn't work) any idea how to get graphic boot menu like the ubs installer?


The boot manager doesn't seem to look at the org.chameleon.Boot.plist since it displays the default theme (wheel) in 1024x768 installed of 1440x900 (my case)...


Thanks for your inputs

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Dear elim,


Try to reinstall chameleon to the os x partition. That should correct the /Extra folder no read by chameleon issue. If not, check to make sure that os x partition is the active partition.


By the way, which bootloader you intent to use for the tripple boot system?



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