Installing Linux into a specific partition

Multibooting more than one Linux operating system (OS) can help you compare precisely how each works on your PC. While installing a Linux OS, you might wish to install it into a specific partition on your hard disk or solid-state drive (SSD). This document can help you create a new logical partition and then install a new Linux OS into it.

Author's note: In my experience, multibooting Linux operating systems works best with Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based operating systems.

Creating a new logical partition
You can add a new Linux OS to a PC on which you have already installed at least one other OS. For example, your multiboot configuration might include two partitions and an extended partition, as follows:
  • Partitions /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 contain an MS Windows 7 OS.
  • Extended partition /dev/sda3, contains three logical partitions for Linux. Allow at least 20 GB for each Linux OS.
  • Logical partition /dev/sda5 contains your Ubuntu Linux OS.
  • Logical partition /dev/sda6 contains the Linux swap file. Note: Regardless how many Linux operating systems you plan to install, you need only one swap partition (approximately 2 GB).
  • Logical partition /dev/sda7 contains your Linux Mint OS.
You need to create a new logical partition before you can install a third Linux OS into the above example configuration. As shown in Figure 1, you can use the Gnome Partition Editor (GParted) to create a new logical partition, such as /dev/sda8.
Figure 1 - Creating a new logical partition, /dev/sda8.

Installing Linux into a root partition
While installing Linux into a specific logical partition you must define that partition as root. To install a new Linux OS into your new logical partition, do the following:
  1. Download an ISO image file of the Linux OS that you wish to install, and then burn it to a DVD to create a live disc. Alternatively, you can use an ISO image to create a live usb drive.
  2. Boot the live disc and then begin installing your new Linux OS. When you see an Installation-type window similar to Figure 2, select Something else, which lets you install your new Linux OS into your new logical partition.
  3. Click Continue to display a window to similar to Figure 3, select (highlight) your new logical partition, and then double-click it to display an Edit-partition window as shown in Figure 4.
  4. In the Use-as dropdown menu, select Ext4 journaling file system.
  5. Checkmark the Format the partition box.
  6. In the Mount-point dropdown menu, select "/" to define your new logical partition as root.
  7. Click OK to close the Edit-partition window, and then click Install now. Note: Do not try to skip steps 4 through 7. Omitting them displays an error message, "No root file system is defined. Please select this from the partitions menu." For more information, see Ask Ubuntu.
  8. Install your new Linux OS and then reboot your PC to display a Grand Universal Boot (GRUB) menu similar to Figure 5. In this example, Zorin OS 6 is the new Linux OS. Note: If your GRUB menu does not display, you can restore it through an open-source Boot Repair CD.
Figure 2 -  On the Installation Type menu, you select "Something else" if you
wish to create a partition into which you can install your new Linux OS.
Figure 3 - Selecting (highlighting) your new logical partition.
Figure 4 - Double-clicking your new logical
partition displays an Edit-partition window.
Figure 5 - Your GRUB menu should include your new Linux OS, such as Zorin OS 6.

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