Triple Boot Windows 7, Linux & OpenELEC

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  • Zebbe

    First of all, thank you for this great tutorial!

    After setting up my Zotac ZBOX Ad04 (8GB RAM, 128 GB Samsung SSD) with a triple boot system according to this guide everything woks perfectly. However, there is one thing I’d like to point out:

    I had Windows 8 pre-installed, and with the installation came a ‘system-reserved’ partition, which is also a primary partition. So I first had to remove this partition using this guide:

    Now that I’m running OpenELEC from the SSD (before was from an USB-stick) I can say that the performance improvement is incredible.

    Again, thank you very much!

    • Jordan Hopfner

      You’re very welcome, glad it helped you out! When I first attempted the triple boot I had that system partition as well and I deleted it. Windows would no longer boot until I did a repair using this article I thought about including that in the tutorial, but decided to write based off a fresh installation instead. And I agree, OpenELEC is SO much faster than running it within Windows!

  • Alex

    I followed your tutorial and managed to install and boot into Windows 7 and Ubantu but unfortunately when trying to boot into OpenELEC, i get error: fileΒ  ‘/KERNEL’Β  not found.

    Please can you help me with this. How can I checked I i actually have been able to copy the KERNEL and SYSTEM files in The OE_SYSTEM drive. When trying to access the default lost and found folder it reports permission denied. Also, though i see the files dissapear from the target folder during the move process, I actually do not see the files in the root of OE_SYSTEM drive. Im almost complete. just cant get to boot into OPENELEC.


    Many Thanks

  • Jordan Hopfner

    Hey Alex,

    Did you make sure to run the Ubuntu move command instead of the Linux Mint one? You can check if you successfully moved the Kernel file by opening a file browser Window in Ubuntu and clicking on your OE_SYSTEM partition. You should be able to see both the KERNEL and SYSTEM files on there.

  • Phil

    The correct path for my machine on Ubuntu 12.10 was:

    sudo mv KERNEL /media/ubuntu/OE_SYSTEM
    sudo mv SYSTEM /media/ubuntu/OE_SYSTEM

  • Felix Mejia

    Thanks a lot.

  • zucca

    Hi Jordan,
    thank you for your work.
    I have a problem, after installed Mint, on reboot i have a error message “missing operating system” on boot.
    Only way for restart windows correctly is modify BOOT flag by GParted from boot partition to Win7 partition… where i wrong? can I try with a EFI partition instead boot ext4?
    thanks for cooperation.

    • Jordan Hopfner

      Hey zucca,

      I can’t really offer you any tips as far as your error goes. My advice would be to maybe start from step 1 and try again, paying close attention to the steps. Hope you get ‘er figured out man.

  • zucca

    ok, i’ll check asap.
    another question: is the /boot partition necessary for works?

  • Chris Mousset

    For my Asrock Ion Mediacenter I started years ago with Ubuntu using XBMC. Later on, Xbmcbuntu and finally OpenElec.
    OpenElec is fantastic but has no real browser support apart from an opera-plugin.
    So, I installed LUbuntu and used your instructions to boot OpenElec.
    Now I can watch flash video via browser using LUbuntu ( dutch broadcasting and still have OpenElec as the main OS.

    Thanks very much!

  • zucca

    ok, i found solution without boot partition (i don’t know why i had problem with it), following this tutorial: .
    thank’s anyway Jordan πŸ˜‰

  • binbash

    Hi Jordan – excellent post. Would it be possible to triple boot ChromeOS/Ubuntu/Openelec on say the new Acer C720? It comes with 16GB SSD which I think is adequate for all 3 don’t you think? It also has an HDMI out hence the idea to put on Openelec.

    This site shows how to put Ubuntu onto the Chrombook which gets me 2/3 of the way there:

    But now i am stuck on how to add Openelec as a boot option :(. Any help would be much appreciated!

  • cefs

    Hello i have a question : partition must be GPT or MSDOs at the begining ?


    • Jordan Hopfner

      The partition and file system types are listed in the table at the top of the article.

      • KB

        I think cefs has a point though. How would you modify your tutorial for a PC with a UEFI BIOS?

        • Jordan Hopfner

          Sorry I misunderstood his question. The partition table type shouldn’t matter, I believe for 2 TB and under it should be MSDOS, and for over 2 TB it should be GPT.

          I don’t know if you’d need to modify it all with a UEFI BIOS.

          • Jelle

            On my UEFI system and GPT disk I’m unable to create an Extended partition after the 3rd primary partition. i am able if I make the disk MSDOS instead of GPt, but then Windows refuses to install on it.

            I’m still Googling for the answer πŸ™‚

  • AndyB

    I’ve searched everywhere for this info! This was quick, easy and nicely done.


  • PJD1976

    This is a great guide. Highly recommended. However, if you find you do not have permission to write to the OE_SYSTEM folder you will have to open a root access window with the following command: gksu nemo. Then you can drag and drop the Kernel and system files into OE_SYSTEM. Again, great guide Jordan.

  • oxus

    I have used your tut on a Lubuntu ditribution.
    With some modification.
    I have a 200 gb hdd.
    1. Install win 7 on a partition (80gb)
    2. Install Lubuntu ( 2 ext4 partition + 1 swap partition )
    From Lubuntu with gparted I make 2 more partition on Lubuntu extendet partition
    – OE_DATA
    Grub customizer install on Lubuntu.
    3. Mount in Lubuntu OE_SYSTEM
    4. Download latest OpenElec distribution , untar and move with:

    5. Open Grub Customizer and a new entry OpenElec with custom code:

    set root=(hd0,x)
    linux /KERNEL KERNEL boot=/dev/sdax disk=/dev/sday quiet nosplash

    where x – your OE SYSTEM partition
    y – OE DATA – partition
    6. Save , reboot and use OE

  • Jelle

    This article could use an update for UEFI systems. On my UEFI system and GPT disk I’m unable to create an Extended partition after the 3rd primary partition. When I make the disk MBR instead of GPT, Windows refuses to install on it.

    I will add some of my tips and tricks that got things up and running on my UEFI system. Had quite some stuff to sort out, but it all worked in the end πŸ™‚