Überhacker II, Chapter 3: How to Get Many
Operating Systems on One PC, continued ...
How to Create a Triple Boot System without
Boot Magic or System Commander
One of the nice things about Boot Magic and System Commander
is that they are pretty good at enabling you to boot operating
systems located to far down the disk for your BIOS to boot them.
However, you can get around this without buying these products.
Stuart Carter says,
When creating a dual-boot, I always use a 32MB /boot partition
for Linux, then Windows comes next. This ensures both boot partitions
are below whatever limits my BIOS has. After Windows comes the
Linux root and swap.
Become a Computer Recycling Center
Stuart Carter says, "Now I just build a new machine for
each OS. I'm the local repository for discarded computer parts!"
Seriously, in many cities businesses have to pay a fee to dispose
of old computers. Yet oftentimes they are plenty good for your
hacker lab. The really nice thing about this is that your local
trash removal system probably doesn't charge individuals to get
rid of computers. So your risk for giving homes to these discarded
boxen is low, and potential for fun is high.
Run Virtual Machines at the Same Time
on One Computer
Joe Klemencic says:
A drawback of using a multi-boot computer system is that only
one operating system can be active at one time. If you want to
use both Windows and Linux at the same time, you need a separate
machine for each operating system. If you have a powerful machine
with a lot of RAM, you can create Virtual Machines and run a multitude
of operating systems at once, all on the same computer.
is a popular commercial Virtual Machine application, and costs
about the same as two new hard drives. You can download a 30 day
trial to see if your computer can handle the additional processing
and load of multiple concurrent operating systems before you shell
out the cash.
VMWARE offers two different versions and two different operating
· The Workstation version for Windows NT/2000/XP and Linux
clients allows a single workstation to load up any number of additional
operating systems (the list of supported operating systems grows
with every version, and even supports the upcoming Microsoft .Net
server). The Server version allows for you to create virtual clusters
on a Windows NT/2000 Server or Linux server to partition your
For your hacking use, VMWARE Workstation is the preferred choice.
You can install Windows XP as your master operating system and
later install SuSe, Windows 2000, .Net, Novell and Mandrake Linux,
all without having to add additional hard drives or setup dual
booting. Also, if you have a dual or triple boot machine, VMWARE
can make use of those already configured disk partitions instead
of having to reload the operating systems from scratch.
Another benefit of a Virtual Workstation such as VMWARE is that
you can configure it to run in persistent mode. In this mode of
operation, you can mark the operating system to NOT make system
adjustments and installed applications available after a reboot.
This allows you to safely tryout new malware and viruses without
the fear of any anomalies being present after a reboot.
It is also handy for handling the Spyware when visiting certain
websites. Surf the Internet within your VMWARE session, and after
the next reboot of that Virtual Machine, all Spyware is removed.
You can also use Virtual Machines to setup your mini-lab, since
access to network resources is available for both inbound and
To be legal with the license terms, you only need one copy of
VMWARE Workstation for each computer, and that license can boot
any number of Virtual Machines. However, you are still responsible
for owning a valid license for each operating system you install.
Gavin Heer is another VMWARE enthusisast.
I love it especially the Linux version. What I like to do is set
up a VMWARE installation of my "target" machine and
I try to break into it using the host installation. It runs in
another window so it's easy to switch back and forth. Plus you
don't have to worry about dual booting or wrecking your hard drive
while trying to install Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Red Hat on
the same computer (now THAT was an adventure lol). Of course you
need a pretty fast computer but it's pretty sweet.
Many multi-boot resources can be found at http://tldp.org.