I have a 13inch Macbook Pro i5 and I would like to duel boot backtrack 5 on it as my ram struggles a bit when I run it inside a virtualbox.
I have heard stories how it has borked the install on osx, has anyone had experience with this?
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I have never tried installing backtrack on my mac but i did some research and found.
That, backtrack is based on debian.
I am not using OSX myself, but can point out on how it can work nicely.
when a system does POST, the self test at startup, it then reads the MBR and try to load the reference given in there. In general case GRUB gets installed in 2 parts, one is in MBR and other part gets loaded later. So if you install any current OS, it has a tendency to overwrite the MBR with its own form of boot loader thereby making the previous one inaccessible henceforth you cannot boot to prior OS.
you can try this in your virtual box, install BT and then try to install XP over it, you will find XP to mess up everything for BT.(because generally they say, first install windows, then linux). XP box nt loader will be overwritten in MBR thereby no reference to grub causing it to fail.
now if you take a snapshot of the first 512 bytes of a HDD before you have installed the second OS, then that backup of MBR can be loaded with the boot loader to mount and start first OS successfully.
This was done by XP systems during the transition period from windows 98 to XP. This can be one way of doing it.
there is another option for Linux, during its install, you can choose to install grub on your partition's boot sector rather than the MBR. this will keep the existing MBR intact and the Linux things will be self contained in a partition. Then in your OSX boot loader, you need to create a reference to load OS from linux partition, thereby keeping both safe and independent.