What is the most robust (e.g. recoverable) way to create multi-boot operating system with ‘all the big ones’?

Joe Videtto April 7, 2012
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I’d like to start with a great thank-you to the authors of the site, and all those that respond. This is one of my daily website visits, and I always learn something new, AND USEFUL.

Now, a little background for my question – I had created a dual boot operating system that first had Windows XP, and then I added Windows 7. Eventually, the XP caught a virus that I just couldn’t get rid of, and I had to reinstall. I then lost the ‘dual boot’ option and could no longer boot into Windows 7.

I have a new goal – I’d like to install all the ‘big operating’ systems on my next hard drive (I have an Intel corei7 PC), so I could potentially run apps on and/or develop under all 3. I would like it to have:

1.) Windows XP
2.) Windows 7
3.) Windows 8

4.) Android (I’m guessing this would run over Windows though

5.) iOS (to develop for Mac and iPad – please correct me if I need more OS’s than this)

6.) Linux (haven’t decided which one yet)

Could one of our experts out there outline the things I need to think about and how to go about this, so if one of the OS’s gets corrupt, I can still recover and reboot?

Even better, recommend
a.) what order to install the OSs,

b.) whether to install to the same (single drive with different partitions) or different hard drives,

c. and what backup/restore disks to make for each that will require the minimu back-up hard drive space – I’m assuming most viruses will be attacking the OS directories, and don’t want to have to back up all my data (is this a good assumption ?)

Thanks in advance,
Joe V.

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