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Thread: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

  1. #1
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    Question Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Just acquired a new laptop, Gateway NV, i5-430, 4GB, 500GB HD, Intel GMA, and, of course, Windows 7. I wish to install openSUSE (as I have on my other laptops and boxes, with Windows/XP and (sigh..) one Vista). No problems with partitoning any of them, but I have not partitioned a Windows 7 HD.

    I do wish to keep Windows 7, but SUSE has become my primary OS. So the question is: do I use Windows 7 utilities to "shrink" its main partition and then install 11.3 ? Alternatively, I can use the 11.3 install DVD to do the "shrink". I have already run the install up to, but NOT INCLUDING the actual partitioning.

    Windows has commandeered the first three (3) primary partitions, so SUSE goes to an extended partition. Windows looks something like:

    1: 12GB (Recovery Partition)
    2: 102 MB (System Reserved)
    3. 453GB Windows 7 primary partition

    The 11.3 install proposes reducing #3 (above) to 163GB and allocating the remaining to SUSE (swap, /, and /home). I will probably tinker with the sizes (I really do not need a 280BG /home), and I want some space for an alternate distro.

    Any and all advice on the partitioning choice(s) will be appreciated. I did also attempt "GParted" from the Ubuntu liveCD, but the only way to boot that liveCD was to use "-xforcevesa" and I was not completely confident of that!

    (Note: already created the "factory recovery" DVDs and the apps/drivers DVD. I may dry run them before I do the actual partitioning. There is no data or software on it.)
    Lap: Gateway NV79, i5-430, 4GB, 2 x 500GB HD, Intel GMA HD
    openSUSE 12.3 x64, KDE 4.12.4, Ubuntu 12.04LTS+10.04.3 LTS, Windows 7

    Lap: openSUSE 12.3, KDE 4.12.4, Windows/XP/SP3 guest and a Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS boarder

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Yes just free some space to install to.

    You might want to run a OpenSuse CD or other bootable Linux and do a fdisk -l to make sure there are no hidden surprises. Windows often does not show you the whole truth about a drives partitioning.

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    gogalthorp, have you ever consider buying an external hard drive then loading openSUSE on the external hard drive and booting from that drive to use openSUSE? IT can be done and it allows you to keep your internal drive unmodified. It does cost more to have such a drive, but for instance I found a 500 GB external USB 2.0 hard drive (Small size with no external power supply) for $80 plus tax here at a local computer store.

    Here are some things to consider. You already have three partitions. You can only have four PRIMARY partitions per hard drive. You will need to shrink the Windows partition, create a Logical Partition with perhaps three logical drives within for SWAP, / root partition and /home. You MUST load the grub boot loader into the MBR (Master Boot Record). Finally, should a new service pack come out for Windows 7, you will be unable to load it using this setup. Should something happen to openSUSE, your entire hard drive might not boot.

    Anyway, loading on an external hard drive is not without risks, but the result is Much better when it works.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Quote Originally Posted by gogalthorp View Post
    Yes just free some space to install to.

    You might want to run a OpenSuse CD or other bootable Linux and do a fdisk -l to make sure there are no hidden surprises. Windows often does not show you the whole truth about a drives partitioning.
    I burned and booted the KDE liveCD. All runs correctly, although the initial load (Bienvenue ...) screen was a bit wonky. The "fdisk -l" shows

    Code:
    linux:~ # fdisk -l
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x9dd6057a
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1               1        1567    12586896   27  Unknown
    /dev/sda2   *        1568        1580      104422+   7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda3            1581       60802   475694210    7  HPFS/NTFS
    linux:~ #
    Apparently, no surprises from Redmond or Gateway.

    Jim raises good points on the GRUB in the MBR. I am looking into an eSATA external drive (a USB external might be slow, although USB-3 is supposedly quick).

    In my original post, I had asked the pros and cons of the Windows partitioner vs. the openSUSE installation DVD partitioning tool. I am leaning towards the latter, although I would appreciate any thoughts thereof.

    BTW: the 11.3 KDE liveCD works like a charm, except it does not like to connect to secured routers. I am on the new laptop with that liveCD, and a rather long ethernet cable .
    Lap: Gateway NV79, i5-430, 4GB, 2 x 500GB HD, Intel GMA HD
    openSUSE 12.3 x64, KDE 4.12.4, Ubuntu 12.04LTS+10.04.3 LTS, Windows 7

    Lap: openSUSE 12.3, KDE 4.12.4, Windows/XP/SP3 guest and a Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS boarder

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    Default Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    Here are some things to consider. You already have three partitions. You can only have four PRIMARY partitions per hard drive. You will need to shrink the Windows partition, create a Logical Partition with perhaps three logical drives within for SWAP, / root partition and /home. You MUST load the grub boot loader into the MBR (Master Boot Record).
    Yes, I had to do that with my ThinkPad because Lenovo and MS used up the whole disk with three primaries.

    Finally, should a new service pack come out for Windows 7, you will be unable to load it using this setup.
    First time I heard this, can you explain a bit more? Why wouldn't the SP load?

    Should something happen to openSUSE, your entire hard drive might not boot.
    Yes, but that is why one should burn the two recommended Factory Recovery DVDs before using/changing the system as shipped, in any way.

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    Smile Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    SeanMc98, sorry on my first post, I did not put in your name, but I was being rushed to go to supper.

    I highly recommend you consider loading openSUSE on an External Hard drive. Here is some information about loading openSUSE on that external or secondary hard drive from another post I made in the forum.

    So openSUSE and in particular, grub do indeed work properly when ran from an external hard drive. The issue is really the same for any computer when you decide to boot from a drive that is not the first boot drive. For instance lets say I have a sda and a sdb, sdb must based on hardware be second, but if I boot from sdb through a BIOS setting or manipulation, grub did not know that when it was installed. If you put grub on the boot drive when it is first or sda, all things work, even if openSUSE is on sdb.

    So, what is the problem/fix when you install openSUSE and grub to an external hard drive?

    1. What ever boot drive you select by any BIOS means is HD0. That is the problem in that if I boot from sdb, then it is HD0.

    2. When you installed openSUSE, you did not boot from the external hard drive, so it was NOT labeled by grub as HD0. openSUSE has no way to even guess what hard you are intended on booting from if it is not the first hard drive?

    The fix must be done in one of two ways, depending on where you are at. Are you going to do a new install to an external hard drive or are you trying to fix an existing installation on an external hard drive?

    If it is a new install here are the basics I would follow.

    1. Keep the number of partitions at four or below.
    2. Use all Primary Partitions (no logical Ones)
    3. Install a generic Master Boot Record (MBR)
    4. Install Grub in the "/" root partition. Make this the Active or booting partition.
    5. During the install, you must modify the booting section so that the external drive is HD0 in device.map and in the menu.lst file. Assign other hard drives in the remaining hardware order.

    That is it in a nutshell. Do the above and it will work like a champ. Be for warned that you are trying to NOT install anything on your normal boot drive. Make sure that the booting section is setup just as I say above. Make a backup of any Windows partitions you can not save or restore.
    I would add that you need to back up any critical data. You should always have a boot disk, like GParted, tested and known to work, to help fix any odd issues that might come up. If there is anything more you want to ask, fire away.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

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    Question Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Quote Originally Posted by consused View Post
    Yes, I had to do that with my ThinkPad because Lenovo and MS used up the whole disk with three primaries.


    First time I heard this, can you explain a bit more? Why wouldn't the SP load?

    Yes, but that is why one should burn the two recommended Factory Recovery DVDs before using/changing the system as shipped, in any way.
    The first tasks I did was to burn those two recovery DVD's, and the drivers/apps DVD. I am led to believe that those can restore the laptop to OOTB condition.

    As far as a Microsoft Service Pack update, MS$ has always (XP & Vista, cannot speak for W2K or ME) installed SP's via Microsoft Update, in situ. That part does not scare me. As far as the MBR business, if the HD is corrupted, I can recover the MBR using the Windows Recovery disc (a separate disc that I burned).

    Has anyone every booted SUSE using the Windows boot loader ? I have read up on booting Debian and *buntu via Windows (creating a "bootlinx.ini" file), and updating the Windows "boot.ini". (Just raising the question, as I like GRUB, and will use GRUB).
    Lap: Gateway NV79, i5-430, 4GB, 2 x 500GB HD, Intel GMA HD
    openSUSE 12.3 x64, KDE 4.12.4, Ubuntu 12.04LTS+10.04.3 LTS, Windows 7

    Lap: openSUSE 12.3, KDE 4.12.4, Windows/XP/SP3 guest and a Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS boarder

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    Smile Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    consused, I am sorry I missed your post. It just snuck in on me.

    About Loading Windows Service Packs.

    First time I heard this, can you explain a bit more? Why wouldn't the SP load?
    Basically, if the MBR is not generic or the Windows Partition is not marked bootable, the Service Pack will fail to load. This has been true through Windows Vista. Since Windows 7 SP1 is not out, it is hard to say about that, but I bet it will be true again. If you beg to differ, try it yourself on a disk where Windows is not the active boot partition and see how far you get loading a missing Service Pack.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

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    Default Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMc98 View Post
    In my original post, I had asked the pros and cons of the Windows partitioner vs. the openSUSE installation DVD partitioning tool. I am leaning towards the latter, although I would appreciate any thoughts thereof.
    I followed other strong advice on the forum earlier this year, and used the W7 utility to shrink the large W7 partition. However, it wouldn't shrink below about 50% (IIRC) of its size. I lived with that for now. I used the openSUSE partitioner to setup the three or more extended partitions. During the install (11.2) as the proposal was unsuitable, I used the custom partitioning option.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Partitioning of a (new) Windows 7 HD

    Quote Originally Posted by consused View Post
    I followed other advice on the forum earlier this year, and used the W7 utility to shrink the large W7 partition. However, it wouldn't shrink below about 50% (IIRC) of its size. I lived with that for now. I used the openSUSE partitioner to setup the three or more extended partitions. During the install (11.2) as the proposal was unsuitable, I used the custom partitioning option.
    I had once read that Windows 7 places part of the $MFT (Master File Table) dead center of the original install HD. Since the $MFT is (almost) always unmoveable, and no version of Windows 7 can boot without it, that would explain the 50% shrinkage. I cannot speak for Win 7, but Windows/XP WILL boot with a fragmented $MFT.
    Lap: Gateway NV79, i5-430, 4GB, 2 x 500GB HD, Intel GMA HD
    openSUSE 12.3 x64, KDE 4.12.4, Ubuntu 12.04LTS+10.04.3 LTS, Windows 7

    Lap: openSUSE 12.3, KDE 4.12.4, Windows/XP/SP3 guest and a Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS boarder

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