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Thread: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

  1. #1
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    Default Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    My wife decided she wants a new desktop PC , and so earlier today she ordered one over the internet.

    Her OLD desktop PC that she is replacing is a 32-bit AMD Sempon-2600 w/1GB (Epox EP-8K7A motherboard) w/AGP ATI RV280 (Radeon-9200Pro) graphics [age-4+ years]. It works well, but my wife wants something faster. We will likely remove the atheros wireless card (a DLink) from that old PC and also remove the extra 300GB hard drive from this old PC, and then give the PC away as a gift to our maid. The wireless card and hard drive may go in my wife's new PC (TBC).

    The new PC she ordered looks pretty neat:
    • Motherboard: Asus P7H55-M, H55
    • CPU: Core i7-860, 4 x 2.8GHz
    • 6 GB RAM (DDR3-1333)
    • Graphic card: GeForce G 210, 512MB RAM
    • 500 GB SATA II 7200rpm (16MB cache) hard drive
    • DVD burner
    • Powersupply - 550 watts

    She wanted a cheaper PC (with some obscure motherboard) but the Asus was only a few Euro's more, and I found users noting this Asus motherboard worked for them in Ubuntu, so I had her upgrade to the Asus P7H55-M, H55. The same for the graphics, she had originally looked at a Core i5 and was considering an Intel GMA500, which is a nice chipset but its Linux support is poor compared to what MS-Windoze users get, ... and then she considered an ATI Radeon 5450 (also a nice card under MS-Windows but no HD support under Linux), so I manged to talk her into going for a Core i7 with the nVidia GeForce G210 (and not pay much more). My research suggests the G210 should work with the "nv", "nouveau" and proprietary "nvidia" graphic drivers. The G210 may not be as capable as the Intel GMA500 nor the ATI Radeon 5450, but it is more compatible with Linux.

    The PC has no operating system and I anticipate it will come with a blank unformatted hard drive.

    My wife noted the PC should arrive in a week or two.

    My wife is now thinking she will carve up the hard drive like this:
    • sda1 - 150 GB NTFS data partition (eventually she may installWin7 or WinXP here)
    • sda2 - 150 GB NTFS data partition (this will always be for data)
    • sda3 - 200 GB extended
    • sda4 - 2 GB swap
    • sda5 - 25 GB " / " (for openSUSE-11.3)
    • sda6 - 170 GB (approx) /home (for openSUSE-11.3)
    She noted she is also thinking of installing 32-bit winXP in Virtual Box under 64-bit openSUSE-11.3 in the 170 GB /home. She is planning on allocating the Virtual Box client/virtual winXP about 2.5 GB of the PC's 6GB RAM, and probably give it the capability to expand to about 1/2 of the 170GB partition.

    But the fact she is even considering putting openSUSE-11.3 on first, is interesting (and encouraging) to me.

    Since she plans to put MS windows on later , I need to brush up on my openSUSE MBR restoration techniques, as this (Linux installed first) is not the nominal way to setup a new PC.

    It should be interesting.

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    Default Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    You'll probably be very qualified to write a Wiki article on How to convert a family member to Linux when you're finished.

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    Smile Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    The news about the new PC sounds good to me and the new CPU: Core i7-860, 4 x 2.8GHz is the best part that I can see. I have only a couple of comments. If you think you want Windows, I would go for Win7 and install it first and then decide on the rest of the setup. Otherwise, I would go VM and WinXP if you still have a good copy.

    You would be hard pressed to install a normal Windows copy after the fact (after loading openSUSE) and it seems that Win7 will create two partitions, one small booting and a larger for Windows. I don't agree with having more than one NTFS partition. Let it be Windows or Not, but have two of the same type on the same drive does not make sense to me. I would consider loading a standard MBR and putting the grub loader into the extended partition drive holder. It appears you can do this and not mess up the logical drives within. As for the main openSUSE partition, I suggest it be 40 GB and then the rest into /home. The Extended partition should be last in my estimation. That would look like this:

    MBR - Generic Booting Code
    sda1 100 MB System, (Active when installed), Primary
    sda2 299.9 GB Windows,Primary
    sda3 2 GB Primary,SWAP
    sda4 200 GB Primary, (Active after you install openSUSE), Grub Loaded, Extended Partition
    sda5 40 GB Logical Drive, / openSUSE partition
    sda6 160 GB Logical Drive, /home Partition

    One thing is for sure, with all of the experts around here, it may be hard to get a consensus on what to do but I am sure you will make it work just super fine.

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

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

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    Default Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    You would be hard pressed to install a normal Windows copy after the fact (after loading openSUSE) and it seems that Win7 will create two partitions, one small booting and a larger for Windows.
    This is what I need to research ...
    • how many partions does win7 need ?
    • and how difficult is it to install win7 AFTER Linux has been installed ?
    • how difficult is it to recovery Linux AFTER windows7 has been installed (wiping grub)
    My wife just mentioned to me she wants to put openSUSE on first, and she is firm that she does NOT want to purchase win7 until around Christmas.

    The idea for the 2 NTFS drives is my wifes. Her logic - she figures she will mistakenly trash win7 and have to re-install it, so she wants to have a second NTFS partition to put her Windoze data that is not lost when she re-installs win7.

    Re-installing openSUSE is easy and so as long as we keep the /home in place, losing openSUSE Linux boot when win7 installed may not be too painful (as long as we keep the /home with the Virtual Box containing winXP).

    ... I'm also hoping we can plug in her used 300GB hard drive into this PC (giving her a 500 GB sda and a 300 GB sdb) and maybe then she will come up with the idea NOT to have two NTFS partitions on the sda drive.

    But Ken Yap has it right on the money when he notes it all has to be her idea. If I suggest anything, then she will do the opposite (unless she thinks I am 'playing her' and then she will try and out guess me). So its best to just go with the flow and try not to interfer too much, ... which is definitely NOT easy for me.

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    Smile Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    • how many partions does win7 need ?
    • and how difficult is it to install win7 AFTER Linux has been installed ?
    • how difficult is it to recovery Linux AFTER windows7 has been installed (wiping grub)
    Win7 creates two partitions by default. If you upgrade Vista or something, it will not do that. The real issue is to convince Windows 7 to install at all when a non-standard (ie read Linux) installation exists, even when the start of the disk is blank or NTFS. As long as the first partition is a Windows load of some sort and marked active and the MBR is normal, it might load, but it is the chicken or the egg. How do you get that first copy of Windows there unless you did it first.

    You can try to hide partitions, I think you can do that with Gparted as I remember, but anything you can hide can be found. Anyway, if you load openSUSE first, you got to ask if you will want to reload openSUSE again, after you are unable to install a copy of Windows you just purchased. So, you surely can decide to go the VM way, but if you want the real thing, go for it now or accept the reload of openSUSE later. Of course, reloading openSUSE is no disaster at all. In fact, it is a second chance to get everything just the way you want. But personnel data can be a hassle to recover or copy around making way for Windows later.

    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: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    My Gigabyte motherboards give me the option of what hard drive I want to boot from. Using one drive for Windows 7 and one for openSUSE 11.3 might be a better way to go. If this is possible with your ASUS motherboard then each boot loader only worries about the drive it's concerned with.

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    Smile Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    You know FlameBait, you could be brilliant and you don't even know it. oldcpu said they had an extra 300GB hard drive they would be saving. While I don't know the condition or age of this drive, the new PC BIOS would allow you to select the drive you want to boot from. You could load openSUSE there now or Windows 7 there later and select the boot drive from your BIOS. Even later, it is no problem to boot a second drive with Windows from the first drive with the openSUSE grub menu and it works just fine.

    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: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    i was just very surprised that win 7 and ofice 2010 took up 35 gigs of the 40 gig partition i set up on my dads computer ( the rest is for data )
    just those two and a fresh install .

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    Default Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    The real issue is to convince Windows 7 to install at all when a non-standard (ie read Linux) installation exists, even when the start of the disk is blank or NTFS. As long as the first partition is a Windows load of some sort and marked active and the MBR is normal, it might load, but it is the chicken or the egg. How do you get that first copy of Windows there unless you did it first.
    Apologies, but I confess I am rather stubbornly reluctant to accept 100% the veracity of this, given what I discovered when surfing. I appreciate tremendously your caution, but I want to be certain, and so my most sincere apologies if I double check your excellent recommendation/cautions. Please don't be upset at my questions and double checking, but if there is a 1% exception to your caution, where that exception lets me keep Linux when installing Windows 7, then I want to explore that option.

    First, my wife has decided she WILL install Linux first and will NOT purchase Windows7 for another month or two. I do NOT want to push her to change her view on that, as she could then change her mind and decide not to install Linux at all.

    So its a given, Linux WILL be installed first.

    Next, she also wants to install WinXP in a Virtual Boxsession on Linux. After installing that Virtual WinXP session she does NOT want to lose Linux as that will lose the WinXP Virtual Box session (as she will spend dozens of hours tuning winXP in Virtual Box).

    I prefer NOT to have to put that Virtual Box session in an exotic location to hide it from Win7 (although that Virtual Session backup 'may' be my only alternative).

    Hence if at all possible, I want to install Windows7 AFTER openSUSE is installed, and I do NOT want to lose openSUSE.

    I note Ubuntu users who claim they installed win7 AFTER installing Ubuntu and it worked: “How to” Dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 (Ubuntu installed first) .... Plus there are guides for restoring Ubuntu's boot manager (for legacy grub) after installing Windows7: Restore legacy grub after Win7 install

    I can't believe Windows7 would treat Ubuntu different from openSUSE, hence it makes me think this IS possible.

    Now while many Ubuntu user's on the “How to” Dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 (Ubuntu installed first) thread had problems, when I study their posts I see they made mistakes in their install, or they made mistakes in their restoration of grub.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    Anyway, if you load openSUSE first, you got to ask if you will want to reload openSUSE again, after you are unable to install a copy of Windows you just purchased.
    Why would I be unable to install Windows7 ? Why can't I simply point it to an NTFS partition and tell it to install ? (but not touch the Linux partition).

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    Of course, reloading openSUSE is no disaster at all. In fact, it is a second chance to get everything just the way you want.
    True, except its a pain to recover (from backup) a massive 40GB to 50GB image file of winXP in a Virtual Box session (as the wife does NOT want to delete the WinXP Virtual Session when win7 is installed).

    As for a 2nd chance to tune openSUSE, 'just the way I want', that may be true for a beginner, but not for an average user like me. I have done so much testing of alpha, beta, milestone releases of openSUSE, and using SuSE-Pro since 7.3 and openSUSE since 10.0 that there is really no need for me to re-install openSUSE to get things 'just the way I want' . I'm sure you are the same. I've done countless installs of different versions of openSUSE, so many times, I can almost do it in my sleep.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcdaniel3 View Post
    But personnel data can be a hassle to recover or copy around making way for Windows later.
    Exactly, and the WinXP Virtual Box session will likely be the hassle here that I do not want to have to restore from backup (although that may be my only alternative).

    I've also been looking here, but they have no example of installing Win7 when Linux already installed: The definitive dual-booting guide: Windows 7, Linux, Vista and XP step-by-step ... although how different is the keeping of WinXP (when installing win7) from the keeping of Linux (when installing win7) other than boot manager considerations?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wife orders new PC with no OS ... possible openSUSE candidate

    I don't know about installing W7 but you needn't worry that it will find the XP inside a VBox image. VBox installs live inside files on the host's filesystem, and it's extremely unlikely that W7 will mount the Linux filesystem and then look for an XP install on it.

    So your problem boils down to installing W7 after Linux. If you were intending to transfer files out of XP to W7, then that's another problem but quite solvable. With a flash memory stick, for example.

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