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Thread: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

  1. #1

    Default Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    Hello, first post here. I'm a current Manjaro user and would like to try Tumbleweed.

    I have a BTRFS filesystem containing my Manjaro installation and /home directory in subvolumes. My question is, will YAST let me install to a different subvolume of the same partition, without deleting the contents of the existing subvolumes? Or would it require the partition to be reformatted?

    There is a logical reason I'd like to do this instead of shrinking my Manjaro partition and creating a new one after it. I may choose to delete Manjaro if I'm satisfied with Tumbleweed after thorough testing. I am using over 350 GiB in my /home directory on a 465 GiB hard drive. I would not be able to copy all of those files into a separate partition created for Tumbleweed with the amount free space I have. It would be much easier to move my existing ~/Music, ~/Pictures, ~/Documents, ~/Videos, etc. to Tumbleweed's subvolume and then uninstall Manjaro with a simple "btrfs subvolume delete" command.

    I am willing to rename Manjaro's subvolumes if openSUSE also uses /@ and /@home for its installation. I know how to update Manjaro's GRUB and /etc/fstab to boot from a different subvolume.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    As a personal choice i would never reuse partitions without knowing that it may cause major boot problems and other issues. Ext4 is best for stability.

    Quote Originally Posted by ben781 View Post
    Hello, first post here. I'm a current Manjaro user and would like to try Tumbleweed.

    I have a BTRFS filesystem containing my Manjaro installation and /home directory in subvolumes. My question is, will YAST let me install to a different subvolume of the same partition, without deleting the contents of the existing subvolumes? Or would it require the partition to be reformatted?

    There is a logical reason I'd like to do this instead of shrinking my Manjaro partition and creating a new one after it. I may choose to delete Manjaro if I'm satisfied with Tumbleweed after thorough testing. I am using over 350 GiB in my /home directory on a 465 GiB hard drive. I would not be able to copy all of those files into a separate partition created for Tumbleweed with the amount free space I have. It would be much easier to move my existing ~/Music, ~/Pictures, ~/Documents, ~/Videos, etc. to Tumbleweed's subvolume and then uninstall Manjaro with a simple "btrfs subvolume delete" command.

    I am willing to rename Manjaro's subvolumes if openSUSE also uses /@ and /@home for its installation. I know how to update Manjaro's GRUB and /etc/fstab to boot from a different subvolume.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    I would not recommend what you suggest. Mixing OS's on a single file system sounds like a real mess.

    Is your home on a separate partition or is it a sub volume of the BTRFS partition??? If a separate partition it should be no problem to reuse for another OS. If on the same as root then that is a bad way to set things up.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    I agree with others that you'd have to know what you're doing to do what you're suggesting and accept some risk.

    But,
    It's not difficult to do as you are asking...
    During your Install, just select "Expert Partitioner"
    You'll be presented initially with a recommended layout, you can modify as you wish...
    Specifically relating to your question of mounting existing partitions to be part of your new Install,
    You'd rt-click on any recommended partition and click "Edit..."
    You're then presented with options to reformat(you wouldn't want to do this) and to mount differrently which you would configure... Instead of creating new you would point to an existing partition.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    Thank you to everyone for the input. What I will actually do is back up Manjaro’s "/" and the dot files from /home/ben to a USB flash drive. Then I can reuse the same /home subvolume for openSUSE. If something doesn't work out with openSUSE, I can easily restore my Manjaro installation and configuration.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can openSUSE be installed to a BTRFS partition with existing subvolumes, without reformatting?

    This is why openSUSE defaults to a separate home partition. Makes it easy to change OS and keep your data. having all on one partition is a lock in.

    If you don't mount a separate home the install should default to directory in root. I don't know how you can preserve the data on an install because root will be formatted (Including sub volumes!)

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