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Thread: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

  1. #1
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    Default Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    I have an elderly Dell XPS 64-bit laptop with legacy BIOS, not EFI capable. It is dual boot, Windows 10 (Home) and openSUSE 13.2 (I said it was old!).


    The hard drive is 512GB. The original “Dell Utility” resides on sda1 (fat16), Win10 on sda2 and 3 (both ntfs), and openSUSE is in logical partitions sda5 thru9, ext4 throughout (except that one of them is swap); sda5 is a small separate partition mounted as /boot with grub2.


    I want to install Leap 15.1, fresh install to replace openSUSE 13.2 completely, from DVD install medium. No brtfs; ext4/swap unchanged, though with the separate /boot partition merged into /.


    At the end of the partitioning setup for the install I get a message saying "Not enough space before the first partition to install the bootloader" with a warning that the system “might not boot” and asking if I want to proceed.


    I’ve never encountered that before and don’t know what it means or how seriously to take it. What’s the best way of dealing with it? Is there a workaround, or do I just plough ahead?

    RobinK
    Wellington, NZ

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Show fdisk -l so we can see. It may be fine it is a warning not an error also maybe it works ok

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Quote Originally Posted by gogalthorp View Post
    Show fdisk -l so we can see. It may be fine it is a warning not an error also maybe it works ok

    For the record I've done many, many fresh installs of opensuse into dual- and multi-boot systems, including encrypted partitions, over the last twenty years and more; and this is the first time I've encountered this particular warning.

    Anyway, fdisk -l as requested:

    Code:
    Disk /dev/sda: 465.8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disklabel type: dos
    Disk identifier: 0x98000000
    
    Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
    /dev/sda1              63    192779    192717  94.1M de Dell Utility
    /dev/sda2          194560  21166079  20971520    10G  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda3  *     21166080 507443183 486277104 231.9G  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda4       507443184 976771071 469327888 223.8G  f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5       507445248 507957247    512000   250M 83 Linux
    /dev/sda6       507959296 553015295  45056000  21.5G 83 Linux
    /dev/sda7       553017344 968579071 415561728 198.2G 83 Linux
    /dev/sda8       968581120 976214015   7632896   3.7G 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda9       976216064 976771071    555008   271M 83 Linux
    
    Disk /dev/mapper/cr_ata-WDC_WD5000BEVT-75ZAT0_WD-WXNY08NA8859-part7: 198.2 GiB, 212765507584 bytes, 415557632 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    You have an old style partition configuration with logical "cylinders" comprised of 255 "heads" and 63 "sectors per track". This makes the "unused" space between the MBR sector and the first partition sector a limited size in which Grub might not fit. All you can do is ignore the warning, finish the installation, and see whether it boots or not. How much space Grub needs varies according to various installation configuration options. More often than not it fits.

    Another option is to not put Grub on the MBR. Grub doesn't need to be on MBR to boot Linux. It can boot from the very same code Windows boots from, based upon which partition contains the boot flag. The flag can be moved among bootable partitions according to which bootloader you prefer. Windows' bootloader can load Grub, just as Grub can load Windows' bootloader.

    A better plan might be to fully repartition to the modern standard that makes that "unused" space for Grub to live more than ample, one MB rather than 32K. You could even change the partitioning type to GPT (probably; I'm not sure whether Windows permits GPT without UEFI as well) even though you don't have UEFI support. That way there is no distinction between logical and primary.
    Reg. Linux User #211409 *** multibooting since 1992
    Primary: 42.3,TW,15.0 & 13.1 on Haswell w/ RAID
    Secondary: eComStation (OS/2)&42.3 on 965P/Radeon
    Tertiary: TW,15.0,42.3,Fedora,Debian,more on Kaby Lake,Q45,Q43,G41,G3X,965G,Cedar,Caicos,Oland,GT218&&&

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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Quote Originally Posted by RobinJK View Post
    I have an elderly Dell XPS 64-bit laptop with legacy BIOS, not EFI capable. It is dual boot, Windows 10 (Home) and openSUSE 13.2 (I said it was old!).
    I have an old Dell Inspiron laptop, except with Windows 7. I never did try upgrading to Windows 10.

    It is doing fine with openSUSE 15.1.

    At the end of the partitioning setup for the install I get a message saying "Not enough space before the first partition to install the bootloader" with a warning that the system “might not boot” and asking if I want to proceed.
    Tell it to ignore the problem, and continue. It will work just fine.

    If you were using "btrfs", this would be a problem. But, using "ext4", the grub installer can handle it.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;
    testing Leap 15.2Alpha

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Thanks everybody. You've confirmed my instinct just to go ahead anyway. I'll do that in the next day or so, and let you know .....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Quote Originally Posted by RobinJK View Post
    Thanks everybody. You've confirmed my instinct just to go ahead anyway. I'll do that in the next day or so, and let you know .....
    I said I'd report back. Ignoring the bootloader warning caused no problems. Grub2 works as it should dual boot Win 10 and Leap 15.1 without any fiddling on my part.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad it worked as expected.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;
    testing Leap 15.2Alpha

  9. #9

    Default Re: Old laptop; install Leap 15.1 dual boot; bootloader warning

    Quote Originally Posted by RobinJK View Post
    I said I'd report back. Ignoring the bootloader warning caused no problems. Grub2 works as it should dual boot Win 10 and Leap 15.1 without any fiddling on my part.
    That sounds good. Yes.

    But you may have just postponed a proper solution, possibly leading to problems with future windows updates, see thread
    https://forums.opensuse.org/showthre...is-the-default

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