Correct setup of partitions during installation on 2*120 HD

I have an HP laptop with 2 HDs of 120 gb each, with Vista loaded on it. On the second HD there is a small partition from a prior pclinuxos installation a year ago, so as far as i can get it the current setup is like that.

110gb vista (used 40 gb, rest free)
5 gb HP recovery partition

100 gb (used as a storage drive)
20 gb as an extended partition (i think) holding the old linux installed

I made a first installation of opensuse 11.1 and it proposed the changes:
Format partition sdb5 (7fb) for /with ext3
use sbd6 as swap
set mount point of /dev/sdb7 to /home
set mount point of /dev/sda1 to /windows/c
set mount point of /dev/sda2 to /windows/d
set mount point of /dev/sdb1 to /windows/e

However when i loaded the installation, there were files from the old pclinuxos installation in it (i guess because the old partitions weren’t formatted.

My questions:

  1. Wouldn’t it be preferable to have the opensuse partitions on HD1? (more disk space currently available plus i remember in the HP manual saying the OS should be loaded on HD1?) Or is it better if i just move completely the files i have in HD2 (mp3s, videos etc) to HD1, and use the entire HD2 for the linux partition?
  2. Should the swap, home and /partitions be on the same HD or can they be shared across the two HDs
  3. To make a long story short, what would the recommended partition setup would be for my system?

Thanks in advance for your help

This was written for 11.0 but the principles apply

Partitioning/Install Guide - openSUSE Forums

11.1 has a different partitioner
some help here
Install Demo - With Pics and Video - openSUSE Forums

Thanks for the link. What i would like to know is what is preferable
To shrink Vista partition in HD1 and put the / partition and swap partition there, setting for example the HD2 as the /home partition?

or to leave HD1 to Vista and set /, swap and /home to HD2?

I guess the first would be more organized (the entire disk as a storage media) but would it be best?

And another question. if i create a new partition to host opensuse, should it be extended or primary?

There’s something to say for both options. Keep OS’s apart from storage or keep an OS on each disk. In fact that’s the choice. I prefer OS’s apart from storage, but these days I haven’t got any other OS’s, they are all in virtual machines.
For performance sake it’s better to have the / and /home partitions on separate drives.

About the other question: if you want it on an extended partition, you’d have to create logical partitions in the extended partition. openSUSE does not care whether it boots from a primary or logical partition.

I think myself the best way is to have Vista on it’s own HD and SUSE on the other.
The guide I posted explains this.
This way you preserve the Vista bootcode. It’s possible to partition the windows HD to have a store partition of some kind which will be accessible from Linux. As will of course the Vista partition itself.
So with 2 HD, certainly the best policy is Windows on one and Linux on the other.
When you install SUSE set the HD you intend to install to as 1st in boot order in the BIOS. Make careful note of how SUSE identifies that HD ie; sda or sdb, you will need to know that when making sure the Grub bootloader goes to MBR on the SUSE HD.
The ideal format for partitions in SUSE is

You can make those primary - but if you need more partitions on that HD then you will need to create an extended partition and then logical ones inside that.

Hope that is clear.

Thank you both for your comments. One final question. You say that, since suse will go to the 2nd HD, i should put grub on this 2nd HD, and change the boot order in bios.

In my initial attempt to install suse yesterday, it got installed on this senond HD, (D for windows, hdb for suse) whereas vista is on hda.
I didn’t change anything on the position of grub (don’t remember if there was an option) nor in the bios, so i guess GRUB went to the mbr of the hda (where vista resides). grub loads fine, both suse and vista start fine.

Now that i will be reinstalling suse, is there a reason (speed, stability) to change grub location as you described, since the initial setup worked, or should i leave it as is?

By all means leave as is. No harm there. Don’t expect it to just happen exactly as before. Pay careful attention.
Anyway, it’s easy enough to re-do grub if there is a problem.