Correcting Installation Partitioning Error

In 2007 as newbie I made the mistake of installing Suse 10.0 on one partition and not putting /home on different partition.
Unfortunately I have large volume of data and had been inhibited from attempting remedial action until I could back up. I have just acquired sufficient backup capacity on another machine and am now ready to sort out partitions.

Plan is to have OpenSuse 11.0 on small partition with swap and /home on another large partition. I understand this will enable me to upgrade or try new OSs without losing my data.

I may end up starting over with repartitioning and install and copying back data once done. OTOH if I attempt resizing existing partition to create space for small (say 8Gb0) partition for OS, could somebody please give me a step by step guide on what to do to install new OS on the new partition and make it bootable, have the new OS find the /home partition & data and deactivate/remove the redundant OS on the old shrunk partition. While I am at it could I create a couple of other small partitions so I could try other OSs using a boot manager to select? I used to do all this with OS/2 but not confident with Linux.


If you have a spare disk an old one is fine, I should just read about the partioning concepts.

Then have a play with a Live CD, and your disk with the data on powered off.

That way you’ll soon gain confidence. The installer gives you full control of where things go, mount points and options. If you select expert install and “create” partition proposal, which starts with current table.

If your data is important to you, not having it in one humungeous unwieldy pot is a good idea IMO. And I like using the volume labels to reduce errors, by confusing hda2 with hde2 for instance. Or getting a partition number wrong.

I’ve always used this document as a basis;
HOWTO: Multi Disk
System Tuning

I’ve changed my ways somewhat recently and have created a separate data
partition as I’m multi-booting. In this data partition I have things
like .mozilla .gkrellm cxoffice downloads bin Documents etc. Then just
creating softlinks to the relevant directories in my OS home directory.

It means booting into different OSes nothing changes. Ultimately I will
just script the whole thing so an new install should be fairly painless.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.1 x86 Kernel
up 1 day 7:35, 1 user, load average: 0.41, 0.19, 0.22
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 180.22

Many thanks to you both and especially for the reference. Excellent and much needed guidance for me.

Similar question:

I have openSuSE 10.3 on one partition, Windows XP on one, and a third that’s “unassigned”. (Guys at the local LUG I went to a few years ago set it up for me.) My present set-up looks like this:

/dev/sda 42.95gb IBM-DTLA-307045
/dev/sda1 13.65gb HPFS/NTFS NTFS /windows/C
/dev/sda2 15.01gb Linux native Ext.3
/dev/sda3 517.72mb Linux swap swap swap
/dev/sda4 13.78gb Extended
/dev/sda5 5.52gb F Linux native Ext.3 /
/dev/sda6 8.27gb F Linux native Ext.3 /home

/dev/sdb 9.32gb WDC-WD100AA
/dev/sdb1 8.82gb Linux native
/dev/sdb2 509.88mb Linux [swap?] swap swap **

I’ve been beating my brains out trying to partition the disks for the new OS, openSuSE 11.1. My goal is to end up with 3 major partitions: one for openSuSE Linux, one for FreeBSD 7.1, and a third for a Debian-based Linux to be named later, as they say :wink: (probably Linux Mint).

I’ve made all kinds of mistakes and had to abort the installation several times. I made the mistake of choosing a button called “Multipath” just to find out what it is and ended up with everything being given in terms of “/dev/mapper” (so the hard drives are designated “/dev/mapper/SATA_IBM_YMEYMN15490” and “/dev/mapper/WDC_WD100AA_WDMA1C10455[6?]9” (parts 1, 2, & 3), respectively, which has done nothing but confuse the heck out of me. (I still don’t understand what “Multipath” is, but now realize it’s some kind of enterprise-related software.) I wasn’t able to get rid of it by going back so I had to abort for the second or third time, because, once it was “on”, it stuck.

Anyway, the latest “recommendation” from the system is as follows:

–create extended partition /dev/sda4 (13.78gb)
–create root partition /dev/sda5 (5.52gb) w/ ext.3
–create partition /dev/sda6 (8.27gb) for /home w/ ext. 3
–use /dev/sda3 as swap
–use /dev/sdb2 as swap
–set mount point of /dev/sda1 to /windows/C**

Now I want to completely wipe out all traces of Windows forever and make the three partitions I mentioned above for the three different operating systems.
(You should know that on a previous attempt at this I set the Windows partition for obliteration.)

How do I do this? The setting of separate partitions for /home and /root is confusing to me. Will these lie within the openSuSE Linux partition or will they take up space outside of it, thus ruining the planned space for installation of the other two OS’s? The “edit-” and “create-partition” areas are so confusing as to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. (e.g., it tells me an “extended partition may not be edited”. Well, WTF? What good is this thing, then?)

Anyway, I’ve stated my goal and described the internal set-up. Can anyone please give clear instructions as to how I can get this done? How, for example, does one create an “unassigned” partition to be filled later by, say, FreeBSD? Should such partitions be formatted with a file system at all, or just left “blank”? Is there a label I can and should choose for it among those offered in the program? Which file system best suits FreeBSD, which must go onto a regular physical partition, not a “logical” one?

I’m sick of fretting over this (for over a day now!). Hope I’ve given enough information. Some guidance, please!


P.S.: Oh, yes, all my data have already been copied onto CD-ROMs, so I’m not worried about that. I know they have to “go bye-bye” in the re-make of the disk.