Dual Boot Vista HE Prem / Suse 11.1 on P7805u FX


I am attempting to install OpenSUSE 11.1 onto a hard drive that already contains a Windows Vista Home Edition Premium partition of approx. 160 GB in size and a ‘PQSERVICE’ partition (created by Gateway) of about 10-12 GB in size.

The target machine is a Gateway P7805u FX laptop. The target hard drive is 320 GB in size.

Basically, what I want to be able to do is to have 1 partition of ~ 160 GB for Vista use, and use the remaining space for Suse 11.1 (i.e., about 140-150 GB taking into account the fact that the PQSERVICE partition exists).

Now, I have attempted to install SUSE on this machine, letting the installation program make automatic choices about partitions and so forth.

What happens is that the installation program tells me that it has failed to write the bootloader ‘because of partitions’ (or somesuch).

If I ignore this and let the installation continue on its merry way, it gets as far as writing about 35-40% of the packages and then tells me that it has run out of space at which point the installation seems hosed and my only option is to reboot or try to reinstall.

When I rebooted, Vista forced a disk check. Fortunately, everything was OK.

I noticed that the partition had shrunk from its original size down to 180 GB. So that part of the SUSE intallation seems to have worked OK!

So, what I’d like to know now is how to get a dual-boot setup going on this machine, given that my Vista partition was successfully shrunk, but that the installation program still seems unable to automatically be able to write bootloader info!


It’s just 1 HD of 320GB? yes?
And Suse has shrunk vista to 160GB?

Do you know your partition table?
A live cd is handy here. When in the desktop do:

sudo fdisk -l

The partition with a * has the active boot flag. We need to know that info. Post all the fdisk output!
Then we can help further.

I think you need to post the layout of the current partitions for someone to help you on this.

You can try installing openSUSE and choose the expert options at the disk partition prompt so that you can get the details of the current setup. After noting down the details, you may safely abort the installation.

[EDIT] Wow, caf4926 was faster that me!

Thanks for the assistance.

OK, Expert Partitioner gives me this:

Device            Size                F    Type                FS Type      Label

/dev/sda         298.09 GB             Hitachi-HTS72323
/dev/sda1        11.72 GB               UNKNOWN                 NTFS        PQSERVICE
/dev/sda2        178.10 GB             HPFS/NTFS                NTFS        OS
/dev/sda3        108.27 GB             Extended
/dev/sda5        2.00 GB                Linux Native
/dev/sda6        2.01 GB                Linux Native

Note: the ‘F’ column is empty. Apologies for the somewhat sloppy formatting.

If I attempt to continue beyond this point, I get the bootloader problem.


OK. That is a complete mess. Sorry.

Start the install again.

The sda3 is an extended partition - it just contains logical partitions ie; sda5, sda6

However, sda5 &6 are only 2GB.
Delete sda6 and format sda5 as swap, and create 2 new logical partitions:

so it looks like this (I approx the size of /home)

Device            Size                F    Type                FS Type      Label

/dev/sda         298.09 GB             Hitachi-HTS72323
/dev/sda1        11.72 GB               UNKNOWN                 NTFS        PQSERVICE
/dev/sda2        178.10 GB             HPFS/NTFS                NTFS        OS
/dev/sda3        108.27 GB             Extended
/dev/sda5        2.00 GB                Linux Native            swap
/dev/sda6        20.00 GB                Linux Native           ext3        /
/dev/sda7        86.00 GB               Linux Native            ext3        /home

Check this guide
Install Demo - With Pics and Video - openSUSE Forums


Partitioning/Install Guide - openSUSE Forums

Well, the good news is that the problem has been resolved.

With the aid of a friend, the bad partition setup created by the auto-installer was deleted and the following was done:

  1. Created a max size extended partition (in my case, about 108 GB)

  2. Created a single swap partition of 4 GB in size, to match the RAM size of the laptop.

  3. Created a 25 GB / partition

  4. Created a /home partition using remaining space.

The machine now presents a loader screen from which I can choose to boot Vista or SUSE and successfully boots the chosen OS.

Now that everything works, I suppose the remaining questions would be, “Why couldn’t the auto-installer do this?” Does having the PQSERVICE partition screw things up?

From what I was able to tell, it seemed that the auto-installer was trying to write bootloader info into one of the swap partitions it created!


Just put it down to experience or lack thereof.

It’s usually user error and not the installer. Sorry to be so blunt. But well done in getting it sorted. Hope you enjoy openSUSE.:slight_smile: