dual boot vista64 & suse 11.0 x86_64

Hi all,

I have installed Suse 11.0 (and like it!).

But for some purposes, I still want to make use of Vista.
Therefor I decided to make it available through VM Ware. That succeeded, however it has several drawbacks:

  • slow
  • technical problem using USB devices
  • last but not least: during VM ware installation the kernel version seemed to be very important. So I expect problems if I upgrade the kernel.

I need advice in what to do.
I think a dual boot should solve most issues, not?

I have seen some instructions on dual booting on Swerdna au - Home: Welcome to SwerdnaNet , but not how to install Vista on a drive having only suse 11.0.

I assume I can create the NTFS partition with the Suse install CD. But then…?


If I understand you correctly, you had difficulties running Vista in a VMware virtual machine, and so instead want to install Vista regularly on its own partition, and make the system dual-boot?

Re the vm: The reason it was slow was most likely due to the amount of RAM you allocated to the vm. Vista requires at least 512MB, more using Aero - the latter can be disabled which will significantly improve performance. If you have at least 1GB RAM, you probably can get by with Vista on top of openSUSE, as long as you don’t open a lot of apps in Vista at the same time. Re the kernel: All that is required is that, when you update the openSUSE kernel, that you re-run the vmware-config.pl script, accepting all the defaults; it will re-compile the VMware kernel modules for you. Re USB: that can bit tricky, but usually works.

Alternatively, you can install Vista with openSUSE, but you need to plan this carefully. openSUSE cannot create Vista’s NTFS partition. And, that partition needs to be a “primary”, excluding the “extended primary.” Typically the approach would be to install Vista first, on the first partition. What you can do depends on how the disk is set up now. Please post back the output of running the following command in a terminal window as root:

fdisk -l -u


Thanks for helping me.
I still doubt a bit what to do.

Memory should not be a big problem, with 4Gb RAM.

I already removed the Vista installation under VM Ware…

But maybe I will give it another try.
I wonder what other users prefer.
From you I understand it should work fairly well.

BTW the fdisk output is (sorry, in dutch):
Schijf /dev/sda: 60.4 GB, 60481863680 bytes
255 koppen, 63 sectoren/spoor, 7353 cilinders, totaal 118128640 sectoren
Eenheid = sectoren van 1 * 512 = 512 bytes

Schijf-ID: 0xde9479ef

Apparaat Opstart Begin Einde Blokken ID Systeem
/dev/sda1 * 63 41945714 20972826 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 41945715 118125944 38090115 83 Linux

Schijf /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 koppen, 63 sectoren/spoor, 60801 cilinders, totaal 976773168 sectoren
Eenheid = sectoren van 1 * 512 = 512 bytes

Schijf-ID: 0x0007c218

Apparaat Opstart Begin Einde Blokken ID Systeem
/dev/sdb1 63 957490064 478745001 83 Linux
/dev/sdb2 957490065 976768064 9639000 5 Uitgebreid
/dev/sdb5 957490128 976768064 9638968+ 82 Linux wisselgeheugen

The first one is a SSD, from which I boot linux now.
Can it be configured to boot Vista from the 500Gig WD drive?
I guess not, because it simply is not the primary?

Somewhere I found, that I can resize the partitions, create with smartdrv.exe the NTFS partition and install Vista, and then recreate the linux (ext) partitions, and that should restore the linux environment. But it sounds a bit risky too me?

Thanks in advance,

Re Vista in VMware: With 4GB, you can easily allocate 1GB to the virtual machine, although still it is best to disable Aero. Pre-allocate the virtual disk space, and use the 2GB virtual disk size feature; that will also improve performance a bit. If you have a multi-processor machine, you can also configure VMware to use 2 cpu’s. As far as the USB, you must enable the USB file system in the linux host; the manual describes how (and IIRC there is a howto in the openSUSE support database). There are a few types of devices not supported (like webcam), but in general the USB support is good. If VMware just won’t do what you need, consider trying VirtualBox (you will need the .rpm that is downloaded from the web, to get USB support).

Re install Vista to disk: Is the 500GB drive internal or external? And what do you have now on its 2 partitions - which by the way looks strange; the 1st is 490GB (!) and the 2nd is only 10GB and is a logical inside an extended primary of the same size. What is on the SSD 2 partitions? Can this computer be configured to boot from the 500GB drive? Probably you can install Vista on the large drive and use “chainloading” to boot it from the linux boot manager on the SSD. And, why would you want to use smartdrv.exe??? You have a Vista installation DVD, right? Reply back with answers to the above and we can recommend how to set up the disk and install Vista.

Whether you install Vista in a virtual machine vs on the hard disk in a dual-boot setup, depends on how you want to use Vista. If you just use it occasionally to run a few Windows-only programs, then a virtual machine is very convenient because you don’t have to reboot and you can run both Windows and linux programs at the same time. But if you are going to be using performance demanding applications like video editing or gaming, you would need it to be installed to the hard disk.

Hi Mingus,

Based on your latest advice, I think I will still try to go for the VM Ware way.
I plan to use Vista only for the things I can’t do in Linux.
I’m a Linux user only a few weeks (but have experience on Unix), and I can say: there is not so much need yet for Vista. I don’t game. I plan to use Linux for the LinuxSampler, which I’m advised to run ‘on the bare metal’.

The only concern left for me is what happens at upgrading the kernel. Won’t things get corrupted, if I forget to recompile the VM ware stuff.
Also I have tried already to compile something else in openSuse with not much success. The configure script checked existence of dependend libraries via .pc files. Thought the libraries did exist, the .pc was not there, and configuration was stopped…

Well something for another thread I guess.
I’ll go on trying that.

Anyways… many thanks for advicing me so kindly!

Best Regards,

No, nothing will get corrupted. What will happen is that the vmware kernel modules (there are two) will not load. This will happen one time, because you really should reboot the system with the updated kernel before re-compiling anything. I have seen the modules error interrupt the boot process (it’s near the end after most every else has finished), which at worst requires manually starting the X Server gui (with “startx”) or just fixing the modules at that point before continuing. All that is required is to run the vmware-config.pl script as root from the command line, it will take care of everything. Then reboot and you’re done.

What does take a bit of work and being careful, is the initial installation and setup. To start with, you need to decide whether to use the Player or the Server editions (both are free). The Server is designed for managing multiple virtual machines, has a nice configuration interface, and the VMware Tools are included. The Player is simpler, but the Tools must be acquired and installed separately. With both, on openSUSE there is a script (the “any-any”) that must be run after the rpm is installed but before the application is run. There are additional tools to make setting up the configuration file easier.

You do have to install the kernel-source, gcc, gcc++, and make packages. Whenever the kernel is updated, the source will be automatically updated with it. When you upgrade to a kernel created with a newer version of the compiler, the compiler packages will also be automatically upgraded with the kernel. So again, once done it’s done.

In short, once everything is completely set up and running, there is very little effort and no risk to your virtual machine, resulting from kernel updates. Of course, you should always make backups of your virtual machine file(s), as you do any other important user data - that file is uniquely structured and can only be accessed with the VMware software; in other words, if it gets broken, it’s done in. Have a backup, and you’ll be just fine.

Thanks for all the help.
I will give it a try this week, when I have a day off…

Many thanks! Eddy

You are quite welcome. :slight_smile:

Good luck.