I just installed openSUSE 11.1 for the first time. I have some prior experience with Linux, but I had never installed Linux before. Installation went fine (here I am writing this in openSuSE which I installed 1 hr ago :))Here are some observations I made during the process.
I had Win XP installed in my computer prior the installation. Computer has two HDs. Before installation I defragged the HDs & cleared one about 100GB partition in HD2 to be used for openSUSE. I downloaded openSUSE image, checked it with md5 and burned it to a DVD. Before installation I read about the installation process various places in the internet. Notably, I wasn’t able to find a detailed step-to-step guide adressing my main worry: HD partitions & preserving my windows data. However, there were many good sources especially in these forums from which I learned a lot.
So, I booted my computer with the openSUSE DVD inside. Installation was easy except when I had to partition and set the bootloader (GRUB) settings.
Partitioning: 1) went to “custom partitioning” 2) deleted the 100GB partition in my HD2 (or sdb) which I had previously cleared. 3) created extended partition = 100GB 4) created primary partitions (with formatting “yes”): swap (mount point swap) = 1.5GB, root partition filesys= ext3 (mount point /) = 30GB, partition for home filesys = ext3 (mount point /home) = 68.5 GB. 5) created a mount point to one of the NFTS partitions in winXP (with formatting “no”!).
Bootloader/GRUB: 1) in the installation summary screen I clicked on the “booting” to change settings. I set the boot order to be sdb, sda (HD2, HD1) and it automatically changed the location of grub to the MBR of sdb / HD2. I wanted to do this since it enables me to boot normally to XP if I go to BIOS and change the bootorder to HD1, HD2 in case some problems arise.
Summary: When you install openSuSE to a computer with valuable data & winXP/Vista which you want to preserve, you want to do the partitioning right so as to not lose any of your files! To partitioning newbie, such as myself, this is can be exhausting. Everything else is easy. It might be a good idea if openSuSE came with an option “install openSuSE to a new HD”. By this I mean that you could just go to a store and buy a new HD, plug it in and openSuSE would format this new HD & install GRUB to its MBR. This avoid the partitioning nightmare and be sure that your system is not changed in any way except for the new HD.