Installation on second drive


Sorry for being such a newbie but I want to install latest version from DVD onto my second harddrive. I tried it myself yesterday but ended up with a bootloader I didn’t want, and some alterations on my windows 7 disk. It took me a while to restore the windows bootloader and I don’t want to do it again.

So, how to proceed to install a fresh copy on opensuse/kde on my second harddrive without it touching my first (I can select bootdevice from bios function). Both are currently formatted as NTFS and the second (target) drive is empty. Any help is appreciated! :slight_smile:

Here is an excerpt from another thread where a user wanted to load openSUSE on a second hard drive. Read through it and let me know if you have any other questions.

So openSUSE and in particular, grub do indeed work properly when ran from an external (or second internal) hard drive. The issue is really the same for any computer when you decide to boot from a drive that is not the first boot drive. For instance lets say I have a sda and a sdb, sdb must based on hardware be second, but if I boot from sdb through a BIOS setting or manipulation, grub did not know that when it was installed. If you put grub on the boot drive when it is first or sda, all things work, even if openSUSE is on sdb.

So, what is the problem/fix when you install openSUSE and grub to an external (or second internal) hard drive?

  1. What ever boot drive you select by any BIOS selection is HD0 to grub. That is the problem in that if I boot from sdb, then it is HD0.

  2. When you installed openSUSE, you did not boot from the external (or second internal) hard drive, so it was NOT labeled by grub as HD0. openSUSE has no way to even guess what hard drive you are intended on booting from if it is not the first hard drive!

The fix must be done in one of two ways, depending on where you are at. Are you going to do a new install to an external hard drive or are you trying to fix an existing installation on an external hard drive?

If it is a new install here are the basics I would follow.

  1. Keep the number of partitions at four or below.
  2. Use all Primary Partitions (no logical Ones)
  3. Install a generic Master Boot Record (MBR)
  4. Install Grub in the “/” root partition. Make this the Active or booting partition.
  5. During the install, you must modify the booting section so that the external drive is HD0 in and in the menu.lst file. Assign other hard drives in the remaining hardware order.

That is it in a nutshell. Do the above and it will work like a champ. Be for warned that you are trying to NOT install anything on your normal boot drive. Make sure that the booting section is setup just as I say above. Make a backup of any Windows partitions you can not save or restore.

What do you do to recover an installation that has already been made?

Well you have to be able to boot into openSUSE some way like using a live CD. If we can assume you did install grub in the MBR or in the “/” root partition of the external (or second internal) drive, then leave it that way.

  1. Boot from Live CD and get to the terminal prompt.
  2. Mount the “/” root partition of the externally (or second internal) installed copy of openSUSE. Perhaps to /media.
  3. Use an editor such as vi (look up its commands) to edit the file /media/boot/grub/ to change the external drive to be HD0. Reassign the other drives with HD1 2 and so forth.
  4. Use vi editor again to modify the /media/boot/grub/menu.lst file so that the kernel load line for openSUSE start with HD0. In fact all cases for loading anything from the external (or second internal) drive, now must be HD0. Loading anything from the internal (or first internal boot driver) drive must now be HD1, based on the assignments you made in the file.

That is it. Reboot and if you are lucky, it will come up just fine.

Thank You,

Funny thing is if I switch off my first hdd in bios (set it to “not installed”) Linux somehow manage to list it ANYWAY in the installation screen. I have no idea how it does this as it is not supposed to exist. Should I “remove” the drive in windows before commencing? I mean the one I am installing on? So it is not NTFS?

Well, think about what is going on here if you load openSUSE on a second hard drive. You are trying to leave your first hard drive, with Windows loaded on it, unmodified. In your BIOS, you are going to designate the second hard drive as you boot drive and where you will load openSUSE on. As long as the second drive is large enough, it could contain both a loading copy of openSUSE and a NTFS partition, used for storing extra files. Any partitions you do not want, can be deleted while in the openSUSE installation and Windows, will automatically adjust. Windows will not display the contents of any Linux partitions such as EXT3 or EXT4 which is normally used for openSUSE. Again, I suggest you read through my first post and attempt to understand all of the concepts I am talking about.

Thank You,

I have read it, thanks. I don’t want any partitions on the first or the second drive. One drive with windows, one with linux. That’s it. I know windows won’t display the second drive then. It doesn’t matter. I have shitloads of space I don’t need. I just want it to not touch my first drive. Leave my bootloader alone.

That sound fine. openSUSE will show the contents of your Windows drive which can be useful. Your openSUSE drive will contain more than one partition. By default, if you zap everything on the second drive would be three partitions: SWAP, / (Root Partition) & /home (four your personnel files).

Thank You,

Thanks will give it a shot :slight_smile: crossing fingers

Not sure I understand this. You said you already attempted to install openSUSE once. If this is true, the second drive should have been reformatted to ext4 for the Linux install. Are you sure you selected the second drive for the install?

Do you remember what you did when you got to the partitioning part of the openSUSE installation?

On 2010-07-30 23:36, tomasstrom wrote:
> Funny thing is if I switch off my first hdd in bios (set it to “not
> installed”) Linux somehow manage to list it ANYWAY in the installation
> screen.

Yes, this is normal. The disk is there, only that bios says it is not there. So what? The bios is
lying, the disk is there :-p

Seriously, linux does not use the bios, that’s why.

You can change which disk boots, in bios. That’s different.

Typically, you’d set the bios to boot the second disk. This will have grub, and grub will display a
menu to boot linux or windows, and both entries can be made to work: grub has a trick to revert the
change in the bios order, so that windows thinks the second disk is the first, contrary to what the
bios says (but the same as you originally installed). Documented somewhere, told here a zillion times.

Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.2 x86_64 “Emerald” GM (Elessar))

Somewhere you say: " I don’t want any partitions on the first or the second drive. One drive with windows, one with linux.". This is a bit chaotic. I can understand one disk for each. But on the Windows disk there will be at least one partition (not none, as you want) allready. And on the Linux disk you will most probably need more then one partition: one for Swap, one for the files (mounted on /) and preferably (but not nescessary) one to mount on* /home*.