I apologize in advance for any silly questions. I am currently attending college for the field of IT security and have only taken one Linux course thus far, so I am a bit lacking in experience.
I want to install OpenSUSE 11.3 to my external USB hard drive. I am doing this on a computer that has a RAID setup with the primary OS (Win7 Pro 64 bit) and another hard drive for just backup. I am somewhat concerned that I may damage or accidentally format one the internal hard drives. I ran the setup up to the point where you are able to edit the partitions and I did notice that my USB HDD was in the list, but so was everything else on my computer so I backed out in fear of damaging something. Normally I would just go for it and experiment, but seeing as this is my newest computer I have built and I use it frequently for school it would be quite a setback if anything happened to it during the term.
If there is any advice I could get or a perhaps a quick walkthrough on what to look for I would very much appreciate the assistance. Thanks in advance!
My guess is that your RAID uses FAKE (BIOS) RAID. This can be a problem for Linux. So you are right not to jump into the deep end. You do NOT want to take the defaults. The big problem is where the MBR is going to be written. The MBR (grub) needs to be on the USB not the HD. All changes should be on the USB drive. The USB drive needs to be the default boot device in the BIOS. You can use the advanced option in the installer partitioning screen to map exactly what you want to happen. As a good student you of course should always backup all important data before installing a new OS or otherwise playing with partitions.