Interpreting custom or edited partition info

I have already downloaded the “getting started” pdf from, but I didn’t find enough info there to help me with editing the automatically proposed partitioning scheme, or doing a custom partition.

I have 4 hd’s and I want to make sure the correct unpartitioned space on the correct hd gets openSUSE installed on it, but I’m not understanding what I see at the first partition screen, or what I see after I click custom partition or edit partition.

At the orig screen, or at either of the other screens for that matter, I don’t see my unpartitioned space listed, just my existing partitions. It is at one of the other screens, that I don’t understand what the following mean.

  • /dev/sdb1*]/dev/sdb3*]/dev/sde1*]/dev/sdd1*]/dev/sde1*]/dev/sdb5*]/dev/sdb6

I currently have a Windows XP partition, one for Win Server 2003, both primary (I am wondering if I can get windows into a logical partit), an extended partit with my data files in one logical partition, and my progam distrib files in another; and after that I have unpartitioned space. This is on a 750 gig hd. I would like to eventually also have Windows Vista and Windows 2008. I have a second hd, 500 gig, same make and type as the first, which I use only for backups of all the partitions on the first hd. If I recall correctly it has an extended partion with 1 logical partition, and an area of unpartitioned space.

So how do I make sure openSUSE gets added to the extended partition on the first hd?

I have several partitioning pgms. Acronis Disk Director, Easeus unlimited, and Partition Magic. I am currenlty using Acronis OS Selector, to select my op sys at startup. I have all my windows partitions completely separate from each other. How? Before I installed the second one, first I hid the first one. This arranged things so that for ea windows part, the “boot” partion and the “system” partition (they are named opposite of what I think they should be) are on the same partition, rather than doing things the windows way, where the first op sys is the “system” partition (the partition that booting starts from - that’s why I say they are misnamed) for both op sys, and each op sys is the boot partition for its own op sys.

So do i need to use one of these partit managers, before starting the openSUSE installation, to make the unpartitioned space into a primary partition? Also, can I put openSUSE into a logical partition? Can I put any of my Windows op sys into a logical partit?

Oh yea, and what is the difference between “partition based” and “LVM based.” ???

I’ll probably want to be using Grub as my os selector, intead of Acronis os selector.

Can I put any of my Windows op sys into a logical partit?

I’m fairly confident the answer to that is NO.

Your in a complex situation and it’s difficult to interpret, at least for me it is. Obviously you need a degree of understanding in partitioning because you need to be able to think for yourself. A good utility to look at partitioning is Parted Magic and I’m sure you can take screenshots.

In an ideal world I would recommend you free yourself one HD for your openSUSE install. With that have it set as first HD in order and boot priority and placing grub to MBR of that HD. Make sure you create mount points for all the other HD partitions you want access to, it can be done later, but it is easy to do at install. Even if grub gets the code wrong to boot your other OS’s we can manually edit that.

I’ll post you some of my info, though it does not discuss 4HD’s:
Watch a SUSE 11.1 install Slideshow - openSUSE Forums

Install Demo - With Pics and Video - openSUSE Forums

Partitioning/Install Guide - openSUSE Forums

I’m not really in a complex situation.

I think it would help if I knew what all those /dev/sd*# things mean. I’ve found about 30 web pages that mention their existence, but none that explain what they are, what they are supposed to tell the person who sees them.

I only need to use 2 of my hd’s, one for operating systems, programs, and data, and one for backup of the first hd. It is really quite simple! The first hd has 1 prim part with windows xp; 1 prime part with windows server 2003; 1 extended part with 2 logical partitions, one for data, 1 for pgm distribution files; plus I have an area of unallocated space. Each of the 2 windows partions are completely separate from the other, and I currently use Acronis op sys selector to select the op sys at boot up (as opposed to using the windows op sys selector), but I want to switch to grub.

The second hd is used only for backup of the first hd.

I don’t really use hd 3 and 4 (or 2 and 3 if you prefer to start counting from 0). 1 and 2 are sata, 3 and 4 are pata.

I know how to resize partitions with partition magic, and I have a vague idea about what a mbr is, but I don’t know what means “placing grub to mbr”. Also, I don’t know what it means “mount points” or “create mount points.”

The folder /dev/ contains the device nodes, let’s say pointers to the hardware devices. The “/dev/sd” things are your partitions. “sd” says it’s a disk, a letter follows (sda, sdb etc.) and a number which indicates the partitions. So /dev/sda1 is the first partition on the first disk. 1 to 4 can be primary partitions, 5 and higher are logical partitions. Unless you mess up a lot of times by removing and repartitioning like I once did.

There’s an easy trick, to make all this easier on systems with multiple disks, multiple partitions per disk. From Windows you can label the NTFS and FAT partitions, in linux you can label all major filesystems. You can do that in the partitioner, fstab options. The labels are written on the disk, so you’ll be much better off when you want to know things about, or change things in partitioning. The NTFS and FAT labels will also show up in openSUSE.

Hope this helps you a bit. If you need more help, try being as accurate as possible about what you need help.

“The NTFS and FAT labels will also show up in openSUSE.”

My partitions are labeled but the labels don’t show up after I press the “custom partition” button. * I only see the labels on the first partition screen, before I press the “custom” button. After i press button, i just see those /dev/sd# things, and I still can’t figure out what they have to do with putting linux in a partition of my choice, or resizing partitions. How do I know which letter goes with which drive and which number with which partition? Why do I have letter “e” if I have only 4 drives?

What I want to do, as accurately as I can describe it, is install openSUSe on the partition of my choice, on the disk of my choice, and to make part of the unallocated space into an extended partition and put a logical partition into it and put openSUSE install in that logical partition. Alternatively I might want to add another logical part to the existing extended partition, and put openSuse there. I know how to arrange partitions with partition magic but I am not seeing anything resembling part magic, after i press the “custom partition” button in openSUSe

I’m not really in a complex situation.

Yet you say:

I have a vague idea about what a mbr is, but I don’t know what means “placing grub to mbr”. Also, I don’t know what it means “mount points” or “create mount points.”
MBR= Master Boot Record
Grub= GRand Unified Bootloader

Google them.

Mount points: Basically are where your partitions are mounted in the file system tree. For example one you will use and is a default option is /home - your user account will be here along with any other users you add later. But you can manually type a mount point eg; /Evil_Empire
or: /Vista
for other partitions

FYI: If you have a live cd, boot it and in a su terminal you can do

fdisk -l

that will mean something to us!

nomenclator wrote:
> I’m not really in a complex situation.
> It is really quite simple!

you are pretty smart!

within an hour and a half you ask for help and then the guy most
likely to have the experience, skill and patience needed to help you
gives you some cites and tells you that “you need a degree of
understanding in partitioning” because your situation is kinda “complex”…

but instead of listening to him, and doing some reading and
learning…at least enough to be able to ask your question from a
position of understanding…you proclaim him wrong by telling us all
how uncomplex and simple your situation is…

smart move!


I’m sorry natural pilot, I may believe it if you tell me I have an inadequate understanding of linux or SUSE, but I don’t believe if if you tell me I have an inadequate understanding of partitioning.

I have already done extensive reading about partitioning and I think i know enough about partitioning in general to proceed. And I have partioned half a dozen computers successfully, and installed 20 or 30 microsoft op sys on them successfully. I’ve successfully used acronis partit manager and os selector, partiti magic and boot magic, and easeus partit manager, and understand some of the finer points of partitioning and multiple booting.

What I need help is understanding how linux’s /dev/sd*# stuff relates to what I already know about the partitioning, and how it relates to the partitions on the computer I want to install openSUSE on. Also, I’ve notieced that the characters at the * and # postions don’t seem to relate to the disk drives and partitions I have, and even if I could see the relation - how then do I get Linux to be installed in a particular partition?

For ex Knurpht said

The “/dev/sd” things are your partitions. “sd” says it’s a disk, a letter follows (sda, sdb etc.) and a number which indicates the partitions. So /dev/sda1 is the first partition on the first disk. 1 to 4 can be primary partitions, 5 and higher are logical partitions.

I know I have a first partition on a first disk - but I don’t see any /dev/sda1 listed! You can see the whole list, in my first message. You can see there is no /dev/sda1 there. Even if I could find which /dev/sd*# applies to which partition - how do I get SUSE to be installed into that partition? There doesn’t seem to be any way to select which /dev/sd*# to install to, nor does there seem to be any way to identify where the unallocated space is, and how to make an extended partition, and logical parition, in it. In partition magic the names I have chosen for my partition are all listed, in a row with he drive number, partition letter, partion type (primary, extended, etc), and whether partition is hidden or not. But I don’t see how to get this info from /dev/sd#*.

Also, Knurpht says “the folder /dev/ contain your device nodes, let’s say pointers to the hardware devices” then later he says “the “/dev/sd” things are your partitions.” This is confusing me. Which is it, are the /dev things folders, device nodes (whatever that means), or partitions?

You will see the labels if you do a Rescan devices. Very sorry, forgot that. The option is there during install. That way the installer drops all propositions, and reads the original partition tables.

openSUSE will install on the one partition that you told the installer to mount as /. You cannot get past that, because linux needs a root filesystem.

About /dev : this is a folder. In the folder an entry ( a node ) is made for every piece of hardware. Amongst which the sd#* things. Maybe this makes it clearer:
/dev/sda is the whole first disk
/dev/sda1 is the first partition on that disk
/dev/sda2 is the second partition on that disk
/dev/sdb is the second disk
/dev/sdb1 is the first partition on that disk

For a webcam for example you would find:

I understand your concern about your data. If you have the installer scan for the original partition tables, and tick the Details you should be able to see where the empty space is.
Standard you need 3 partitions in there:
One mounted as /
one mounted as swap
one mounted as /home

Hope this helps you about a bit more.

caf4926 wrote “MBR= Master Boot Record
Grub= GRand Unified Bootloader”

I already knew that.

Mount points: Basically are where your partitions are mounted in the file system tree. For example one you will use and is a default option is /home - your user account will be here along with any other users you add later. But you can manually type a mount point eg; /Evil_Empire
or: /Vista
for other partitions

I’m sorry but I am having trouble learning from that. I asked you about “mount points” and you replied “where your partitions are mounted.” It is hard to communcate the meaning of a word by using the same word or derivative of the word, in your explanation of the word. That is what we call a circular explanation. For example if someone from a land where there are no telephones, were to ask me what a telephone is, I wouldn’t think it would help them much if I told them it was something that someone uses to make telephone calls on. If they didn’t know what a telephone was, it is unlikely they would know what a telephone call is. Instead, I would have to tell them something along the lines that it something that enables 2 or more people to converse, speak, with each other, even though they are too far away for sound to reach, and that it uses something called “electromagnetism” to bridge the distance.

Just trying to explain why I’m not understanding.

I understand what a tree is and what a file and folder are. But I don’t see what this has to do with partitioning a hd.

FYI: If you have a live cd, boot it and in a su terminal you can do
Quote:fdisk -l

I can do fdisk at the windows command prompt. Again, I also have partition magic and other partitioning programs. I don’t think I have a live linux cd. I downloaded an *.iso from the openSUSE download page and made a dvd from it but I’m not sure how much of the linux op sys I can boot from it, beyond the basics needed to install to a hd.

You need to get away from the limited and inferior windows mentality in respect of partitions.

When you were quoted sd*#
the * was representative of a or b or c: ie; sda or sdb

the # was to the partition number 1 or 2 or 3… ie; sda1, or sdb2

The suse partitioner will see all your connected HD’s
and then if it has partitions they will show in sda
sda2…and so on
But is seen this way /dev/sda
like this:

OK, I’m locating my partitions in a screen similar to, however I’m having trouble getting linux to install. Do I need a logical partition, or can I get the installer to make one in unallocated space? I can install if I select unallocated space plus an existing partition, but if i just chekc off the unallocated space, it won’t proceed.

If I “back out” from the installation procedure, I can get to a text screen where I can do ls -l and see a directory listing. I think it is a ramdisk or maybe it is the cd drive; i’m not sure. But if I key in fdisk here, I get an error message. Do I need to go to a particular folder first?

I have a slightly worried feeling about this. Linux will use just about anything you throw at it, unlike M$.
Remember you can only have 4 primary partitions
Let’s say a disc already has 3 primary but with free space. All that free space will have to become an extended partition within which you create logical partitions. SUSE could be installed there.
You need to understand how all this works: Primary, Extended and Logical.

It’s totally simple really.

caf4926 “You need to get away from the limited and inferior windows mentality in respect of partitions.”

I am using third party programs to manage my partitions, and set up an operating system selection choice. I’m not using windows at all, other than the fact that it is the op sys that i’m running the 3d party program on.

The information and configuration choices in rows and columns in these programs may or may not be less extensive but they are certainly more self-evident than in the partition managment section of the linux installation program, which contains abbreviations which are used without first referencing the full names they stand for, therefore the meaning of the partitioning section of the linux installation is obscure, obtuse, occult, to anyone who hasn’t already installed it and used it. Since you can’t use it before it has been installed, the overall effect is that linux is is obscure, obtuse, and occult. This is not to say that MS Windows is not also obscure, obtuse, and occult. Indeed, it is. But third-party programs are sometimes extensive, and of high quality.

"You need to understand how all this works: Primary, Extended and Logical.

It’s totally simple really."

That’s what I’ve been saying all along. It is totally simple. I understand how primary, extended, and logical works, from months of experience working with them. What I don’t undertand is the linux installation program, how it refers to them, and what happens when you check the different check boxes. I’d like to make screen-saves of the screens that are giving me problems. I know how to do it from windows but I don’t know how to do it from the linux installation screens.

Making Installation screenshots - openSUSE

You might find the overall HowTo Page interesting

From the “Installation screen shots” page:

Short version

Press the Print Screen button and save the file anywhere. Be aware that some directories, like /tmp, can be emptied or removed.

Long Version

you are only offered the ram disk or something

It’s real easy – all you have to do is the following.

Mount Filesystem

I’m not sure what that means

You need access to some kind of filesystem to be able to save the screenshots - if you plan to format your entire harddisk during installation it’s not recommended to use this filesystem of course. This example uses a floppy disk, you can use any filesystem however, i.e. usb-key, harddisk partition that will not be overwritten or other.

When the YaST graphical installer starts,I’m not sure when when the graphical installer starts press Ctrl+Alt+F2 - this will provide you with a root terminal. I’m not sure what a root terminal is. But maybe it doesn’t matter, I’ll see what it is when it happen. Write the following command:
mount /dev/fd0 /media/

Here is the real problem, do they mean verbatim, or do i need to substitute some other word for any of the words?

This will mount the floppy disk to /media/.

Huh? Now I’m lost.

Press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to the graphical installer.

Make the Screenshots

Now all you have to do is press Prt Screen. A file dialog will appear asking you where to save the screenshot - save it to the location where you mounted the filesystem - in this case /media/

Still not understaning. where is the file going to be saved? How can I find it later, after I boot into windows xp and open my browser and get to this forum?

Note: You will have to navigate to that location (in this case /media/) for each screenshot and only the active window is captured.

During the Package Installation part of installation you’re only allowed to make screenshots if certain objects are in focus - hit Tab and Prt Screen alternately a couple of times and you should be all right.

I don’t know what they are talking about here, “objects in focus” ??

The screenshots are saved in PNG format. in this case /media/

I know what *.png format is but when they say "in this case /media/ I have no idea what they are talking about.

I tried doing a prt scr during install but I couldn’t get it to work.

I found a text screen after pressing ctrl-alt F4, i put a floppy in the drive (the article neglected to mention this) and I keyed in mount /dev/fd0 /media/ being careful to make sure I put spaces in the correct place. I went back to the installer and pressed prt scr where needed, but when I got to the save-to window, I couldn’t find /media/.

So I copied the screen in pencil.

Here is what I did.

  • i selected partition based*]pressed “create partit setup” button*]slected my hard drive that I want to use, the 750gb drive*]Then I got the problematic screen.

It looked like this

First it said “installing on [the 750 gb drive], disk areas to use to install openSUSE.” Under that there was a button saying “use entire HD”, and other that were radio buttons with the following choices

  1. my xp partit
  2. distrib partit
  3. data partit
  4. win 2003 partit
  5. unassigned area of about 500 gb.

under that were check boxes

  1. something about a separate home partition
  2. create LVM-based proposal

I selected the unassigned area button and left the separate home partit box checked (the default).

I got an error msg saying “the current selection is invalid. Too few partits are marked for removal *. To install [can’t read my writing, one word] select more partits to remove or select larger disk.”

So I’m having trouble getting yast to make an extended partition out of the unassigned space. Not that there are only 3 other primary or extended partits, part 1. xp, part 2. distrib and data which are ea a local, in one extended (although the screen doesn’t indicate this), part 3. win 2003.

I wanted to see if I could get linux to make an extended partit and logical partit. However I suppose I could use my windows partitioning program to make the unallocated space into an extended partiti, and put a logical partition in it, or better, I could put a 3rd logical partition into the existing extended partition (something which I haven’t seen any clues to how to do, within the linux installer). Then I could try to install SUSE into the new logical parition.*