Need help dual booting with Vista

Hey guys, I just got a new PC a few months ago and it shipped with Vista Home Premium. I want to also run opensuse, but I want to keep my Vista OS on to play my games and whatnot.

My hard drive is 640GB with about 300GB used up right now.

I’m a complete noob when it comes to partitions and stuff, and all I know right now is Dell shipped it with a 10GB partition as a backup.

Right now all I have is the DVD that downloaded and no other linux-installing/booting programs.

How would I go about installing opensuse, but also keeping my vista intact and bootable? (I’m fine with getting rid of that backup partition since I have my original vista cd)

This will only get you so far along the road as i do not know any opensuse specifics.

Your harddrive will most likely show as hda1 and hda2 with different sizes, this should allow you to identify which partition is the main windows one and which one is the backup.

To install on the backup partition simply delete it and create a new partition in the unallocated space.

Another option would be to use partition magic or something similar to create a new partition from free space in the already existing windows partition, however this can fail and i wouldn’t recommend it.

During the install you will also get an option to install a bootloader (grub?) to select what operating system to boot at startup.

Yet another popular option is to run a virtual machine inside windows and run linux inside it or vice versa, however the dual boot path should be easiest one and will teach you alot.

Thanks, but I’ve been reading about a lot of people not being able to get back into vista once they’ve installed opensuse. I’ve figured out what I’m going to do so far while the dvd is still downloading:

So far I’ve completely deleted all the files on the D: backup drive, and re formatted it to make sure, and now I’m going to delete that partition completely, then create a new partition with the free space left over (plus 55 MB that was free already). Then, hopefully, I’ll install opensuse to this new partition and be able to run either one.

Is this technique going to work, or should I create another partition for a swap? Or will the installer do all of that for me?

First of all, you need to decide how large you want your openSUSE partition to be [minimum 20G but that won’t get you very far].

Then ask Vista to create an empty partition for you. Don’t use any third party software or even openSUSE to do this.

Then insert the DVD, restart and change the BIOS to make the machine boot from the DVD.

Experiment with the Live DVD for a while. Check that your hardware is compatible with openSUSE; some may be useable with additional software but you need to come back to the forum to check that out before you go ahead and find it isn’t compatible.

If you are happy, you should be able to let openSUSE install it on the partition you have newly created. As long as openSUSE selects that partition for the install, you can leave all the partitioning decisions to it as it will create the relevant partitions within the empty partition you have asked Vista to create based on your computer’s RAM and the total amount of space you have given it.

If for some reason openSUSE suggests something other than the partition Vista has created, you need to go into expert partition mode and set up the partitions yourself manually. 1G for swap, 10G for / and the rest for /home will normally be OK. In this case you also need to mount the Vista partition as, for example, /vista/C.

You should then be able to leave things to openSUSE. But of course no-one installs a new OS without backing up the existing one … do they?

To get over the minimum of 20GB i need more room. Is it safe to shrink my windows partition?
I have > 200GB free space.