Need help installing OpenSuSE

Okay here’s my position as of this writing:

  • I have a Dell XPS 630i with a 640 GB HD
  • It’s HD came with 3 partitions: A 10 GB partition for backup, a 625 GB partition for Vista, and a small ~50MB partition for who knows what (completely empty, not used).
  • I Deleted the 10 GB and the 50 MB partition and installed OpenSuSE in the free space
  • Now after seeing that it ran on my system (Yes i know theres a livecd), I’ve deleted the partitions used for Opensuse, and have about 10.05 GB of free space

How would I go about safely shrinking the Vista partition and install OpenSuSE on the left over space?
I was hoping for about 150 GB for it.

EDIT: And was deleting those partitions with vista safe? e.g. will there be any problems with the boot loader? If so, how would I fix within vista?

Uh-oh. That ~50MB partition was not empty and it is (well, was) used: The 10GB partition held a compressed image of the Vista OS as installed on the machine. The program that manages the restoration of the OS from that compressed image, is what was in the small partition.

Were these 2 partitions in front of the main Vista OS partition?

Before you go any further, please do this: Boot from the openSUSE DVD into “Rescue System”. You will be dropped to a command line prompt, login as root. Then do this command which will show us the partition table:

fdisk -lu

Write down the output - everything - and post that back here. With this command the system will reboot cleanly:

shutdown -r now

The situation is risky now, as Vista can be very unfriendly about modifying its partitions. Once we see the table, we can advise how to proceed. As far as downsizing the main Vista partition, you can do that in Vista’s Disk Management; there is a limit on the percentage you can reduce it by, but I think you’ll be able to retrieve the 150GB you want. But first things first, post back here the partition table.

Whoops, I reinstalled linux before i read this thread (to read this thread) but heres the fdisk -lu output:

Disk /dev/sda: 640.1 GB, 640135028736 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 77825 cylinders, total 1250263728 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x60000000

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *    21084160  1250260991   614588416    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2              63    21077279    10538608+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5             126     4209029     2104452   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6         4209093    14699474     5245191   83  Linux
/dev/sda7        14699538    21077279     3188871   83  Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order

Thanks for posting the table in readable form (the usual copy/paste causes eye strain).

From the sentence above, are you saying that Vista does not boot now? And which boot loader is installed in the MBR, Vista’s or openSUSE’s grub?

While awaiting your reply, I’ll study the table.

Okay it seems like reinstalling linux on here fixed it. Windows shows up on grub and boots fine.
One thing i did notice was that there were 2 opensuses and 2 failsafes on grub aswell, but thats not an issue as they boot to the same thing. (It shouldn’t matter since I’m going to be removing it again though.
So now I need to know how to SAFELY uninstall opensuse and shrink the vista partition.

OK . . . but, the dinner bell rang 30 min ago and I’m about to have my head served to me on a platter. I understand the problem, will do my best to post back later this evening. In the meantime, don’t do anything. Frankly, you’ve been lucky so far.

Oh, you can do one thing: Go to the Neosmart Technologies website and find the bittorent for the Vista Recovery Environment. You need that, especially since you blew away that recovery partition. And we may need it to get the system to where you want it. I’ll explain more later.

Ill download the RE but is it necessary if I already have the vista cd?

Depends. If the CD is a Dell provided recovery image, then it is a copy of the OS used by the Dell recovery program; it is not installable (that’s different than an image copy) and does not include the RE. If you mean a retail CD, then yes, it should include the RE (not positive if the Home version does, but the other versions do).

Okay, so what should I do to reduce the vista partition safely by 150 GB?

The first step is to downsize the Vista partition. In Vista’s Disk Management module the is a gui tool to do this. It uses an arbitrary formula to calculate the maximum amount of space that can be reclaimed. IME the range is 50-60%, so probably you will have no problem freeing up the 150GB. If DM objects, there is a MS command line program called diskpart on the RE which, in some cases, will downsize more than the gui.

For the partitioning, I recommend you use the 10GB in front of Vista for the openSUSE root partition. It’s just the right amount of space. In the openSUSE installation, enter the Partition step, get to Expert mode, delete the extended primary now there, recreate it as a regular primary, and specify the root (that is, /) mount point for it. (Another benefit of doing this will be additional boot loader flexibility; if you ever need to use the Vista boot loader instead of grub, you can easily toggle the boot partitions between Vista and openSUSE.) Then create an extended primary in the unallocated space following Vista. In the extended primary create a logical specifying swap as mount point and another logical specifying /home as the mount point. If you wish, you can split the ~150GB between /home and additional logicals; specify your own mound points and YaST will set all that up for you.

For the Boot Loader, you can just reinstall grub in the MBR. I recommend at the same time also installing grub in the Root Partition (again for booting flexibility; the Vista boot manager can boot openSUSE if ever you want to do that; a different setup than the toggling above). So you’ll need to enter the Boot Loader installation step; click on the Boot Installation tab, look under Boot Loader Location.

If something goes wrong and the system becomes unbootable, I would use the Vista RE to restore the Vista boot loader. It is straightforward, instructions here (you would need to both rebuild the bcd and use /FixMbr) Bootrec tool in Vista RE. You can then just switch the Active (bootable) flag from the Vista partition to that first openSUSE root partition, and the Vista MBR code will call grub from the root partition boot sector to boot the system, including Vista.

Hope that all makes sense. If any questions, don’t hesitate. Good luck.