new partition keeping previous data

Hi all,
I would like to install openSuSE overwriting another existing linux distribution. My present partitioning has a partition for that linux distribution, another one for windows, and a third one for data, accessible from both linux and windows. There’s an additional “hidden” partition, that I guess was created by Windows.

In more detail, the partition table looks like this:

Device    Size(Gb) Type           FS   Label
/dev/sda   232.89
/dev/sda1    7.81  Hidden Win95   FAT  RECOVERY
/dev/sda2   60.00  HPFS/NTFS      NTFS VistaOS
/dev/sda3  108.63  Extended
/dev/sda4   56.44  Linux native   Ext3 LinuxOS
/dev/sda5  108.63  HPFS/NTFS      NTFS DATA

Now, what I’d like to do is to install my new openSuSE into that /dev/sda4. The problem is that I cannot create separate partitions for root (/) and /home, because /dev/sda is a primary partition.

The automatic setup suggests to reduce redistribute the space in the extended partition /dev/sda3 so that /dev/sda5 (my DATA partition) would be just 60 Gb, and then set up /, /home, and /swap in the freed space… but does not use /dev/sda4 at all.

Is there a way to divide my current /dev/sda4 without touching /dev/sda3 or /dev/sda5? I guess that would amount to transforming /dev/sda3 from extended partition to primary. Is that possible?

Would you have some other suggestion as to how to proceed? The main idea would be to keep a big space for shared DATA between the two operating systems.

Thanks in advance!

You’re missing things:
sda1,2 and 4 are primary partitions
sda3 is extended, containing only sda5 (look at the sizes)

So the installer cannot create a 2 partition setup, therefor suggests shrinking sda5, thus creating space for /home.
You could install on just sda4, leaving / and /home there and having no swap, then the one partition would do.
I’d rather backup the DATA partition, remove sda3 and 4, create a new extended with 4 logical for:
swap 2 GB
/ 20 GB
/home 30 GB
That way it would look like this:
/dev/sda1 same
/dev/sda2 same
/dev/sda3 extended 162GB
/dev/sda5 swap
/dev/sda6 /
/dev/sda7 /home
/dev/sda8 /DATA


Thanks for your quick reply. Yes, I agree with your recommendation that (backing up and) removing /dev/sda3 & /dev/sda4 to dedicate all that space into a new extended partition might be the way to follow. Thanks for your advice.

On the other hand, I don’t think I was missing anything. How did you know that /dev/sda3 was extended and only contained /dev/sda5? From the partition table that I included in the message? There was no need to reiterate information by writing it explicitly when it was visible for everyone in the forum.