Not Understanding Dual Boot Instructions

I was reading a guide on here on how to dual boot openSUSE and Windows XP. The guide had two scenarios, one in which I have four or five partitions already on my computer, which I don’t, and then scenario two, which was that I just had the one partition (or one + a recovery partition, which is my case)… For reference, this is the guide: Installation - OpenSUSE 11.0 / Win XP Dual Boot - openSUSE Forums

For my scenario, is says all this stuff about system CDs and all this other junk, my question is…

Is all that actually necessary? For me to be able to dual boot I need to reinstall Windows? Basically, what I don’t understand is, does it not do it all automatically and easily as far as partitions go like Ubuntu?

I’ve tried over and over to read through the documentation on partitioning, but I just cant understand it. Looking at most of the instructions, openSUSE has a way to “automatically resize the drive” and what not. What does this mean exactly? I have 200 GB on this internal drive and I plan on giving openSUSE at least 50 GB, possibly more, but will it mess with my installation of Windows?

I’m sorry I’m not being incredibly clear here, I’m just finding it very hard to understand all this when I’ve been using Ubuntu just fine on another computer… I want to dual boot XP and openSUSE, with openSUSE running as well as possible (so with the swap and all that, which I don’t understand?) and possibly able to see the Windows partition. If anybody can help me and walk me through on this, that’d be lovely…


I just did a dual-boot install on pre-installed Vista. Initially I faced lot of problems but here’s a final how to:

  1. Resize your windows partition in XP using disk management or any other tool.
  2. Leave the unallocated space. Don’t make partitions.
  3. Boot through the live CD/DVD and install.
    Accept the suggested partitioning scheme.
  4. That’s it!!

If you want to just set up a dual boot with XP and linux and have only one partiton with XP you should at first for a successful installation do a very habitual thing for XP: defrag your Windrive.

The rational for this is: yes, Opensuse has an automatic install function that will resize your partition of Windows to free up enough disk space for a minimum install (that is usually a three linux partition install with /root (the operating system itself) /swap (a kind of a temporary file container in case you suspend the pc or need virtual ram) and a partiton with your data /home.

When it wants to free up the space for linux it has to find a Windows installation that is error free (so do a checkdisk in XP, if you do not know how to do it you tell me) and defragmented (because the defrag is freeing up space).

Part of the unused space of your Windows drive will be given to the install of linux. The amount of how much will depend on how full your Windows disk already is. This is an info you could provide to be a bit clearer about your machine. Could you tell me also what processor (it is the thing saying Pentium or Phenom or so) has the PC and how much memory (called also ram).
Tell me when you have done a checkdisk and a defragmentation of your windows drive. Then we will go on.

If this is too technical imagine that your hard-disk is a cream pie with strawberries loosely distributed on it. Now you want to put kiwis, so you will push the strawberries a bit together, in order to have the space available for the kiwis.

I forgot to mention this. This is very important.

Windows is defragged (Every Thursday, in fact.) And I’ll do a checkdisk just as soon as this download finishes, thanks.

Is there a way in the install of openSUSE to allocate a certain amount of space for it without it getting way too technical and over my head? Either way most of my things are stored on my external, so I’m not TOO concerned with space, I just want it to run well.

I have an HP Pavillion Slimline s7520n PC. AMD Turion 64 Mobile technology ML-34 1.79 GHz, with a gig of RAM. The operating system is Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP3. I believe its a laptop processor, but I have a desktop. Its not a particularly great computer, but its very reliable at this point. I’m just paranoid about having to reinstall Windows as I’m unsure if I can locate the disks, and my recovery partition… get this, is damaged. I don’t know why I still keep it around.

Any way, so I need to defrag and then do a checkdisk. At the time of install I can have about 35 GB available, or if it is necessary, I can move 100 GB of music to my external and have about 140GB available.

mukuls, what do you mean by resize your Windows partition? I cant seem to make any changes to it via disk management.

Thanks for the fast responses by the way, hopefully I’ll be guided through this by stakanov. :]

Nearly no Pc is too old for Linux.
Since you have only 1 GB of Ram I would opt for openSUSE 32 bit. 64 bit would in my experience not give you any advantage.
Could you tell me if Windows tells you the type of your recovery partition? Some rare partition types (a part from being useless when damaged) are EISA (that is not standard and nasty) and it would be worthwhile to get rid of it since you are not using it any more.

I think since this is a beginning you should opt for freeing a supplemental 50 GB for the install. That leaves you with convenient free space for Win and openSUSE.

Don’t forget to defrag after having freed up the 50 GB another time (since the files them self maybe on different clusters and therefore make it useful). Do a checkdisk AFTER the last defrag.

With the space available Opensuse does approximately a 20 GB root 2 GB in automatic and a 40 GB for home. That should be already convenient for your. So no need to bother. You may have a try like this. If you are already sure you want less space for home you can lower the space of home. You do this in the “expert modus” and you choose “modify the existing proposal”. There in the size of the home partition proposed you write 20 GB for example.

Please hold in mind that loosing precious data hurts and every change of partitioning bears a (although small) risk. So I highly recommend you to do a backup of all data you really like and need (like email, private photos and whatever e-books and DRM related material that you cannot restore easily. A backup never hurts. Otherwise this might be some day a “where has the rum gone???”. :’(

I suppose you have a DVD on the HP right? If yes, you should use the DVD install, it might make it easier. You may use the life CD to check if your hardware is generally compatible (but I think it is). With the DVD the install will be a bit more complete.

I highly suggest to be on Ethernet during all install, to be able to have easy Internet access and to update the OS after install. Wireless might work only after the upgrade.

Resizing Windows partitons is possible under XP only with third party software (that is from another dealer / offerer). You have an opensource program of (obviously :slight_smile: ) excellent quality available for general download - Gparted.

But I do not think that in this case you are going to need it.

As far as Windows telling me about my recovery partition, I’m assuming you mean in disk management–Windows says it is “Basic” just like my non-recovery partition.

So how do I go about getting rid of this, and possibly regaining that 9 GB its eating up on useless data? This is not crucial at the moment, just an afterthought.

I do have everything important backed up to my 3 TB external, and I will download the DVD version now. I am on a rather slow connection (sattelite) so I wont get to installing until tonight, so that will leave more time to reply and get responses, etc.

And last but not least, I’m far too scared to use Gparted, the first thing I read on their site was to be wary of using it on HP machines.

Thanks again for the responses.

You “get rid” of a partition when you delete it. The first thing is to know whether it is an indipendent partition. That will free up the disk space but if Windows is installed on a extended partition it does not help you much in the moment as it seems that partitioning is not your mostly loved exercize (we can change this though, everything by its time).
You delete the partition by opening the disk manager, you chose by right clicking on the partition the one you want to eliminate and you say: eliminate (I think to recall this, but maybe the menu is slighlty different). Then you say (if you are) that, yes you are sure and you are mentally health to do this :slight_smile: and the partition should be immediately gone.

Delete Partition seems to be greyed out–I’m just going to say screw that partition for right now, if its all the same to SUSE?

So I need to free space > defrag > checkdisk > put in DVD > Let it do automatic, and then there will be an option to edit the suggested configuration > configure it > finish up, and if all goes to plan Windows and openSUSE should be available to choose from when I boot my machine?

Yes, if all goes as it should you will have default booting with Opensuse, then windows, then failsafe opensuse and that’s it. You will then be able to change (from Linux) to Windows as default boot if you wish so and you will also be able (from Linux - always in Yast - bootloader configuration) to change the order of the entries.
Yes, I would say that is exactly going to be the previson.
The config of partition appears once you have charged the system to install. The partitions will be offered by Yast and there you can change the settings. You will see, it is straightforward.

Thanks for everything, I’ll post results later tonight, providing I don’t brick my computer. I am more computer literate then I come off as, I just cant grasp some things. Partitions being one of them. Its definitely the second most confusing thing I’ve had to deal with electronics-wise.

So, I’ve got it installed. The dual booting is working well, I’ve been able to load up openSUSE and Windows XP, but I am having a problem in openSUSE. Right off the bat I’m getting errors with updating, and errors with connecting to a host. In the bottom right corner I have a yellow exclamation point, and I believe it said something about not being connected to the internet. Do I need some sort of… ethernet driver? I’m connected via ethernet to a US Robotics router. I tried to access the router page (via the default gateway) from within a browser in SUSE but no avail, so I’m guessing it isn’t even detecting my ethernet port? Any suggestions? I really like the feel of openSUSE and I’d love to use it more than I do Windows XP…

Go to Yast - Network Devices - Network Settings
See if you can configure your network card there.

If you have trouble, try and tell us what make/model the device is.
Ideally, you should start a new thread in the network section.

Ah, sorry! I got back on SUSE and did that pretty much right after I posted and got it all working and updated. Thanks again you guys, you rock. :]

Hopefully in the future I can contribute to this project or this community in some way. Maybe I’ll plug it in a few of my articles. Either way, thanks again!

Very happy to hear everything went well. Bookmark this page and come back to inform yourself regularly.