OpenSUSE 11.0 Installation : Partition settings


i am new to openSUSE and trying installing it for first time.
i already have installed MS Windows XP installed on my computer.
specifications are:
HDD : 320 Gb
Partitions :
C - MS Windows XP(40 G)
D - Empty(40 G) (Fedora 8 installed previously but removed & formatted due to unstability.)
E,F,G,H - Personal Data (60 G,60 G,50 G,50 G respectively)

Kindly help me in Partition Settings as i am finding it difficult to understand the message :shame: written in red and white(Delete Partition, Creat Root Partition etc…) i got during installation process ‘Suggested Partitioning’ of openSUSE (which i want to install on drive ‘D’).
I dont want to lose any personal data due to any incorrect settings :frowning: , also i want to keep MS Windows XP ie dual booting.



If you don’t feel confident with linux partition basics I would suggest you invest some time reading documentation before installing Open Suse. It would save you future headaches.

There are a lot of references in the Internet.

Start here: Open Suse Reference Guide; Chapter 1.10 Suggested Partitioning
Novell Documentation

Then, get familiar with name conventions for disks in Open Suse
Concepts - openSUSE


I agree, it is best to have an understanding about partitions before installing. It will also help you decide how much disk space you need for each operating system.

Once you’ve had a read come back with any questions.

Also, it is very important that you back up any important personal files from Windows before making changes to your hard drive. Nothing should go wrong, but it could…

How much you allow for the OS itself is a function of how much software you install. A basic setup is <5GB; for ref I have ~12GB installed (which is a lot) on a 20GB partition so I still have plenty of room for more. In addition to that there is /home (roughly the equiv of Windows Documents and Settings); the space required there is entirely dependent on how much of your user files you keep there as opposed to on separate partitions (just as you already are doing with your W$ Personal Data volumes). A basic setup is usually only a few GB; for ref I use ~10GB with nearly all personal data on other partitions.

So, you could easily install openSUSE on the old Fedora partition and have way plenty of storage for additional data. As far as how to set up your installation, you have a couple of issues to work through. We could ask you to post back a listing of your partition table and just suggest to do “this”. But it will benefit you greatly to understand what you are looking at, because partitioning is serious business and if managed incorrectly, everything can be lost.

So, first, understand that Windows “drive letter” assignments (strictly speaking in Windows, those are “volumes”; in any event, they are not drives at all, they are partitions) are arbitrary and do not necessarily at all represent the partition layout on the disk. The physical sequence of the partitions on disk is displayed in Windows Disk Management. The physical sequence is usually but not always also the sequence of the numbering of the partitions in the disk partition table; the numbers can be out of order depending on how partitions have been added/deleted/re-added. In linux, partition identification is always pulled directly from the table. To see what your actual partition table looks like, do an fdisk -l from the command line; the partitions will be reported in physical order, and you will see if the assignment numbers are in the same sequence. Furthermore, with the number of partitions that you have, you must have an “extended” partition inside of which are “logical” partitions (in W$ Disk Management, in the graphic you will see the logicals grouped inside the extended which has a green rectangle border).

The reason this is all important is that the “D” partition may be anywhere on the disk - it could be one of the other three primaries (C will be on a primary), or it could be one of the logicals. In the installation partitioning step, click on custom (or expert) and you will see the partition table as it really is. There you will be able just by size to identify which is the Windows “D”. If you want to install just on that partition, all you need do is specify there to format it ext3, and enter a forward-slash (that is, a /) in the mount point field.

Which leads to your second issue. You need a partition for “swap” (equiv of Windows page file). You could conceivably re-size the 40GB down 1-2GB and use that freed space for the swap partition but there could be a problem with that depending on where the 40GB partition actually is; it’s possible that this cannot be done at all. The easiest thing to do would be to look at the real disk layout to see which is the last partition - it probably is one of your “Personal Data” volumes, and is probably a logical. Ideally, you would re-size that partition down and then add a new logical in that space. This can easily be done in Windows with a tool like PartitionMagic. It is more difficult to do with Windows itself; you might be able to “dismount” the volume (the command is “mountvol”) and then resize/add (don’t format the new logical). Or, you can ask the openSUSE installer to do the resize/add, but do not do that unless you have a backup of that partition.

If this is a bit overwhelming (and if this is new territory for you, it certainly can be), just do the fdisk -l and post the output back here and someone will recommend exactly how to handle it in the installation. But you will eventually need to understand partitioning basics such as above; this is one of those areas where MS’s design to “keep it simple” results in users getting in trouble frequently.

Hello Codename47 and welcome to the Forums.
Probably you can utilise the old Fedora space. Let’s look at that.
In XP the partitioner is at Control Panel → Admin tools -->Computer management → storage → disk managent.
When you look in the windows partitioner, does it show the old Fedora D at the (top) end of the lineup of partitions, as an “unknown” partition type? And if not, please describe what windows sees it as?

It’s the “removed and formatted” that catches my eye. I’d guess D is the 2nd primary. Whatever, I’d carve off the end for the swap if at all possible; hacking D to open up space and using that for another logical will make the table weird.

@ carboncore, nzlbob23 - thanks :slight_smile: for providing useful links.(i seriously need study and homework to understand OpenSUSE(and Linux) concepts)

@ mingus725, swerdna - i’ll soon provide with you outputs and screenshots.

@ mingus725 - about “removed and formatted”, in Fedora mozilla often stop working also some other programs, what i did is inserted & booted from MS WinXP disc and formatted the partition that contained Fedora(as far as i remember there were two marked as ‘unknown’ whereas all other partitions were NTFS) to remove Fedora.



i collected the following information & hope this might help you guys to guide me :

Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Fragmenter
shows “Analysis is complete for ‘C’ (and ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘H’)!, You do not need to defragment”.

(my HDD is just three months old)

Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disc Management
shows C as primary Partition(healthy) and other drives as Logical Drive (extended partition).

i also have taken a screen shot of ‘Disc Management’ but i have no idea how to upload here…:(??

Kindly help:’(…


Can you confirm if they were lined up like this:
old D space where fedora was
a bit of empty space (how big?)

I’m thinking that you could format D to NTFS in windows partitioner. Copy all the data from H to the new NTFS at space of old D. Destroy H and all beyond it by deleting the H in windows partition (after you transfer the data to the new D). Then Suse should happily suggest to you that it set itself up nicely in the 50Gb approx empty space at the end.

Does that make sense to you?

@Codename47, ofcourse this is a question for only you to decide, but just fwiw I think @swerdna’s suggestion is the best option (my compliments). It will be much, much better to have Windows control that space where Fedora was. And then put linux at the end of the disk.

If you choose to do that, that is, create a new partition where D was and move the data from H to there, it is best to do the copying without Windows running. You mentioned you have an XP CD. You can run the Recovery Console from it and use Microsoft’s powerful xcopy command from there. Here is a list of all the switches that can be used with xcopy The Windows command Xcopy and its uses

Good luck.


@ swerdna - yes, they are lined up as C, D, E, F, G and H. (with unpartitioned space of 8 Mb.)
I’ve already formatted “D” (NTFS).
is it not safe to install on ‘D’?

@ mingus725, swerdna - ok, I’ll try what you have suggested.
thank you.


I would suggest this only if H has system files or other files critical to the running of the operating system. For straight data files like docs and media. I would just use the GUI copy/paste. But each to he/ir/s own

Using the gui is usually just fine. I suggest xcopy because the user may not be aware of critical files; they may not be displayed. Protected files may not be copied. But as you said, to each his own . . .

This did remind me however that before making the copy, go into the System Restore set up and disable monitoring on H. If you are using the default 12%, there is a ~6GB system restore file on H that you don’t need anymore, can’t be used anyway, would waste space in your smaller “D”. Disabling it will delete the file. Copying in Explorer may not even copy the folder, so this may not be necessary, but this is cleaner. If you already did the copy, just check to make sure there isn’t a copy of the H sys restore folder or file on D.

That’s a lot of partitions!!
You can also go through this
Installing Linux, a dual boot system with Windows and Linux - openSUSE Forums

@doctorjohn2, that’s a very nice write up.

@ doctorjohn2 - thanks, i’ve downloaded the PDF and gone through it and it is really very helpful, but i am sorry for being noob :shame: , the guide is only for two partitions and demonstrate to install on the other partition(the only partition other than Windows Partition) while i have six partitions and that too are having data, so i am still puzzled how to install on a particular partition without data loss on desired partition…?? It would be very kind of you and helpful to me if you could post images or even text for how do it for my case which i have explained in my first posts of this thread.

(I’ve already tried the suggestions given to me but the installer still suggests me to ‘shrink’ the Windows partition which i am reluctant to do. )


Did you decide to transfer out the files on D and then to delete it using the windows partitioner?

If you do that before installing Suse, then the Suse installer should not suggest to shrink a partition because it will detect that there is plenty of spare space available without making more.

Hi swerdna,
yes, i moved the data to ‘D’(without using ‘xcopy’ or something as you suggested).
so i have to format ‘H’ or i need to Delete ‘H’ so that the space in ‘H’ comes under ‘Unpartitioned Space’…??
(apologies for being noob)


  1. In Windows copy paste the data from H to D
  2. Use the disk management system as I have described to delete H
  3. Reboot with the OpenSUSE DVD in your drive and boot from it.
  4. Go for a manual partitioning as I have suggested in the write up, the only difference being in the partition sizes of root (/) and /home You can go for swap as I have suggested, root 15 GB, and the remaining /home Don’t forget to mount the windows partitions as i have described

It doesn’t make sense to me that you should apologise for being a noob :slight_smile:

Yes, just delete the partition in the windows partitioner, Suse should know what to do from there (in your case) but don’t let it shrink or remove remaining partitions if it tries to do that.