Opensuse 11.0 over dell vista + media direct

Hi Folks,
After considerable search for the past couple of days I decided to post some basic questions I have while trying to install opensuse 11.0 on my Vostro 1400: Any help would be greatly appreciated

1)** What I want:**

I have a dell vostro 1400 running vista home premium and dell media direct, all I want is to make the least intrusive procedure to install my opensuse 11.0...

2)What I have done till now::slight_smile:

I had the following dell factory partitions:
  • EISA configuration - 71 MB FAT16 (which I swore not to touch as it has the MBR)
  • healthy primary (with no volume letter which I assume is the dell media direct partition)
  • C:-> 61 GB -> NTFS windoze
  • D:-> 2.5 GB -> Recovery
Now I shrinked C: to make around 18GB between C and D

where I intend to install Opensuse

  1. My question:
    I want to create an extended partition of the space I created and then create multiple linux partitions within it (/swap, /boot and /home).

    **a) Is there a flaw in this plan ?? please warn :\ and inform me of a better way to do this…
    b) if a) is false then is there a way I can create my partitions through YaST??
    I could manage the shrinking with Vista but it does not allow me to create extended partitions. Also I tried partition magic (with zero luck) and acronis trial
    which did not serve my purpose either.

    I did go through tons of posts but I could not find anything which does not have the option of reinstalling everything from scratch.:frowning:

    After this I plan to install grub in this /boot of
    my extended partition for linux and use easyBCD to make windoze look at my grub… (as you might have guessed more questions to follow).

    But I would greatly appreciate any help in this regard. I am especially looking at some guides to use Yast in expert mode to create my partitions…

Pleeeeeaaaaaaasseeee saaaavvveee mmmmeee fffrroom vviisstta:’(

Thanks in advance,

You can’t have more than 4 primary partition which seems You actually got.You would have to delete one partition and then create extended one.
With MBR partition You can have 4 primary partitions (it’s what You have now and that’s why Vista is not allowing You to create an extended one) second where You can create an extended partition and 3 primary partitions.

Hi Bender and all,
Thanks for your reply… More info…
I booted with the suse 11 dvd and started Yast:
here it gives a better division of my hard disk:

/dev/sda 74.5 GB
/dev/sda1 70.5 MB EISA (primary)
/dev/sda2 2.0 GB NFTS recovery primary
/dev/sda3 51.9 GB NTFS Windoze primary
/dev/sda4 2.5 GB -> this is extended partition
/dev/sda5 2.4 GB -> this is the media direct logical partition under the extended partition

Now according to my space allocation I have 18GB of 

space between sda3 and sda4 (which is an extended partition). So now I have 3 primary, 1 extended and 1 logical under the extended partition.

Given this is there anyway I can have media direct working as it is while I resize my extended partition over the free space I have created and then install linux in the logical partitions under the new bigger extended partition ??


If I delete the media direct partition will vista MBR be affected in anyway??

Ideally I would like to expand my extended partitions to create addition linux logical partitions without deleting any factory settings (jus trying). 

I tried resizing in Yast without any luck

Any suggestions ??? 

Thanks in advance,

I realized that in the root of all my problems
is that I need a good free partition tool which can
make me play around with my partitions…(yeah I am cheap :frowning: )

can anyone confirm if Gparted is good enough to move
partitions around ?? and to create new partitions ??

Also I will be immersed in bliss if anyone gave me a go with removing my dell media direct 3.0 partition without any repercussions…

Is anyone listening  ... pleeaase 


I recommend having a “System Rescue CD” it’s got gparted for all Your partitioning needs and You can also backup stuff with partimage. The first solution You proposed is good. By the way You will damage (overwrite) Your MBR only when the GRUB or LILO would be installed, when You delete a partition the MBR is never touched. MBR is an untouchable part on the beginning of the disk that points to a System Loader like Vista’s Loader or Linux’s GRUB which then loads the system.(You can of course still boot to Vista from GRUB’s menu).

Hello Folks,
Posting this message from Suse 11.0 rotfl! yeah… here are a few learnings which I am posting for others who want to do similar stuff:

 I know there are tons of docs out there which will explain the installation process, but what I am here to do is to put out a few fine points which usually are not found in (in my 3 days of search ) many of the guides:

 **point one:**
  If you have a dell with four partions (I am talking about the newer dells which has MD3 installed as a factory setting) then most probably this is your configuration:

   - EISA configuration (primary)
   - Vista (primary)
   - Recovery (primary)
   - Extended -> you will not see this from windows
     - Under this a logical partition for Media direct 3

  Now you will be able to see this only in Yast in expert mode. 

 **point two:**
   If you are like me and do not want to spend in partioning software here are some free options you have:

    - Acronis
    - Easeus
    - Gparted  (I have not tried this)
    - Yast 

  So here is what you have, none of the windows partitioning software actually recognize the extended partioning around the logical partition. I have not tried GParted so am not sure if that will do it (if somebody has done this please let me know).

However as I did not need the MD3 partition for any reason (have not used it even once in my year’s owning of my laptop), so I decided to delete the Media direct parition and the extended parition (encapsulating it).

Side note: After you delete the MD3 partition you probably can resize the extended partition from the vista software, to include the free space. I tried this but without any sucess, I do not know if any other software can do this.


 **Point three**

  Once you delete these partitions, you just have to use the openSuse dvd and yast will take care of creating all paritions. And the other things are pretty straight forward. 

  But one **important** point which does not have proper documentation even in the suse forum's sticky thread:

   when you see the partitions from YaST expert mode:

make note of the sda<x> numbers which is shown as the windows and the recovery partitions…


   sda2   ----   Vista
   sda3   -----  recovery

  Then your chainloader in grub for vista should be: 

  rootnoverify (hda0,2)
  chainloader (hda0,2)+1

and for recovery should be:

  rootnoverify (hda0,3)
  chainloader (hda0,3)+1
  By default the openSuSE starts all the booting from the extended partition which usually starts from sda5 (which BTW is always the number assigned to the first logical partition)

  I have dual booting up and running and hope this helps ....

Thanks for all the help from all the ppl in the internet

BTW is there a way to enable double tap on laptop touchpad and side scrolls in openSUSE… just wondering is there a different driver which needs to be installed ???


I have not tried GParted so am not sure if that will do it (if somebody has done this please let me know).

Gparted uses the same underlying library named “parted” as does the YaST Partitioner, Parted Magic, and QtParted. There are differences in the interface and differences in how the front-end uses the library, and of course potential differences between library versions, but the internals are the same.

Re the disk partition naming vis-a-vis grub naming: This is well understood. The file /boot/grub/ is used to instruct grub on the alignment between partitions and its own numbering convention. Also note that “sd<x><y>” is one of five methods by which a disk/partition can be identified. When you look at your and menu.lst files you may very well see device-by-id which uses the serial-number of the disk as reported by its firmware; this is a recent change implemented because of the portability of SATA drives, i.e., the order can be easily changed and an sdb can easily become sda, etc. Using device-by-id insures that however the order, the same disk is being recognized. On a separate note, good to know that the MBR is not associated with any partition; it resides on the first sector of the disk before any partitions.

Thanks for the contribution. And congratulations on navigating through a complex installation setup.

And finally, welcome to the community! :slight_smile:

Thanks mingus

 Yeah, I was worried if dell decided to associate MBR with the MD button and somehow to the partition. Looks like that is no the case ... rotfl!

 So it looks like from what you suggested, Gparted 

could have identified the partitions as well as YaST did.
In that case, I think ppl who wish to retain their
MD3 partition can use Gparted and resize the extended partition alone. And after this… new linux logical partitions can be created within this extended partition…

 In my case I shrunk my vista partition (with vista tool) and then could not extend the extended partition at all with my tools, so had to remove my MD3 (but I did not need it anyways). 

 Another side note, vista tool lets you resize better if you turned off hibernation and did a defrag...

 Anyway ... openSUSE rocks :)