openSuse on DELL 1520 with Vista dual boot

Hello fellas,

I would like to install openSuse 10.3 on my DELL Inspiron 1520 with Windows Vista Home premium but I wouldn’t like to lose the DELL OS restore utility that only works with the original MBR.
If I install openSuse it will overwrite on the MBR and will lose the DELL restore app.

Is there any possibility to install the linux loader on a USB stick or a Bootable CD?

By the way, I also would like to install linux on a External USB Hard Drive. Is that possible?

I will test this distro 'cause I really want to change to linux, but most of the times I need the Windows app so It will take time to change 100% to linux.

I hope yoy can help me with this issue.


Typically it will overwrite the MBR, putting Grub on the MBR. If you watch the openSUSE installer portioning carefully, you will not lose the restore partition, as you can modify the openSUSE partitioning proposal. BUT you have to exercise caution. Reference keeping your MBR, of course you won’t be able to boot with openSUSE if you keep it the same. But I have seen posts on how to use MS-Windows based Boot Managers other than grub, but I’m not up to speed on doing this without doing research. … I think if you research this you can find an answer.

openSUSE was tested and operated by users with the basic assumption it would be on a hard drive. While what you ask is technically feasibly, IMHO you are crippling openSUSE. If you wish to do this, why not go with a distribution that was built with this as a prime purpose, … ie Knoppix, or Sidux, or Kanotix. See also my answer to the next question.

For some guidance on installing openSUSE on an external hard drive, take a look at How to Install SUSE to a USB Hard Drive | USB Pen Drive Linux or alternatively at SuSE install from USB drive - openSUSE

Many of us install vmware or virtual box on our openSUSE. Then we install a Windows OS as a client in this virtual manager. That way one can run Windows (such as WinXP) for those “must have” Windoze apps in a session, at the same time as we run openSUSE Linux.

I hope you enjoy you efforts researching this, and welcome to our forum.

Thanks for your answer oldcpu.
I asked about installing a linux loader on a usb stick 'cause when I tried Mandrake a few years ago (2000 I think) I could maintain MBR intact and the Mandrake installer made a Lilo Bootdisk on a 3.5" diskette.

The main objetive of my research is to keep the DELL System Recovery option functional, so if I want to format my Inspiron 15020 as it came from the factory, I have the possibility to do it.

As far as I know, DELL systems come with a different MBR as Windows XP or vista do.

To my knowledge, that is not a user friendly option with the openSUSE installer.

It is possible to install openSUSE (by very careful / advanced selection (and modification) in the MBR section of a certain install menu (its obscure so you have to look for it) to tell openSUSE not to put grub on the MBR). Frankly, if one did that, I don’t know if openSUSE would boot afterward. I suspect it could not. … However assuming openSUSE could boot, then one could follow an archived Tips and Trick (from our old SLS forum) to create a boot floppy from this newly installed openSUSE. Of course one must research this and be ready, prior to even starting the install. Preferably one has practiced this first, which is sort of a “chicken before the egg” type practice.

I don’t know of any openSUSE software to create a boot USB (like the old boot floppy), but I suspect it is doable, although again, I am not aware of any software that helps one create a boot USB in the same manner as the old boot floppy. Instead I suspect the process is different.

As you can tell, I’m not up to speed on the details of this, so someone else will need chime in if they have specific links and examples.

It’s pretty easy to add the Suse install into the windows bootloader:
Boot Multiboot openSUSE Windows (2000, XP, Vista - any mix) with Windows bootloader.

Thank you all fellas by helping me with this issue but I have another question?

If I install openSuse on my External USB Drive and select the option to install de Grub on the main or root partition (not the MBR), will my MBR with the DELL system recovery option be intact???

That should be OK if you select “custom partition” and point it at the sdax where sdax represents the root partition. I used to do that when I was booting Suse from a third party bootloader in the MBR of drive 1 and didn’t want that disturbed by the Suse install.

I finally got my openSuse 10.3 working on my DELL Inspiron 1520 but as I already told you I didn’t install Grub in MBR.

I always must boot using the install DVD and abort the Installer so I get other options (in DOS like graphics), then I choose Boot Installed System.

I also tried the solution of this site
Boot Multiboot openSUSE Windows (2000, XP, Vista - any mix) with Windows bootloader.

but it didn’t work to me.

For your information, I installed Suse on the Second Partition of a 500Gb USB Hard Drive (so the main system is mounted on sbd6) and the users data is on the third Partition (sdb7)

Can someone help to make a Boot CD to run my installed linux???