Protecting the openSuse installation in dual boot.

Whilst I’m in the process of reinstalling Windows and Suse on my laptop I have another question. If Windows goes ^^ up and I have to re-install it I’ll lose the ability to boot into openSuse and I’d have to re-install that too wouldn’t I…or would I? Can I re-install windows and also re-instate the grub bootloader. Short of cloning the hard drive image I can’t see that I have much choice but to install both operating systems. Anyone?

If the grub booter was installed in one of your linux partitions, then you should only need to mark that partition active. You can do that by booting a live CD and using the “fdisk” command.

If the grub booter was installed in the MBR, then you probably have to reinstall grub after reinstalling Windows. And perhaps it is easier to reinstall linux in that case.

If reinstall Windows means using the computer vendor’s disks, and if your vendor does this by completely reformatting the hard drive, then you might be stuck with reinstall of linux anyway.

Hi both of you,

I would say it all depends a bit.

windows 8 is different from windows 7.

Legacy GRUB is different from GRUB 2.

A more modern GPT (partition table) is different from the old MBR.

I think that nrickert describes the situation very well for the case of an MBR and legacy GRUB
(so that ‘fdisk’ works).

if you don’t know of which kind your partition table is, run either

parted -l


fdisk -l

in a root terminal (or in a terminal after saying ‘su -’).

Good luck


If the OP has GPT partitioning and a UEFI install, then the chances are that reinstalling Windows will cause few problems. He might only have to get into BIOS bootup settings to change the default boot.

OP, I would back up my data on both the Windows and OpenSuse partitions and resign yourself to reinstalling both, and though this may not technically be necessary, it’s simply faster and easier.

If you have a Windows OEM disc, it’s possible to just format the Windows partition and reinstall. From there, if you have some extra space left over on the hard drive, you COULD install a second installation of OpenSuse, which when installed, will “find” your old OpenSuse partition as well as the Windows installation, and list all three OS’es in the boot menu. So you’ll wind up with 2 OpenSuse partitions and one Windows partition. If it were me though, I would just reinstall both.

Or you could format the Windows partition and reinstall Windows (with a Windows install disc, that is) and then attempt to re-install GRUB or whichever boot loader you are using. But after spending many hours trying unsuccessfully to do this, I have found it simply too frustrating (I HATE troubleshooting bootloader-related stuff) and unless you are some sort of a natural genius at this kind of thing, the fastest way to get the job done would probably involve reinstalling both OS’es.

If you have a factory restore disc or recovery partition, that’s gonna wipe out every thing on the entire drive and so in that situation, you have no choice but to reinstall both OS’es. Then you’ll need to boot into Windows, and use the Windows disc utility to create some free space, then reinstall OpenSuse.

I haven’t allowed the Windows install to format the whole drive. 50% is allocated as ext4 for the openSUSE install. I’m not sure where the MBR gets installed following install though.

I’ll try what Ratzi suggested.

To help protect against an MS-Windoze install clobbering my openSUSE boot, I typically backup my PCs hard drive MBR with selected arguments run in a ‘dd’ command (with MBR file copy saved on a USB stick). Thats with the original grub and older legacy hardware, and I would be curious to learn if that approach still works with grub2 and the lastest hard disk hardware and motherboard BIOS.