Setting up dual Boot on a Tumbleweed machine

Dear Community,

some weeks ago I switched to Tumbleweed with my laptop and I’m quite happy with it (even though I feel it could be a little more bleeding edge). Since I wanted to use EFI and I had a hidden Windows 7 installation that required MBR partitioning I had to wipe the entire disk and to set its label to GPT (at least this is what the installer told me).

Now my partition looks like this:

sda1 EFI-Boot ~156 MB FAT boot/efi
sda2 Linux Swap 4 GB Swap swap
sda3 Linux-Native 40GB BtrFS /
sda4 Linux-Native 421GB XFS /home

What I want to do now is to shrink sda4 and to create a new partition with the freed up space where I can install Windows 7 or another distro (not yet decided).

Will Windows 7 break my boot setup/Grub installation in this case?

Any recommendations on this? (How to proceed instead of using Yast directly for this.)

Best regards

In that case, you should install Windows 7 in EFI mode. Google for information on that.

After you have installed Windows 7, that is what will probably boot.

Most EFI systems have a key you can hit during boot to get a boot menu. It is often F12. You should be able to select opensuse that way. And, once booted into opensuse, you should be able to set it as the preferred boot with a command like:


# efibootmgr -o 0000

First use just


# efibootmgr -v

That will tell you the EFI boot options, and give each a numeric value (usually a 4-digit hexadecimal number). Find the number for opensuse and use that instead of the “0000” to set opensuse to be the main booting choice. The “-o” option sets the boot order. You could use something like


# efibootmgr -o 3,1

which would make item 3 (or 0003) the first boot preference and item 1 (or 0001) the second boot preference in case the other fails.

There a small chance that Windows will reformat your EFI partition, since it like FAT32 and opensuse probably used FAT16. If that happens, post back asking for help reinstalling booting.

There’s also a possibility that you have a computer with an incomplete impementation of the UEFI specifications, in which case you could run into other difficulties.

Thx for the your reply.

Is there any way to know before something breaks by trying to install a new system if my laptop has a complete UEFI implementation?

What can you say about other distros w.r.t. EFI-Boot integrity? (Arch, Ubuntu, Gentoo)

I’ve mainly seen problems with Toshiba and HP computers. Most other implementations seem adequate. And even the HP doesn’t seem that hard to deal with. Toshiba can be made to work.

Its an ASUS Laptop, so it should be fine.

The filesystem of my /home partition (XFS) is causing troubles: The YaST partitioning can’t shrink XFS partitions (maybe there is no tool that can do this…) so I think I need to backup the contents of my /home partition, then split it up in two and reinstall the contents to the smaller partition. This is however raising some questions:

  1. How do I ensure that the existing users get their home dir back?
  2. Does this procedure interfere with things the system might remember about /home on the root partition?

What do you think about this?

Yes, those seem to be fine.

The filesystem of my /home partition (XFS) is causing troubles: The YaST partitioning can’t shrink XFS partitions (maybe there is no tool that can do this…) so I think I need to backup the contents of my /home partition, then split it up in two and reinstall the contents to the smaller partition. This is however raising some questions:

  1. How do I ensure that the existing users get their home dir back?
  2. Does this procedure interfere with things the system might remember about /home on the root partition?

What do you think about this?

The main problems that can arise, are that if the device-id might change (probably only if the partition numbering changes). And the UUID will change. So check “/etc/fstab” and make sure that it has the right information for the new partitioning.

That brings up another point. Installing Windows 7 might change the partition numbering. So you should check “/etc/fstab” again after that install.

There should not be a problem with user home directories, as long as “/home” is properly restored from your backup.

Hi again.

It turned out that my efforts were in vain, since Windows 7 froze while booting the installation programm using UEFI mode.

When I tried to install it in legacy mode it complained that my hard disk already has the maximal number of (primary?) partitions.

Unfortunately my USB stick (that I needed to convert to a Windows boot stick) is no longer recognized by openSUSE’s automount and imagewriter. Has anyone here an idea why this is happening and what I can do about it?

Best regards