Using second hard drive

I am about to embark on downloading Suse. What I would like to know is, does it easily load onto a second hard drive easily and dual boot? I have tried PCLinux and not had success, I have WInXP on the C drive and that remains. I am now using WinXP for Abode CS2 and other software that I consider too useful to not have for my photography. But, for security and a challenge I know as I have loaded Linux onto other computers tearing out my hair to get hardware to work. I have not used Suse before and hoped that it would be the one that satisfies my needs. Ubuntu I don’t want to touch and hate the visual part of it. The OS will be on D drive.

Looking forward to your replies


Why should a second hard drive be a problem ?
My self I use 4 hard drive all internal.
On each hard drive runs more than one Linux distro even Ubuntu
Why at this moment I am distro shopping.
There a lot a ways to deal with it.
Using one GRUB or more depending what options you’re BIOS gives

OpenSuSE will install happily on any drive or partition you choose, the only thing I’d warmly recommend is – just in case you should choose to uninstall OpenSuSE later – don’t let it touch your MBR. Override the default and direct it to install the boot loader into its own root drive/partition instead. Many people don’t realize that if you install the liGNUx boot loader Grub to the MBR and later delete/reformat/trash its partition, your Windows won’t boot anymore (well, until you repair its MBR).

This true if you are not replacing opensuse with a other linux distro , in the case that you replace with a other the new GRUB come in place of the old one

Hmmm . . . and therefore what is it that loads the grub root partition boot sector on the 2nd drive?

First, if you have had problems, it is probably best to use the DVD rather than Live-CD. Second, since you do not like the Gnome desktop (which Ubuntu uses), and you are totally new to Linux, then be sure to install KDE 3.5 rather than KDE 4.0; both are options on openSUSE 11.0. If you wish you can add KDE 4.1 when openSUSE 11.1 is released next month; it can co-exist with 3.5. 4.1 is more modern and flashy (ala Vista’s Aero), but 3.5 is more stable and feature rich (until 4.x catches up).

As far as “getting hardware to work”, that is totally dependent on the particular hardware, the version of the kernel, the version of the distro, and the design of the particular distro itself. Usually, with the exception of very new or rather exotic hardware, everything will work - although not always right out of the box. That’s what the community is here to help with if needed.

Now regarding the installation on a second drive and the boot loader: With the former, that it’s on a second drive is irrelevant; as long as it can be detected and accessed, should be no problem. For the boot loader, there are a number of options; what is best is a personal decision and can be influenced by several factors. The default will be to install the grub boot loader to the MBR of the boot disk; if your “C” drive is configured as such, then it would be on that disk; grub will also boot XP on that disk. openSUSE will make a backup of the Windows MBR so it can be restored later if necessary; still, it is advisable to have another means to restore it. That can be easily done with the Windows install CD, or from a boot floppy (XP can create one) or bootable CD with MbrFix or MBRWizard utilities (downloadable, there are others).

Alternatively, you could configure (in the bios) your 2nd drive as the primary boot disk, install grub to that drive’s MBR (each disk has one), and boot Windows from there. This would leave your C drive’s Windows MBR untouched. If you want to do this, you must make the bios change before installing openSUSE; for extra safety also disconnect the first drive before installing (if you want to access C from openSUSE you can easily configure that post-installation).

You will also read of a method of using Windows to boot openSUSE. This is more involved to set up, and IME does not work if the other OS is on a different disk (that is, XP’s ntldr cannot boot across disks as can grub).

There are yet other more esoteric methods, I suggest you choose one of the first two above.