Windows XP - OpenSUSE dual-boot

How do you dual-boot openSUSE and Windows XP? From my googling around, I found that the openSUSE installer offers to shrink the Windows partition to make room for itself. But many websites say that this isn’t advisable and it’s better to manually edit the partition setup.
Who’s right? Will shrinking the Windows partition damage my Windows installation or make it so that I can’t boot into either OS?

Making new partition for openSUSE is not related to shrinking. You can shrink in that case, when you have one drive assigned for XP(c Drive of whole hdd space.) to make some room for openSUSE. But apart from that, if you have other partition, you can install openSUSE there without shrinking(if that drive is not in use).

openSUSE will install boot loader for you, so you can boot into both OS.

Shrinking will not damage any thing, if you do it in the proper way. Gparted is best for this.

Partitioning/Install Guide - openSUSE Forums

All About Grub - openSUSE

OpenSuse 11 lets you configure the partitioning in detail at install time. If you don’t already have a Linux partition, let it shrink the Windows partition (I took around 35% from it) then fill the new space with a Linux partition (ext3 format) and swap partition not bigger than 2GB. Don’t forget to set a mount point to the Windows partition as well, normally the partitioner does that by itself.

So before you start the installer, the partitioning list should be something like this:

  • Shrink partition your-windows-partition to whatever.
  • Create partition your-linux-partition and format it with ext3.
  • Create partition your-swap-partition and format it with swap.
  • Set mount point of your-windows-partition to windows\C

The GRUB boot loader automatically sees Windows and puts it in the list at boot time. You can edit it from Yast after Opensuse is installed if you want but be careful there.

i advise you to use windows tools to defrag windows BEFORE beginning
other steps…

and, having a good long look at can save you
LOTS of time and frustration…


In addition to what’s been said, you should be aware that although GRUB/SUSE recognize Windows, Windows does not recognize GRUB. This means that if you ever reinstall XP or upgrade to Vista/Win7 or whatever, Windows will delete GRUB from the master boot record and you will no longer be able to access SUSE. The presence of GRUB actually causes Vista to bomb during SP1 installation.
Because of these Windows problems I’d recommend installing SUSE on its own HDD with GRUB on the SUSE HDD. If you can’t do this, be prepared to use your SUSE install CD to reconstitute GRUB after Windows has overwritten it.