Dual-Booting Windows and openSUSE

This guide applies to openSUSE versions 11.3, 11.4, 12.1, and Windows Vista & 7.

There are a great many ways to dual-boot Windows and openSUSE. I get asked a lot on how I do it so here it is. Yep, it is "screen-shot heavy" and may be slow to load for some as I have choosen to make it a single page.

I hope you find it helpful.

Creating space for openSUSE

There are various methods to create space for openSUSE. I'm going to discuss only the methods I use as I have found them to be safe and effective.
I will either use the built-in "Shrink Volume", Acronis Disk Director, or Acronis True Image.
*note - Windows XP cannot use the "Shrink Volume" method.
These methods require a little prep work to maximize the amount of available space and to ensure the safety of your files.
To maximize available space you will want to perform a full disk cleanup. See here: ( http://www.tweakhound.com/windows7/tweaking/15.html )
-The Page File - Windows cannot move or defrag this you have 2 options 1 - Get a thrid party defragger like PerfectDisk (I use this) or temporarily disable/remove the page file
- Defrag - You should at least defrag using Windows Defrag. I use PerfectDisk which has the ability to consolidate free space (bunch everything together), other third party defraggers have this ability too.
- Temporarily disabling System Restore can solve resizing issues and free up more space.

1 - Using Windows Vista & 7's "Shrink Volume"
Windows Vista & 7 have the ability to resize the partition it is installed on but to be safe and maximize the space available for resize we need to do a little prep work.
There is a limit as to how much space Windows will allow you to resize. (more info on this topic here)

Press the Windows + R keys and type diskmgmt.msc .



2 - Using Acronis Disk Director
This method has the advantage of being able to control the amount of space you can shrink. Although you can create Linux volumes with it, as of this writing it cannot create ext4 partition which is the default and preferred filesystem for openSUSE. I just leave the space unpartitioned and let openSUSE handle it. Open Acronis Disk Director:



3 - Using Acronis True Image
Use the boot CD that you created with TI. You can also download one from your account (I actually prrefer this one). Make a backup then start to restore that backup.



Once the methods are done be sure to do a full backup. That means a disk image, I use Acronis True Image for this.

No, seriously, make a backup. You've been warned!

Keep Your Grubby Hands Off My Bootloader!
A major problem most folks unfamiliar with Linux have is dealing with the openSUSE bootloader. By default it is set to take over the Windows bootloader. I'll show you how to bypass this.
For now just download and install EasyBCD (but don't change anything yet).

Download openSUSE
Download openSUSE 11.3 and burn it to disc.

Installing openSUSE

Make sure you computer is set to boot from CD. Pop in the CD and restart the computer. (More info on the installation process can be found here.)









I will refer to the screen below as the Install Settings Screen.

Click on the bold green text Booting

Clicking the Boot Loader Options button brings up this screen:

Back at the Install Settings Screen, click on the bold green text Software:
Clicking on the Details button reveals this section:

You should now be back at the Install Settings Screen. When you have completed all the steps in that screen then click install.
The remaining screens are self-explantatory. At the end the system will reboot and end up back in Windows.
(If you aren't there you didn't follow the Booting section correctly. Restore from the disc image I warned you to make and try it again.)

Once you are back in Windows, satrt up EasyBCD.
Make yours like mine.


Now reboot into openSUSE (if you didn't pick it as default you will have the option to chose it while booting).
(created 25 January, 2011. Last edited 23 November, 2011)



Software I Use


I use True Image 2011 for all my OS backups and Disk Director 11.0 for all my partitioning requirements.

TweakHound readers often get a discount off Acronis Products. Click the links for more info.

acronis disk director