One of the main reasons that SUSE 9.1 was chosen for this article was its
friendliness during the partitioning process. SUSE will automatically
detect existing windows partitions and accommodate them into the SUSE
installation without destroying any data or operating systems on them. In
effect, SUSE will automatically create a dual-boot environment on your computer,
where you can boot to either Linux or Windows and access your Windows data in
Linux. Most major Linux distributions will also do this, but we liked the
simplicity with which the YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) graphical installation
program that SUSE uses accomplishes this feat.
It's still a good idea to take a look at what the SUSE installer is planning
on doing with your hard drives though, if only to understand the process
Click on the 'partitioning' heading to see a little more information on the
way SUSE will configure your hard drives. Listed in bullet form at the top
of the page will be all the proposed changes.
Our test system
for this article contained 512MB of memory and a pair of
20GB disks, one which was blank (for Linux) and the other containing a
pair of NTFS partitions and a Windows XP Professional installation. The
YaST installer detected this configuration, and decided to create a swap partition of
1GB and a root partition (containing all the SUSE files) of 18GB,
on '/dev/hdb1' and '/dev/hdb2' meaning the first two
partitions on the second physical hard disk. 'hda' is the first physical drive on our
system and contains both windows partitions.
The YaST installer informs us here that it will 'mount' (the process of
making the files on a partition accessible through the Linux virtual file
system) /dev/hda1 and /dev/hda2 (our Windows c: and d: partitions) in
'/windows/c' and /windows/d' directories respectively. This means that once SUSE
is installed, we will have access to all our Windows files through these two
directories. Very neat.
As a basic reference:
hda= First physical disk in computer
hdb= Second physical disk in
hda1= First partition on first physical disk, hdb2 would be the
second partition on second disk, etc.
If YaST says a partition will be 'created', the installer will format that
partition before creating a new one
If YaST says that a 'mount point' will be set, it will create a directory at
which you can access the information from the partition in question. The
partition itself will not be formatted and no data will be changed during
If you'd like even more detail about this process, or
you want to customize the way partitions are set up, click the 'base partition
setup on this proposal' radio button and then hit 'next.'
More on partitioning
The expert partitioner screen allows you to configure each of your partitions
exactly to your specifications. It also allows you to reassure yourself
that SUSE is not going to format your precious MP3 collection on your Windows
drive. To do this, highlight one of your Windows partitions and click the
You can feel reassured by the clearly stated 'do not format' label
here. All your Windows partitions will be mounted as directories in your
Linux file system, and you will be able to choose between Windows and Linux each
time you boot your system.
We're not going to make any other changes here for now. Click 'next' to
return to the main installation window.