Manually partitioning an existing Windows system

If the SUSE installer cannot repartition an existing Windows partition automatically, you can always use the Linux parted (Partition Editor) utility to manually resize an existing partition, usually when your entire disk is occupied by a Windows partition. The parted utility is available from the SUSE install disk when you select the Rescue System option from the main menu of the SUSE install CD or DVD. For more information about booting the rescue system, see the section "The SUSE Rescue System" later in this chapter — this section focuses on repartitioning once you have booted in this fashion.

Before using software such as parted that directly manipulates partitions, you should make sure that you have a full backup of any critical data on the partition that you are resizing, and that the backup is readable. The parted utility is quite stable, as are most Windows backup systems, but problems do occur, and we can't think of anything more depressing than finding that you cannot use a backup that you were depending on in order to restore critical data that may have taken you years to amass.

Before using parted to repartition an existing Windows partition, boot the system into Windows and run the Windows Disk Defragmenter software to pack your Windows data into the Windows partition(s) as efficiently as possible. This will make it easier for parted to resize an existing disk as efficiently as possible. After defragmenting, right-click the icon for the Windows partition that you are resizing (probably C:), and write down the amount of space used on that partition, as well as the amount of free space remaining. You can then shut down your Windows system and reboot into the SUSE Rescue System.

Once you boot and log into the system in rescue mode, you can use the df command to identify the name of the disk containing the partition that you want to resize, usually /dev/hda (IDE drive) or /dev/sda (SCSI drive) in a single-disk Windows system. You would then start the parted utility, using the name of the drive that you want to repartition as an argument, as in the following example:

# parted /dev/hda GNU Parted 1.6.3

Copyright (C) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This program is free software, covered by the GNU General Public License.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Using /dev/hda

Information: The ... geometry on /dev/hda is 10011/255/63.

Therefore, cylinder 1024 ends at 8032.499M.


When running parted, its internal prompt is (parted), as shown in the preceding example. You can then use parted's print command to display a listing of the current partitions on your disk, as in the following example:

(parted) print help

Disk geometry for /dev/hda: 0.000-78533.437 megabytes Disk label type: msdos

Minor Start End Type Filesystem Flags

1 0.031 78528.669 primary fat32 boot

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