Nowadays, it is quite common to have systems that can boot multiple operating systems. Such computer systems enable users to take advantage of the power and applications available in each operating system by selecting between available operating systems when you boot the system. These are typically referred to as dual-boot systems because most people install at most two operating systems on a single machine. However, because more than two operating systems can be installed on a single disk, the proper name is multiboot, which is the term used in this section. The number of operating systems that you can boot and run on a single computer is really limited only by the amount of disk space available on your computer system.
With SUSE Linux, the most common type of multiboot system is a system that can boot either SUSE Linux or some version of Microsoft Windows. Windows will be used as an example throughout the rest of this section, although the same general concepts are true when setting up multiboot systems that will run SUSE Linux and any other operating system.
Details about how to install Windows on an existing SUSE Linux system are not relevant to a discussion of installing SUSE Linux. However, the reverse is not true. Installing SUSE Linux on a system that already runs Windows, and on which you want to be able to continue to run Windows, is a common wish. This is quite easy to do and simply involves resizing your existing Windows partition(s) so that sufficient contiguous space is available for installing SUSE.
If you are running a new installation on a system that already contains an operating system such as Windows that you want to preserve, and if the disk or Windows partition in that system has sufficient free space to install SUSE Linux, YaST will propose a solution based on resizing your existing Windows partition and automatically creating appropriate swap and root partitions. If at all possible, you should accept this default selection.
If you do not have sufficient free space to install SUSE Linux and YaST cannot automatically resize your existing operating system partitions, your only alternative (besides adding another disk to your system) is to abort the SUSE install process, remove the installation media, and reboot into your other operating system. You must then free up sufficient disk space and clean up the organization of your operating system's partition(s) using a utility such as Windows' Disk Defragmenter. If there is sufficient unused space on your Windows partition, you should be able to restart the SUSE installation process and let YaST select appropriate partitioning and resizing values for you.
For more on setting up dual-boot (multiboot) systems, see Chapter 4.
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