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How to setup a dual boot between SUSE Linux Professional and Novell Linux Desktop

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Joe Harmon

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Posted: 2 May 2005

Functionally it really doesn't matter whether SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 or Novell Linux Desktop (NLD) 9 is installed first, because we can edit the boot loader after the installation. However, when writing this document I did find (to my pleasant surprise) that if SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 is installed after NLD, it will create a boot loader with both entries automatically. This is something that changed from SUSE Linux Professional 9.2. If NLD is installed second, we will need to create an entry in the boot loader for SUSE Linux Professional because it will replace the whole boot loader without preserving the information. So to accommodate both scenarios I separated this into two sections depending on which OS was first installed.

SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 Installed First - NLD 9 installed Second

  • You can either do this during the installation of NLD or after the installation of NLD. For this example I just performed this after NLD was installed. We start out by going into Yast2 | System | Partitioner, so that we can gather some information. As you see in the screen shot below, our swap is on /dev/sda1 and our / is on /dev/sda3. That leaves /dev/sda2 which is our SUSE Linux Professional installation.

    There are two bits of information that I want you to pull out of this. One is that our device is sda2 (for this particular example). Two is that our partition number is always one less than the ending device number. Since the device is sda2 (the 2 being the important part), our partition would be one less than that, making it 1.

    The only other information that you might need is if you have more than one disk that you are using. In this case there is only one, but you will be shown where that needs to be changed if you are using more than one. Once finished you can choose Quit to exit the partitioner.

  • Now that we have the needed information we will access the Boot Loader by going to Yast2 | System | Boot Loader Configuration. Once there go to the Available Sections and choose Edit.

  • The first line that you should see has the label of Linux. Leave this selected and click on Add.

  • You will be asked if you want to clone the "Linux" section. Choose Yes.

  • Now we will need to change three of the four lines. The Section Name should already be highlighted. Choose Edit to change the name.

  • Put in the appropriate name. For this example I will put in SUSE Linux Professional 9.3. Click OK to continue.

  • Now choose the kernel option and choose Edit. I expanded this dialog box so that you could see all of the parameters. We will be changing the first two sections labeled (hd0,2)/boot/vmlinux and root=/dev/sda3 respectively. The section labeled (hd0,2) refers to disk device 0 and partition 2. We want to leave this as disk device 0 because we only have one hard drive. If we had this on another drive then this is where you would change that information. However, we do want to change the partition because we already determined that it was on partition 1. Therefore our change would be seen as (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinux. The section labeled root=/dev/sda3 refers to our device. We already determined that this was sda2. Therefore our change would be seen as root=/dev/sda2. Click OK when finished.

  • Now we want to edit the initrd option. Just as above, we determined that the partition was the first partition. Therefore we need to change (hd0,2)/boot/initrd to (hd0,1)/boot/initrd. Click OK.

  • Now you should see it listed in your Boot Loader. The order that it appears in this screen will be the same order that it appears on the boot screen. If desired, you can change the location of the entry by using the Up and Down buttons. You can also change the default boot option if desired. Click OK and then Finish when done.

  • Now all that is left is to test it out. Reboot and you should see that your boot menu has changed.

NLD 9 Installed First - SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 installed Second

  • In this example we have Novell Linux Desktop (NLD) installed first, so we will start this with the SUSE Linux Professional installation. The assumption here is that you have already gone through the first few screens of the SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 installation and choose to do a "New Installation."

  • Now under the Installation Settings section you can click on Partitioning.

  • Choose "Create Custom Partition Setup" and click Next.

  • Choose "Custom Partitioning - For Experts" and click Next.

  • If you don't have any free space then you will need to resize your partition. In this example I do have some free space, so I just chose that free space and chose Create.

  • You will be prompted on whether this should be a Primary or Extended partition. Choose Primary and click OK.

  • I am just going to let it take the rest of the space. It chose the appropriate mount point by default, so I am just going to accept the defaults and click OK.

  • Now you should see the newly created partition in the list. Click Finish.

  • You will notice under the Bootings | Sections area that SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 already picked up your previous install of NLD. It gave it the name of Linux. We can change this by clicking on the "Booting" section and following the steps below.

  • Once in the Boot Loader Setup section, choose the Available Sections and click EDIT.

  • Now highlight the Linux section and click EDIT.

  • Choose the Section Name and click Edit.

  • Give it the name of Novell Linux Desktop 9, and click OK.

  • That's it. You're done. Just finish with the installation and you will see that it has created the boot partition for both entries. Have fun.

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