Partitioning Your Hard Disk Before Installing SUSE

By: coolguys

December 21, 2006 12:00 am





Scott Morris shares a solution he provided for a user on how to partition a hard disk before installing SUSE.


I’ve found an interesting bug during installation of SuSE 10.2 on
a machine which has previously run 9.3 perfectly well.

I’m using an HDD which has previously had Windows on it, but
has subsequently been formatted.

During the installation process, I get the error “Your computer
does not have enough memory to run YaST. To continue, activate some
swap space” and then invites me to enter partition details on the
HDD for a swap partition.

Problem is, it hasn’t yet initialised the HDD for Linux use.

I’m sure that all other versions of Linux which I’ve used (SuSE 9.1
and 9.3, and RH (various versions from about 7.1 onwards) have gone thru
a disk initialisation phase before demanding swap space! The HDD is
definitely visible in System Info -> Hard disks with its correct
size and everything.

(How) can I get 10.2 to format the disk first?


When you first insert the disc and boot from it, you are taken to the
beginning of the installation process where you select a language.

When you get here, press CTRL+ALT+F2, and you are taken to a virtual

Once there, run this command:

cat /proc/partitions

I’m guessing you will see something like this:

major minor  #blocks  name

   3     0  195360984 hda
   3     1      40131 hda1
   3     2    1959930 hda2
   3     3   29302560 hda3
   3     4  164055780 hda4

You would then become ‘su’ and run fdisk:

Password: [enter root password here]
fdisk /dev/hda

This takes you to the fdisk app which you can use to wipe your partition
table. You’ll see something like this:

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 24321.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
   (e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

Command (m for help):

Press 'p' to print out your partition table:

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 200.0 GB, 200049647616 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 24321 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1           5       40131   83  Linux
/dev/hda2               6         249     1959930   82
  Linux swap / Solaris

/dev/hda3 250 3897 29302560 83 Linux
/dev/hda4 3898 24321 164055780 83 Linux

Command (m for help):

Yours will *VERY* likely look different.

press ‘d’ to delete each partition.

When you are done, press ‘w’ to write the partitioning table to the HDD.

Then, reboot the computer, and try installing openSUSE again.

Hope this works out for you.

Scott Morris

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Disclaimer: As with everything else in the SUSE Blog, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.