Install Dual Boot openSUSE 12.3 and Windows 8 on Acer Aspire v3-772G Laptop

This tutorial goes through the steps of installing openSUSE 12.3 on a brand new Acer Aspire v3 772G laptop which came with Windows 8 pre-installed, with the need to retain Windows 8 and have a dual boot system. Anyone wishing to undertake such a project should familiarise themselves with the concepts of secure boot, UEFI and GPT. An excellent starting point for research is http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/install-boot-login/485517-opensuse-windows8-dual-boot-installation-questions-secure-boot-uefi-gpt.html. I need to caveat my endeavours here and now - the solution below will allow the pre-installed Windows 8 and openSUSE 12.3 to happily co-exist but to flip between the two is a little clunky - by using the boot mode UEFI / Legacy switch in BIOS. This is an acceptable compromise for me and was caused by a YaST bug in copying the shim loader (more later)

Before you do anything you will need to create a recovery mechanism should something go horribly wrong. I used the built-in Windows 8 recovery software and created a recovery USB flash drive which has been put away in a safe place.

In addition you will need to download a copy of openSUSE 12.3 Network 64 bit from http://software.opensuse.org/123/en and burn the iso image to a CD-R in preparation.

My laptop came with a 1TB drive, completely allocated to Windows 8 so the first task for me was to resize the partition to provide space for openSUSE 12.3. This can be done inside Windows 8.

Disk Management
To load the Disk Management utility which will be used to resize the Windows partition, press Windows + R and when the command line dialog box loads, type in diskmgmt.msc and click OK

Partitions
You will be presented with the layout of your disk drives. On mine you can see the c: drive which is Disk 0. Float the mouse over the partition you wish to shrink, then right click and on the pop-up menu click Shrink Volume

Shrink
The dialog box will be pre-populated with the smallest figure the Windows partition can be. This was a major disappointment because I had visions of shrinking the partition down to 100GB but that wasn't possible. I tried a de-fragmentation which was of course a complete waste of time on a brand new machine. So I stuck with the defaults.

Shrink-Complete
Once the shrink is complete you will see the space remaining for the openSUSE 12.3 installation. In my case 462GB.

Boot ModeTo be able to boot the openSUSE network iso image CD, the boot mode has to be set to Legacy in the system BIOS. Restart out of Windows 8 and as soon as the Acer logo is displayed, press F2. Navigate to Boot then change the UEFI/Legacy switch to Legacy. Insert the openSUSE network installation CD in your optical drive and quit out of BIOS by navigating to Exit and saving your changes.

InstallationOnce the laptop has restarted, the standard openSUSE installer menu is displayed. Select Installation

CountryThe installation process commences and you are prompted for your country. By selecting the country, an automatic keyboard selection is added that can be overridden if necessary

New InstallationEnsure the New Installation radio button is selected before clicking Next

TimezoneCheck the timezone setting is correct before clicking on Next

DesktopSet your preference for desktop. I've always had a preference for KDE over Gnome.

Suggested PartitioningThe system now makes a suggestion as to the partitioning. I don't wish for a dedicated /home partition so I have unticked that particular checkbox. You will notice that subsequent to that decision, there are two partitions suggested - one for swap space and one for the system.

Installation SettingsA snapshot of the proposed installation is now presented, but we will need to make changes to this. Firstly, click on Booting to set the boot loader settings

Boot LoaderIdeally the setting to go for here would be GRUB2-EFI but I was unable to make this work - more later. So I had to go for the default - GRUB2 - and I clicked the Master Boot Record (MBR) to allow for a conventional 'legacy' boot.

Installation Settings 2Now you be able to see that the snapshot has been updated with our proposed MBR boot. Not done yet though - I am going to be using my machine for web development and therefore will need to add to the default software list. So click on Software

SoftwareI've ticked a few additional packages here, although of course they could ahve been added later once the installation had completed by using the YaST utility on the desktop. Regardless, you will see I've added Web and Lamp server which basically means Apache, MySQL and PHP. At some time in the future I will need to compile an installed package so out of course I'll install C/C++ and Perl. Ruby is added for my intended GitLab project and Web Development is ticked for the PHP language.

Installation Settings 3The installation settings are now as we want - so click Install to start the ball rolling.

KDEThe installation will go through a reboot and continue on its merry way. Once the installation is complete you will have an openSUSE 12.3 system ready to use. Here you'll see I've changed it from the dreadful default theme and changed the wallpaper image too. In the bottom right corner you will notice that both wireless and bluetooth icons are enabled and they worked straight from the network installation.

True 'Dual Boot' Functionality

I was unable to achieve true dual boot functionality although Windows 8 and openSUSE 12.3 happily co-exist on the same laptop. To switch between the two systems, I have to go to into the BIOS and change the boot loader option between UEFI and Legacy. Not ideal but it is a solution I am happy with since it is rare I will need to switch from one to the other. Under normal circumstances I'll be using one of the OS for a protracted period and then the other one.

So what went wrong with the proposed OS menu prompt upon boot?

GRUB2-EFIAt the point of selecting the boot loader, I attempted to go for the GRUB2-EFI loader and I ticked the Secure Boot option - as per the instructions on the openSUSE site.

Installation Settings 4You'll notice that I get a diagnostic Unsupported combination of hardware platform x86_64 and bootloader grub2-efi. I disregarded this message and continued with the installation. At 94% completion when the installation attempts to create the boot loader entries the installation failed with an shim.install error 256. It is my belief that whilst the grub2-efi boot loader is unsupported it will generally work in most instances, on the Acer v3-772G it does not.


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