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.
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
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.
To 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.
The 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.
Ideally 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.
Now 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
I'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.
The 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?
You'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.