The first SUSE Linux screen you will see is the boot loader, which appears shortly after you switch on your PC, as shown in Figure 7-1. This is actually a separate program called GRUB, but you don't need to know that right now. Suffice it to say, this program kicks everything off and starts SUSE Linux.
Figure 7-1. The default choice is fine on the boot menu, so press Enter to start SUSE Linux.
There are usually three or four choices on the menu, but the default (Linux) is what you need. You might find that you have an entry for Windows if you've chosen to dual-boot. There's usually an entry called Failsafe, which is a little like Safe Mode within Windows, in that only conservative system settings are used (however, unlike Safe Mode, it's entirely possible to fully utilize SUSE Linux when the Failsafe option is selected, which is to say you can start the GUI in standard resolution, and networking devices should still work).
The Linux option will be selected automatically within eight seconds, but you can press Enter to start immediately. (To select any option other than Linux from the boot menu, simply use the arrow keys to move the selection down the list, and then press Enter.)
All operating systems need a boot loader—even Windows. However, the Windows boot loader is hidden and simply starts the operating system. Under SUSE Linux, the boot loader usually has a menu, so you can select Linux or perhaps an option that lets you access your PC for troubleshooting problems. When you gain some experience with SUSE Linux, you might choose to install two or more versions of Linux on the same hard disk, and you'll be able to select among them using the boot menu.
Depending on which options you selected during installation, you'll either boot directly to the desktop or you'll see a login screen first. If you boot to the desktop, you can skip the following section and go directly to "Exploring the Desktop."