How to install Linux Mint and dual-boot with Windows

Linux Mint Installaiton

Linux Mint is one of the popular distros of Linux which is known for it’s awesome rich features and Windows like look of taskbar, start button, and several other GUI elements. It is derived from Debian and Ubuntu and so you get all the reliability of years and years of hard work. It looks great, refreshing, has start menu, and comes packed with built-in programs for playing multimedia, LibreOffice, PDF reader, and several others. It is a great distro for the people who are trying to migrate from Microsoft Windows to Linux.

Linux Mint Installaiton

In this tutorial, let’s learn how to install Linux Mint on a PC which is running any version of Windows. I have personally tested this on Windows 10 computer and everything is working fine.

Minimum System Requirements

[list]
[li type=”glyphicon-ok”]x86 processor[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-ok”]2GB RAM[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-ok”]10 GB of disk space[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-ok”]DVD drive or USB port [/li]
[/list]

I. Prepare your PC

Hard disk Partition using Windows Disk Management

First task is to create hard disk partition for installation of Linux Mint and though this step can be done at the time of Linux Mint installation, I recommend doing this first to make sure you know where you are installing it and avoid accidental overwriting of Windows OS and data loss.

1. Login to your Windows PC with administrator rights.

2. Launch Windows Disk Management. In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, you can simply type Disk Management in the programs search box and launch the utility.

3. Depending on the prevailing hard disk partitions on your PC, you may have to do different actions, but finally the intent is to create a ‘Unallocated’ hard disk space where you want to install Linux Mint. By the way, on my test PC below, the partition size is just meeting the minimum requirements. I have purposefully done it to see the performance at lowest configuration. I did this partition by right-clicking on the C: drive and then clicked ‘Shrink Volume’. Whatever the size you have shrinked becomes the unallocated size.

Windows Disk Management
Windows Disk Management

II. Create a Linux Mint Installation USB drive

Go to our detailed article and step-by-step instructions on how to create a Linux Mint Live USB. Once you are done with it, proceed to next section.

Create Linux Mint Live USB Drive

III. Begin Linux Mint Installation

Plugin the Linux Mint Live USB device to your PC and boot into it. The method of booting into the USB drive depends on the PC make and BIOS configuration. Make sure to enable boot in UEFI mode to run Linux alongside Windows.

1. You should into the Linux Mint live desktop. This mode is kind of trial mode and so doesn’t save anything. To begin installation, click on ‘Install Linux Mint’ located on desktop.

Linux Mint Live DesktopLinux Mint Live Desktop
Linux Mint Live Desktop

2. Choose you language and click ‘Continue’.

Linux Mint installation - Welcome
Linux Mint installation – Welcome

3. Click ‘Continue’ when it says 3-point checklist.

Linux Mint installation - checklist
Linux Mint installation – checklist

4. IMPORTANT: Since we want to install Linux Mint alongside Windows, select ‘Something else’ and click ‘Continue’.

Linux Mint installation - Options
Linux Mint installation – Options

5. In this step, you will have to specify three important parameters:

Mount Point: This is the partition where the Linux Mint system files will be installed and forms the major portion of the hard disk space. Don’t select any NTFS partitions – these are Windows systems. Remember the unallocated hard disk space that you created at I(3) of this article? Double-click on that partition and reduce the size by the size more than that of your computer’s RAM. For example, if you have 4GB RAM, you can reduce the size by at least 5GB or best would be 8GB (double that of RAM). The reduced space will be used for SWAP and Linux uses this place when you Hibernate your computer. Select ‘Use as’ as ‘Ext4 journaling file system’. Next specify Mount point as /. Then click OK.

Linux Mint installation - Harddisk Partition
Linux Mint installation – Harddisk Partition

SWAP: You will now see additional device ‘free space’. Double-click on it and specify ‘Use as’ as ‘swap area’. Click ‘OK’.

Linux Mint installation - SWAP
Linux Mint installation – SWAP

Bootloader: Now the most important part of specifying where the boot loader will go. Click on the drop-down list under ‘Device for boot loader installation’ and select the main hard disk location. This is where GRUB which is Linux’s boot loader saves the boot information and gives you option to choose which OS to start when you switch ON the PC. Typically, it is /dev/sda for most of the Windows PCs, but make sure you select the top level. In my case here is the image of hard disk partitions situation. Click ‘Install Now’.

Linux Mint installation - Final Hard disk Partitions example
Linux Mint installation – Final Hard disk Partitions example

6. Now the steps are self-explanatory. You will have to enter location information for Linux Mint to know you time zone for system clock.

7. Next specify Keyboard layout.

8. Enter account login details and click ‘Continue’.

Linux Mint installation - Login Details
Linux Mint installation – Login Details

9. Sit back and relax as the install begins!

Linux Mint installation - Install
Linux Mint installation – Install

10. After a while you should get prompt to restart computer. Click ‘Restart Now’.

Linux Mint installation - complete
Linux Mint installation – complete

11. You may now unplug the Live USB drive. Its work is done.

12. When your computer reboots you will see GRUB Bootloader giving you several options to boot.

To boot into Linux Mint select ‘Linux Mint xxxxx’. The version number and name may vary on what you downloaded and installed. For me today it is ‘Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64-bit’. To boot into Microsoft Windows, you will have to use arrow up/down keys to navigate and select ‘Windows Recovery Environment (loader)’.

GRUB - Linux Mint
GRUB – Linux Mint

13. Boot into Linux Mint and you will have to enter the login details that you specified in section III(8) of this article.

Linux Mint Desktop and Programs Menu
Linux Mint Desktop and Programs Menu

Hi there! I’m Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I’m an avid Linux lover, and enjoys hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I’m using Linux Mint as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Ubuntu, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I’m not writing for FOSSLinux, I’m seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread my love for Linux. If you find time, drop me an email or feedback from ‘Contact’ page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

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