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How to Dual Boot Windows 8 and Linux Mint on the Same PC

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If you’re a serious operating system geek, you might want to test out both Windows 8 and Linux Mint. Here’s how to get the best of both by dual-booting Linux Mint with your Windows 8 installation.

Before we start there is a couple of things that you are going to need:

  • 10GB of free space on your drive
  • The Linux Mint DVD, from here (x86) or here (x64), burnt to a DVD.
  • About 30 Minutes of free time

Note: There are a lot of ways to do this, and since there is no one correct way to dual booting Windows and Linux, we are going to take the easiest method to help those new to Linux, while getting the full experience of installing a Linux OS.

So lets get started–since we are dual-booting Mint alongside your already existing Windows 8 installation, the first thing we need to do is boot up Windows and create an empty partition for the Mint installation. The easiest way to do this is to press the Windows + R key combination and type diskmgmt.msc into the run box and hit enter, but you could search for Disk Management in the Start Menu as well.

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When the Disk Management MMC console opens up right click on your drive containing Windows 8 and select Shrink Volume… from the context menu.

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You will now need to enter how many megabytes you would like to shrink the partition by, we recommend a minimum of 10GB. Remember that there is 1024MB in a gigabyte, so multiply the number of gigabytes that you want your new partition to be by 1024.

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Now insert your Mint DVD and boot your PC from the DVD drive, this will normally require a pushing of a key at the POST screen–every motherboard is different but it will normally be F11 or F12.

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The DVD should automatically boot into its Live mode, however if you bump a key and are prompted simply choose to start it.

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Once booted, you can start the installation by double clicking on the Install Linux Mint shortcut on the desktop.

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You can click continue until you get to the installation type section, here you will need to change the radio button to the something else option.

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Once you have clicked on the continue button you will now have to pick a place to install Mint, scroll down until you see a partition called “free space”.

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Double click on it to bring up the format menu, here accept all the defaults except for the mount point, where you should enter a single forward slash, then click ok.

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Now you can click on the install now button.

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A very nice touch to the installation process is that it starts asking for a few configuration settings while the OS is busy installing.

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You will need to reboot your PC when the installation is finished, as you can see we can now easily choose our OS at startup.

Note: Grub picks up our Windows 8 installation, the entry at the bottom, as Windows Recovery Environment, this is actually your Windows 8 installation and the display name can easily be changed by selecting it from the menu and hitting the “e” key, this is mainly for advanced users.

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Your default OS will now be Linux Mint, but you always have the choice of switching back to Windows 8 from the Grub boot menu at any time.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 12/6/11

Comments (19)

  1. Jeff

    “…How to Dual Boot Windows 8 and Linux Mint on the Same PC…”

    As opposed to dual booting on different PCs?

    ;-)

  2. Meena Bassem

    is it possible to install it from inside windows itself? it’s possible for ubuntu

  3. Endocorneelius
  4. EmonAzzameen

    To install it within Windows you need mint4win.exe
    http://community.linuxmint.com/idea/view/17

  5. Cam2644

    This is a good guide. I dual booted between Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu for a few years but found myself just using the Ubuntu. On my latest PC I just have Linux Mint installed.

  6. dana ross

    Well done. Very clear. Even though I have done this several times I am always a little intimidated by the process. This helps.

  7. Keith

    Dumb question I guess, but I’ll ask anyway. Is there any reason this can’t be done on Win7 as well?

  8. Tl2AVlS

    Beware of some extra steps you may have to take if you install “Lisa 12 Gnome” with an Intel HD3000 onboard video. They aren’t playing nice together.
    I’m going to try The Mint 12 Debian x64 as a last resort to keep from having to do the work although minimal.

    Yah… I’m Lazy… =)~

  9. alyson beaulieu

    yéé

  10. Taylor Gibb

    @meena If you go to the Linux Mint site, there is a download that includes a Wubi style installer that you can run from Windows. I havent tested this on Windows 8, but im sure it will work, just be careful that version doesnt come with the Media Codecs but they can be installed in one click.

    @keith it can i just covered Windows 8, but it will work on Windows 7 as well

  11. lance john

    great info but not for beginers like myself thanks ps have aGREAT XMAS AND NEW YEAR TO ALL STAFF LANCE

  12. Surp

    I’ve followed the above procedure to Linux Mint on a pc with Windows XP but I don’t get the dual boot menu when I start the pc. Any suggestions, please?

  13. HTC ACER

    Hi guys,

    I dont know if i am the only one having this problem. I seem to go into a loop when i select “Windows Recovery Environment”. On my PC this is actually a recovery enviroment. it looks for errors and when it down not find any it says to restart and the computer restarts and we back at the grub menu with the same options???? HELP

  14. Michael

    If you decide you do not want to keep Mint how do you uninstall so that you just have your windows OS?

  15. logicdustbin

    @ Michael.

    I assume you can just go into windows disk manager and delete the linux partitions.

    what I would like to know is how I can remove the current linux instal and try a different distro (without losing windows and dual boot)

  16. Airidh

    @HTC ACER

    I had a problem like this a couple of years back when trying to install Fedora dual-booting with Vista – Vista was pre-installed. After installing Fedora, Vista was nowhere to be seen. I tried a number of ideas including the recovery option.

    I looked at the disk with Easeus (partition manager) and found that Vista was really gone, overwritten by Fedora. Various people said “just re-install Vista from the system disc, but of course I didn’t have one. I did, however, have a “recovery” dvd which I had made from the recovery partition when I got the laptop. (I didn’t know at that time that the recovery partition was at the beginning – just followed instructions in the documentation for the laptop.)

    So here’s what I did in the end (note that my Vista system had been backed up before installing Fedora) :

    Used the recovery dvd to restore the system to its state when I purchased it. The process re-formatted the HD but you might prefer to do that separately.

    Installed Easeus* and used it to delete the recovery partition, which was right at the beginning of the disk; moved the Vista partition to the beginning and shrank it. Then I created two more Windows partitions (you don’t have to do this of course), and two for Linux and swap.

    Shut down and installed linux in the two last partitions. I put Grub in the MBR (sda) and that picked up Vista just fine.

    A few things to note:

    1. If you haven’t got or made a recovery dvd you can’t do this (unless you have a full system disk). You may still be able to make one from your recovery partition, but I’m not sure how – on mine it was automated. It would certainly have to be bootable.

    2. After my procedure the recovery partition has been overwritten. This is OK if you have made the dvd.

    *3. You can use any partition manager for this, but Easeus is free! It also has to be installed on a Windows system, which is why I couldn’t use it while my system was in a mess. If I had to do this again I would use GParted, also free, and bootable.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  17. Airidh

    Oops! correction! I see that I said early on that I looked at the disk with Easeus, which of course I couldn’t have done, as Windows had disappeared. Sorry – it was a long time ago. I think what I did at that point was looked at the hardware site, discovered where the recovery partition was, and deduced the rest. In any case I had nothing to lose at that point.

    GParted, being bootable, would have worked, only I didn’t know about it at the time.

  18. Bill Bos

    All:

    I wonder if this would work with Windows 7 and Mint Debian Edition.
    I currently have a dual boot system between to Windows 7 installations. I would like to replace one of them with Linux. I am having troubles with the first one. Originally my system had one Windows 7 installation. It had a small boot volume and Bitlocker installed. This arrangement caused problems, so I uninstalled Bitlocker and removed the small boot volume. I then repair installed Windows 7. I also installed a second instance of Windows 7 on its own partition and dual booted the two Windows 7 installations. I have had nagging problems with the original W7 installation. Inability to install Service Pack 1 is among them. I believe that much of this is due to remnants of Bitlocker that were not removed.

    I would like to just reformat the partition with the first Windows 7 installation and install Linux Debian Edition on it. Then dual booting the second Windows 7 installation. My concern is that I have a functioning boot system when I am done. I certainly don’t want to do anything to harm my second Windows 7 system. It looks to me like the procedure outlined here just might do it.

    Does anybody who is knowledgeable have any isuggestions?

    Thanks,
    Bill Bos

  19. Airidh

    @Bill, I am not knowledgeable enough to be sure about this, but I would have reservations. Just from reading around: a number of people advise to have Windows in the first partition (or set of partitions) and linux after that. This advice might not apply if you are using Grub as the boot manager, ie in the MBR, but I don’t know for sure. 2 suggestions:

    1. you can “suck it and see”, if you’re sure your backup arrangements will let you recover completely;

    2. look at the forums http://www.linuxquestions.org and http://www.techguy.org – note the “org” – where you will find loads of real experts willing to help you, free of course, although I think a small donation is suggested diffidently. I have had a lot of help from both in the past.

    Good luck!

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