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Install Linux Mint on Your Windows Computer or Netbook

Would you like to try out the popular Linux Mint OS on your Windows computer or netbook?  Here’s how you can do it even without a CD/DVD drive with the Mint4Win installer.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint is an increasingly popular distribution of Linux, and many users have found it more user friendly and convenient than other versions.  Mint is based on Ubuntu, and as such includes an excellent installer that lets you install it directly from Windows.  You install it just like a standard Windows program, and can uninstall it from Command Prompt.  The installer is only available in a ISO disk image file, though, so it can still be difficult to install on a computer without a CD/DVD drive such as a netbook.  But, with a little trick, you can use the Windows installer for Mint on any PC, no DVD drive required!

Setup Virtual CloneDrive

Linux Mint is only available as an ISO file, so we’re going to mount the ISO file in a virtual CD Drive.  We recommend Virtual CloneDrive for this, so if you don’t already have it installed, download it (link below) and install as usual.

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You may be prompted to install drivers during the Virtual CloneDrive setup; click Install to complete the installation.

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For more information about Virtual CloneDrive, check out our article on Mounting an ISO image in Windows 7 or Vista.

Install Linux Mint in Windows with Mint4Win

Now download the latest version of Linux Mint from the link below.  Select the i386 Live CD edition.

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Choose a download mirror near your location, and save the ISO file to your computer.

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Once the download is finished, right-click on the ISO and select Mount (Virtual CloneDrive).

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Now, browse to Computer, and open the virtual DVD.

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Run the mint4win program located in the CD image.

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In Windows 7, this installer worked fine, but in one test on a Vista system we received the error message below.  If you see this, simply click Continue as the installer still worked fine.

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When the installer opens, click Install inside Windows.

Please note: DO NOT click Demo and full installation, as this will not work correctly if the CD is simply a mounted ISO file.

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Select where you’d like to install Linux Mint, your preferred language, username, and password, and the Installation size you want. 

Note: that Linux Mint is installing as a normal Windows application, so it will not overwrite any of your files.  Click Install when everything’s entered.

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Linux Mint will now be extracted from your disk image and setup on your computer.  This may take a few minutes depending on your computer’s speed.

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When the install is finished, you’ll be asked to reboot your computer.  Save any work you have open, and select Reboot now.

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Finishing Linux Mint Setup

When your computer reboots, you’ll notice a new screen showing options for Windows and Linux Mint.  Windows will load by default, but to finish setting up Linux Mint, press the down arrow on your keyboard and select Linux Mint.  Press the Enter key to continue.

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Linux Mint will detect your hardware and set it up.

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It will then finish installing the OS and setting everything up.  This took about 15 minutes in our test.  Once it’s finished, your computer will automatically reboot; remember to select Linux Mint at the boot screen again.

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Getting Started with Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a nice looking Linux distro that makes it easy to get up and running.  It includes popular programs such as Firefox and Pidgin, and supports multimedia codecs and Flash Player directly after installation.

The first time you run it, you can quickly learn your way around Linux Mint from the startup dialog.  This includes links to tutorials, features, and more.

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Linux Mint is very easy for Windows users, as the main Mint menu is quite similar to the Windows 7 Start Menu.  You can search for programs and more directly from the Mint menu, just like in Windows 7 and Vista.

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Mint automatically detected our WiFi network, so we just had to click on the network icon in the system tray and select the network to log on.

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Unfortunately, it didn’t include drivers for our Nvidia graphics card, but when we tried to enable advanced graphics effects, it automatically found and offered to install them.  Click Enable and enter your administrative password, and the drivers will install and let you take full advantage of your hardware.

This works similar to the way you install proprietary drivers in Ubuntu, so you can check out our article on Installing Proprietary Drivers in Ubuntu for more info.

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Linux Mint is easy to use, so have fun and try out what you can do in Linux Mint!

Changing Boot Options

By default, Mint4Win will leave Windows as the default operating system, and will give you 10 seconds at boot to choose to boot into Linux Mint.  To change this, boot into Windows and enter Advanced system settings in your start menu search.

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Here click Settings under Startup and Recovery.

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From this dialog, you can select the default operating system and the time to display list of operating systems.  You can enter a lower number to make the boot screen appear for less time.

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Or, if you’d rather make Linux Mint the default operating system, you can select it from the drop-down menu.

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Uninstall Linux Mint

If you that you don’t want to keep Linux Mint, you can easily uninstall it just like you would any other program installed in Windows.  Open Control Panel, select Uninstall a program, and then browse to the Linux Mint entry.  Click Uninstall/Change in the toolbar.

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Confirm that you want to uninstall Linux Mint.  The uninstall process is very quick, and once it’s finished your computer will be back the same as it was before you started.

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Conclusion

Linux Mint is an easy to use version of Linux that is great for beginners.  If you’re used to using Windows, you may have an easier time finding your way around in Linux Mint than in other distros such as Ubuntu.  Since you can install it just like a normal Windows Program, it’s quick and easy to give it a try and even remove if you don’t like it, and no DVD drive’s required.

If you’d rather try out Ubuntu on your Windows computer, check out our guides on How to Install Ubuntu with the Wubi Installer and how to Install Ubuntu Netbook Remix with the Wubi Installer.

Links

Download Linux Mint

Download VirtualCloneDrive

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 06/24/10

Comments (62)

  1. Dinesh

    Very nice tutorial Matthew. Been using Linux mint 9 ever since it was released. Mint4win is a very nice addition to it.

  2. Gyffes

    I’ve had an interesting — and unpleasant — experience putting Ubuntu (and xubuntu and NBR) on my S10-3 netbook: install has gone great, but in each case, wifi has been disabled. Hard disable. I’ve not yet managed to get it to work.

    Mint, on the other hand, went on beautifully, wifi worked instantly. Only thing not perfect is that the trackpad’s a bit difficult to control, something I expect to be able to fix if/when I get around to hunting down appropriate driver(s).

    Bottom line: Mint guys have out-Ubuntu’d the Ubuntu guys. Well done!

  3. Lisa Munro

    I dual boot Mint 9 and Windows 7. Mint works so well that I find that I now rarely boot into Windows! Viva Mint! :)

  4. Ed

    I don’t get it, why not just use a usb flash memory stick with unetbootin.
    Is there an advantage to using mint4win?
    With unetbootin of course you are not restricted to mint alone, I must add mint is my choice of linux OS , it just keeps getting better and better with each release.

  5. Rino

    or instead use a VM to play with Mint. that way no need to reboot. =)

  6. Matthew Guay

    @Ed – That’s another good way … one advantage of this is you don’t need anything else, just your standard hard drive. Plus, if you install with Mint4Win, you can just “uninstall” Linux Mint from the Windows Control Panel, and it just uses the normal Windows boot loader rather than the Grub loader. But if unetbootin works good for you, then that’s a fine way, too.

  7. InDiSent

    Can this be done with the 64bit version as well?

  8. Matthew Guay

    @InDiSent – This works great on the 64 bit version of Windows, but I actually used the 32 bit version of Linux Mint in the test. That said, I would figure it would work just as good. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  9. InDiSent

    Just installed it on a:
    Dell Vostro 3500
    Windows 7 Pro X64

    Works great…..thanks for the write up.

  10. whiplash55

    WUBI is awesome but even Mint fails when it comes to detecting my drivers on my HP Mini 2140. No wifi and even worse no networking for my Ethernet as well. So I try to get them by downloading them from Broadcom on the WIndows side and I get a Tarz.I can not get a tarball to do anything in Linux, epic fail, why can’t they do a simple installer for this sort of software. Until they get this they will remain a sub 1% and they deserve it, Linux is still half ass.

  11. Jim

    I am using Linux Mint as I type this.
    My install was a little different since I am using Vista, but it was basically the same and seamless. It works like a charm.
    Thanks, I have been looking for a way to do this. I share this computer with other family members who just cannot give up Windows, even with all its headaches.
    Thanks again. It boots fast and doesn’t have any of Windows issues.

  12. Jon

    I normally loathe Gnome based distros. I am a fan of KDE and run openSUSE 11.2 in a VM in VIrtualBox. Surprisingly openSUSE installed everything perfectly in the VM. Even the Guest Additions were installed by default. I just find things easier in openSUSE.

    So because of this article I tossed Mint into a VM as well. I was limited to 800×600 resolution sadly. I had to manually install the VBox Guest Additions. After that I got it running smoothly in the VM. I am impressed with how clean it is. Makes me want to install it on a laptop to see how well it handles.
    Oh, I did have to install 196 updates from the base install. Quite a bit!

  13. John

    Sorry but I cant enjoy linux mint. All I get is a black screen on boot. It just wont go

  14. Eric

    So, if I follow these steps I’ll still have Windows, but be able to use Linux Mint as an option when booting up my pc? I mean, I’m not too sure if I’ll lose windows or something during the process, I’m just a bit paranoid :S

  15. Matthew Guay

    @Eric – Yes, your Windows will be the exact same as before if you try out Linux Mint this way. You will just have the option to boot into Linux Mint when you start your computer. And, if you decide you don’t like it, just reboot into Windows and uninstall Linux Mint from Add/Remove programs. It works great, and lets you keep your Windows safe while trying out something new and interesting :)

  16. John Shelton

    I have Linux Mint 8 on a dedicated computer. I have mixed feelings about it, but would like to try Linux Mint 9 on another machine installed along with with Windows 7 and XP Mode. I would prefer to have the additional features available on the Linux Mint 9 DVD (specifically VLC media player). Can one substitute the live DVD in place of the live CD and all other instructions remain exactly as printed here?

    I POSITIVELY do not want Linux Mint to attempt to make itself the primary OS on the computer. I have tried to dual boot with Windows and Ubuntu previously and wound up with a huge mess requiring a Windows reinstallation because Ubuntu “took over computer ownership”. Above all else, I wish to avoid a similar situation with Linux Mint and Wuby.

  17. John Shelton

    I think I was confusing Wubi and Mint4Win in my previous post. I think I should have used the word “Mint4Win” in place of “Wubi”, however the same question is applicable; can I use the Linux Mint 9 DVD instead of the CD and all other instructions remain applicable?

  18. Matthew Guay

    @John – Yes, as far as I know, the DVD version has the Mint4Win on it as well. Pop in the DVD while you’re booted in Windows, and see if it shows up on the autorun window … it should! Hope it works good :)

  19. Kevin

    After Windows 7, I had no more desire to use Mint or Ubuntu. It may come back one day, I don’t know. I don’t know.

  20. Bilal baloch

    can i install linux mint on my pc without any windows ? is its possible to install it alone on my pc ?

  21. gaty01

    pls help
    i can’t find mint in Uninstall a Program

  22. Matthew Guay

    @Bilal – Yes, you can directly install it on a computer without Windows. Just burn Linux Mint to a CD or DVD on another computer, and then boot that computer with the disk in the DVD drive and install as normal.

  23. tjX

    As always, Great guide! Typing this from ‘Mint now! Thanx a lot!

  24. Naj

    So do I need to back up my data or will I be able to access my information from Linux Mint? I am just being nervous in trying to give it a shot. I use word and powerpoint alot, so do I need to save my school stuff in external hardware or I can just access it on laptop using Linux Mint? thanks.

  25. Matthew Guay

    @Naj – You should be able to access your Windows files from Linux Mint directly; it worked fine in our tests. Otherwise, you could save files to a flash drive or to Dropbox, and access them in Mint.

    As mentioned before, this will not get rid of your Windows installation, so don’t worry about losing files :)

  26. john4uk

    I have installed mint4win in my Dell windows 7 PC,Now the problem is that while booting it says that no root file system ,Please correct it from boot menu.It wont allow me to do anything but to reboot.Please help I am stuck..

  27. randeep

    i have been trying to install mint9 on my notebook have a windows7 as its os. after the installation is completed and the system is rebooted for the first time and when it reaches the screen where it comes as installing systems( getting time from network) it stops in between giving a partition error. please guide to solve the issue.
    regards

  28. john4uk

    Anybody home?Please help me out…:-(

  29. Matthew Guay

    @john4uk – Does your computer still boot into Windows ok? If so, go to Control Panel and try uninstalling Linux Mint. Then reinstall it as per the directions above, and see if it works. Hope this helps, and let us know how it goes!

  30. john4uk

    Yeah it boots into win7 without any issues.Also I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling already twice but throwing th same error.:-( It is so frustrating..

  31. Matthew Guay

    @john4uk – Hmm … I’m not what the problem is. Sorry it isn’t working. You could try installing Ubuntu Linux with Wubi, which works the same way, and see if it works for you. Check out the instructions here – http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/9142/easily-install-ubuntu-linux-with-windows-using-the-wubi-installer/

  32. kalyan

    hey..need help please..
    iv tried installing mint on my win7 os desktop… the mounting of iso and all was fine.. but during the installation phase… the installer abruptly stops and no reboot dialogue box is displayed.
    when i checked the linux mint files were extracted into a desired drive on my hard disk ( in my case drive F) in which there was a folder named intsall and had the same iso from which i installed the linux mint package but just had a different name… on reboot its booting into windows.. i know its sounding complicated..but can anyone help me out?? :(

  33. Boris

    Hi.. connection problem!
    Everything went fine (followed all steps in the tutorial) and internet connection with ethernet cable also but when I tried the wireless connection I couldn’t manage to get one although the notification displays “Connection established”. I mean Firefox and Update Manager couldn’t connect to internet apropos server. Are there settings or anything else that I must change? Wired, I’m connected (notification up right) but nothing works concerning internet.
    Please Matthew help or post a link to similar problem, thanks in advance.

  34. Matthew Guay

    @Boris – Sorry you’re having problems. There are many different wireless network cards, and unfortunately not all of them are supported on Linux. Try searching online for your computer model and see if you can find drivers for it.

  35. Steve

    I’ve had a little play with linux in the past (Red Hat, Ubuntu) always went back to windows.
    Fast forward a few years and thought I’d give mint a try after having problems with windows 7. I’m getting a Black screen after the initial boot screens. First serious problem I’ve had with Linux tried a few solutions, back to windows for me then.

  36. Vicki

    I’m trying to follow this tutorial to install Mint on my laptop with Vista (32 Bit). The installation seems to be going just as you stated until a certain point when I get this error message:

    error

    Invalid Argument

    For more info go to c:\….appdata\local\temp\wubi-9-rev189.log

    Any solutions for this?

    Thanks in advance!

  37. Che

    I am having the same problem as Vicki. I am trying to install Mint on a Dell Mini 1011 with Win XP on it.

  38. Che

    @Vicki – check the integrity of the Linux Mint ISO and verify MD5 hash matches. I downloaded the ISO again and checked the MD5 checksum. After that the installation went on without a hitch.

  39. Louis

    I’ve tried this with Mint Linux KDE and Ubuntu 9.04 – 10.10 (x86 and x64, netbook and desktop versions), and whenever i do the first reboot and get to the OS selection screen, selecting the Linux option shows some text for a split second, too quick to read what it says, then reboots

    I’m running an ASUS x59sr series with Win7 x64

    Any help? I assume its something to do with my laptop, since I’ve even tried redownloading the ISOs from different hosts

  40. Sebastian

    Hello!

    I’m a fan of linux mint, I have it currently working on a usb stick. I recently wanted to install windows as described above. After the restart, the message that the installation ISO in linux mint folder ist missing.
    Please help with my problem.

    Sebastian

  41. Terry

    WoW,

    Very, very nice instructions. Just what I was looking for so I can try out Mint.

    Thank you

  42. Mishkat

    I’ve installed Linux Mint 10 in Windows 7 exactly the same you’ve described. But every time I try to boot Linux Mint it says “Try(hd0,0): EXT2: _” & nothing happens after then. So what can I do? Is there any other methods to install in Windows?

  43. Maggie

    Just installed Linux mint 10 as per instructions but when rebooting I get an error message:
    Gave up waiting for root device boot args(cat/proc/cmdlme)
    Check root delay (did the system wait long enough) Check root (did the system wait for the right device) missing modules (cat/proc/nodules ls/dev)
    ALERT/dev/Sda3 does not exist dropping to a shell!
    Can anyone help please?

  44. Michael A

    Im having issues getting Wifi connected with this. I tried to install Linux Ubuntu and Wifi was disabled and I uninstalled that and tried Mint and STILL wifi is disabled. And I cant figure out how to get it to work. My ethernet connection works find. Im a newbie and this is my first attempt at Linux so Im stumbling in the dark, trying to Google answers. Anyone get this issue fixed?

    I have a Asus 1005HAB net book.

  45. frank Duffey

    I was wondering if it might be easier to run this version than Ubuntu I am having problems setting up my wi fi network on there and if there is no internet then its no good So do I uninstall Ubuntu or can I run both on Windows 7? I really ;like Ubuntu but I cant seem to get past the Internet wi fi setup I put the SSDI and Other info in there but bit does not connect I think it has to do with the network In have AT & T DSL on my system I have no problems running it with Windows 7??

  46. Gilles

    Great instruction and comments.
    I have Windows 7 x86. Could I install Linux Mint x64 on the same PC?

  47. Dean

    Very good tutorial
    I have one question: does it make your hard drive run slow?

  48. Matt brown

    So, i Have a question, I have an aspire one netbook that is in need of a wipe i’d like to install the newest version of mint onto it but being as its a netbook i lack the cd/dvd drive would there be any way to install mint to the netbook and have it wipe windows starter from the HD? And if so what programs/hardware would i need to accomplish this task?

  49. Matt Brown

    Okay well i’ve figured out a method and answered my own question for the sake of others in search of what i was looking for , that is to install linux mint to a netbook through a usb thumb drive. First download the 32 or 64 bit OS you’d like and then get a program called unetbooten, you can find it here
    http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

    Then after you have those two things the rest is pretty straight forward in terms of installing the live os onto the usb and then booting into it like normal.

  50. Comme Fries~

    does this tutorial apply to all version of Linux mint like KDE LMDE XFCE & LXDE?

  51. Brian

    The installer went fine until this point. Finishing Linux Mint Setup

    When your computer reboots, you’ll notice a new screen showing options for Windows and Linux Mint. Windows will load by default, but to finish setting up Linux Mint, press the down arrow on your keyboard and select Linux Mint. Press the Enter key to continue.

    When I press the down arrow, nothing happens! keyboard seems dead!

  52. Jenna

    My laptop suddenly decided that my windows key is not valid. I would like to reformat the hard drive and install a Linux based OS by itself..is this possible?

  53. himu

    great work…lot of thanks for this tips…simple bt very essential to me bcoz my dvd drive has gone already..keep rocking with linux mint.

  54. trip

    i followed this tutorial almost exactly (i installed the 64 bit dvd version instead of the one mentioned). it booted once and seemed to install it correctly but now i get a message saying “Alert! /host/linuxmint/disks/root.disk does not exist dropping to shell”. i have vista home basic 32 bit. how do i get it to work?

  55. Philip

    I followed this tutorial to install Mint 11 alongside Windows XP on an old laptop. Had to make a few deviations to accomodate the differences for XP, but basically it worked fine, thanks a lot. I could never have done it on my own which is why I’ve looked at Linux several times in the past but always gone back to windows.

    However I do have one problem…it hasn’t automatically found my wireless network, which is working fine with XP.
    I’ve tried entering the network details manually but still nothing, although I could have made a mistake somewhere in that minefield!

    Any suggestions?

  56. Sanele

    How do i run my Windows 7 applications on linux mint

  57. Kevin

    I am having the same problem as john4uk. Tryinng to install on XP machine, boots initial setup screen, then gives the error “no root file system: please correct this in the partition manager”. I thought installing this way was the way to avoid having a partition. Any ideas?

  58. Jakub

    I would like to know if installing with wubi instead of using an installation DVD makes installed Linux Mint any different. I mean – it isn’t really a Windows app, right? It is just listed as an app so you can remove it from your computer easily…? Because I’m curious if using this version doesn’t drain more energy from laptop battery, slows your hard drive or something like that..

  59. Rajesh

    This is one of the several wonderful tutorials I have ever came across. This should be the way to help community and newbie.

    Thank you very much

  60. Aj Martin

    I am currently running Windows XP 32 bit. (It’s funny, I know.) Will this process work for such an OS as mine?

  61. toad

    Hey Matt, can you fix this??

    Wouild be awesum, if only it worked.
    As of this date (10-18-2011), there is no “Live CD” option on the download sites.
    Only 32 bit or 64 bit flavours.
    Thereafter, the downloaded ISO does not have a “Mint4Win” file in its root.
    There is a Mint4win file in the .disk folder; but it isn’t windows executable.

  62. rahul

    what is the site of free download lime x mint

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