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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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”.

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.

Now you can click on the install now button.

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

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.

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.

Profile Photo for Taylor Gibb Taylor Gibb
Taylor Gibb is a professional software developer with nearly a decade of experience. He served as Microsoft Regional Director in South Africa for two years and has received multiple Microsoft MVP (Most Valued Professional) awards. He currently works in R&D at Derivco International.
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