Dualbooting Windows 7 And Linux Mint 12

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Author: Christian Schmalfeld <c [dot] schmalfeld [at] projekfarm [dot] de>
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Dualbooting means having installed two operating systems on one hard disk and being able to boot from any of them. This tutorial will explain how to install Linux Mint 12 alongside Windows 7 - the procedure however should be the same for all Ubuntu based distributions and only slightly different for every other.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

Installing multiple operating systems involves the partitioning of your hard disks (each operating system needs its own partition, a seperate part of the hard disk) - this can cause damage or file loss if you do not know what you are doing. Therefore back up the files of the existing operating system on an external medium before you proceed with partitioning.


2 Freeing Hard Disk Space

If you want to install both operating systems on one hard disk, you need to partition it first. Most likely your Windows 7 installation will take up all space on your disk by default and even if not all of this space is used, it still is assigned to the Windows OS. Therefore you first have to shrink the extent of Windows on your HDD. Enter partitions into the Windows 7 search bar and open the Create and format hard disk partitions tool:

The entries you will be shown in the Volume column are your hard disks' partitions. By default, your computer's hard disk is either one big partition or it is already divided into two parts, one smaller boot/system partition and one file partition. In my case I have one big file partition and a much smaller boot partition. If your main partition still has enough Free Space left, it is possible to shrink it and install another operating system on the hard disk. To do that, right-click it and select Shrink Volume...:

You will have to wait a short time for your system to scan the disk for the possible amount to shrink:

Afterwards you will be shown a menu where you can give the size of the space that shall be made unallocated, this is the space that will be available for your second operating system afterwards. Click on Shrink to initiate the process:

After shrinking, the graphical view of the hard disk's partitions will have changed and you will see the unallocated space on it. You could now create a new partition by right-clicking the space and clicking New Simple Volume..., but in case of installing a Linux system it is recommended to let the OS installer do the formatting because of the correct file system format. Therefore, it is now time to insert your installation medium and install your second operating system.

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8 Comment(s)

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By: Slopoke

I agree with letting the OS installer do the formatting etc.  Rather than try to understand that windows shrinking episode;  if you aren't concerned with home parts. etc and just want Mint and windows dual boot, it is a lot easier to just click "install along-side windows" and let the installer do it all.  Later  you can use the linux partition tool (Gparted) to set up other partitions or free space, orrr, shrink partitions if you wish.  This way Linux will set up swap space, make a windows recovery option in the Grub page, and Linux recovery.  I've always had 99.9% luck letting Linux do the work.  

By: Anonymous

i have multiple hard drives. can i create a partition on one of the other hard drives, install Mint there and still use dual boot?

By: this is what i did

yes you can, what i did was. I disconnected all my hdd exept for the one i wanted mint on, installed mint on that drive once mint was installed and rebooted updated all the packages installed graphics drivers and anything else i would need and use, i shut down the pc unplugged the drive mint is on and plugged back in my windows drive and booted up, to make sure windows started fine. then shut down plugged back in the drive with mint on it leaving all the other drives plugged in, booted back up into the bios and told the system to boot off the drive i have windows on. restarted the machine and windows boot fine, restarted and my motherboard allows for me to choose a boot device by pressing f11  yours may not i don't know, but if it does you just choose wich drive you want to boot from and it should boot fine. this worked for me maybe it will work for you aswell. The reason i did it this way was i did not want mint on my windows drive just in case something went wrong with the install. if windows boot loader gets corrupted you can fix it if you have the windows installation or recover cd by booting up the recovery or installation cd and openting up the cmd promt and typing "bootrec/fixmbr" then press enter and type "bootrec/fix boot" press enter and then restart. the machine.

By: Stephen Green

Good article as far as it goes. If win 7 is installed on certain laptops you'll not be successful. The graphics card installed that use 1360x768 won't be recognized by any new Linux distro. I know this because this laptop (Acer) useas this cheapo setup and modern Linux's don't work ..

By: rijnsma

It is time to use a computer for Windows and another computer for Linux.

Think of the UEFI & MS Secure Boot story... :shock:

By: Rick

wait until you want to flash the bios on the linux computer. It unravels if the mobo manufacturer does not like linux and only makes updates available via Windoze

By: Dilawar

Thanku for sharing.

By: Mike

Well I tried that using:



logged on as administrator

sudo nano........grub.cfg

file came up, changed 0 to a 4

could not save or get out of terminal using exit

so - what is the rest of the procedure?