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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Last edited 12/20/2011

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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From: Slopoke at: 2012-01-24 20:02:57

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.  

From: Anonymous at: 2012-02-02 04:32:51

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?

From: this is what i did at: 2012-02-12 00:54:14

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.

From: Stephen Green at: 2012-01-24 21:27:50

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 ..

From: rijnsma at: 2012-01-27 10:44:26

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

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

From: Anonymous at: 2012-01-26 00:19:03

Since Mint is derived from Ubuntu newbies could use Startup Manager to make the mentioned changed with GUI easily. Startup Manager could be found in software center.

From: Dave at: 2012-01-27 12:56:32

I was wondering if this still works if Windows 7 is installed on an UEFI system with a GPT disk

From: Anonymous at: 2012-05-27 16:01:30

mate, this way to edit the GRUB file is wrong!

just go to "/etc/default/grub" and change the constants there, so ur OS dont get anny inconsistency...

From: NikHoxha at: 2012-08-25 13:30:50

Worked great for me! :)

From: Jamil at: 2013-06-24 12:55:49

The above method is not a good way of doing this. The best way to this is described in Grub2 tutorial at "http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub-2.html". Read it thoroughly if you want to be advanced user of grub2 but if you only want to change the boot order here is how I did this. I had my window 7 in C and then installed Linux Mint 15 and there was no Windows 7 loader.
1. type in terminal "sudo update-grub". It will get the windows 7 bootloader in the boot menu of linux mint during.
2. Now suppose I want window 7 to boot first. In the /etc/grub.d directory there will be different files starting with numbers (i.e. 00_header, 10_linux, 30_os-prober (window 7 loader) etc). The principal is simple, 10_linux will boot first as its number is less then 30_os-prober. Rename the file 30_os-prober to 09_os-prober. You will not be able to rename it directly. Enter following commands in the terminal to rename it.
sudo mv /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober /etc/grub.d/09_os-prober
sudo update-grub
3. Now restart your computer and window 7 will boot first by default.

The grub.cfg reads from grub.d folder.

 If you have problem, add your comment.

From: Ramón B. at: 2013-10-23 18:13:49