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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