How To Dual Boot Linux Mint And Windows 10 [Beginner’s Guide]

Complete guide to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10

Brief: This guide shows you how to dual boot Linux Mint with Windows 10 and enjoy both Linux and Windows together in one system.

So you have decided to switch to Linux. Good decision! And if you chose to use Linux Mint, that’s even a better decision.

Linux Mint is one of the best Linux distributions for beginners. Using Linux Mint is fairly easy and installing Linux Mint is no rocket science either. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to install Linux Mint along side Windows 10.

Before that let me recap you a few things about installing Linux Mint. There are a few ways you can start using any Linux based operating system.

  • Use Linux inside Windows in a virtual machine: This runs a Linux OS like any other application within Windows. This is also one of the safest ways to get a feel of Linux. However, this will utilize your system resources and if you have less than 4Gb of RAM, I won’t advise using it extensively.
  • Use a live version of Linux: In this method, you put Linux on a USB or DVD and you boot from it. This is usually slow and your changes done to the Linux system are (normally) not saved. This is particularly useful if you just want to see what Linux feels like.
  • Remove WIndows and Linux: If you have backed up your data and have a recovery or installation disk of Windows ready with you or if you are determined that you are not going back to Windows, you can remove Windows completely and use only Linux.
  • Install Linux alongside Windows: This method is called dual booting Linux with Windows. Here, you install Linux on a system that already has Windows. And when your system powers up, you can choose if you want to use Windows or Linux. This involves touching the disk partition and sometimes boot order. Absolute beginners often find it complicated but this is the best way to use Linux and Windows together in one system. And in this article, we’ll see how to dual boot Linux Mint with Windows 10.
With dual boot you can select if you have to use Windows or Linux
Dual Boot allows you to select between using Windows and Linux at boot time

Will dual booting Linux with Windows slow down your system?

I was asked this question several times in the Linux Users Group. So, the short answer is no. Dual booting Linux and Windows won’t slow your system in any way.

The only delay is in boot time that too because you get 10 seconds of buffer time to select between Linux and Windows. Once you have booted into either of Linux or Windows, it will work the same as if it is the only OS in the system. No impact on the usability of your system. Dual boot won’t slow down your system.

Install Linux Mint in dual boot with Windows:

Before we proceed to see the procedure to dual boot Linux Mint with Windows, let me give you some optional yet recommended safety instructions:

  • Back up your data: You are going to touch disk partitions. Normally, it’s not a big issue but just in case if you touched wrong partition etc, you may lose data. So my advice is to back up your important files, documents, music, movies etc to an external disk or cloud, whichever suits you.
  • Have a boot repair disk: If your boot gets messed up, you can try to repair it with boot repair disk. If you have an extra USB or CD, you can use that to create boot repair disk.
  • Have a live or recovery disk of Windows ready: If your boot gets messed up and despite all efforts, you ended with an unbootable system, you can use the Windows disk to reinstall Windows.

I am not discouraging you. I am asking you to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Remember that this article applies to computers that have Windows 10 already installed on the system. You are installing Linux Mint on an already installed Windows system, not the other way round.

I have created a detailed video tutorial on installing Linux Mint alongside Windows 10. You can refer to it if you want to see all the steps in even more details. I also advise you to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux tutorials.

Follow the steps below to install Linux Mint in dual boot with Windows:

Step 1: Create a live USB or disk

Go to Linux Mint website and download ISO file. This ISO file is the disk image that you can burn to a USB or DVD. 

Download Linux Mint 

Once you have downloaded the Linux Mint ISO, you need a tool to write the image to a disk. I recommend using a free tool called Universal USB Installer in Windows:

Download Universal USB Installer

It’s an executable exe file. Just double click on it to run the software and browse it to the ISO. Make sure that you have your USB key plugged in:

Create live USB of Linux Mint in Windows

If you need more hints, here is a screenshot tutorial on how to create a live USB for Linux.

Step 2: Make a new partition for Linux Mint

This is where you have to be cautious. If you have multiple partitions (not the recovery ones), you can either use one of them or create a new partition from an existing partition. Your existing data will be safe if you have enough free space. Typically, you install Linux in under 10 Gb, however, if disk space if not a concern, I advise using 30-40Gb at least. This way you can have more space at your disposal for downloading and keeping various files.

In Windows 10, go to start menu and type ‘partition’. This will bring up Disk Management utility.  Now carefully select the disk in which you’ll make some free space by shrinking the volume:

Create disk partition to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10

In my case, I only had the C Drive with 223Gb of space on it. So I shrunk it to make 110Gb of free partition on it. I recommend watch the video to see the exact steps you need more hint.

Step 3: Boot in to live USB

Plug the live USB or disk into the computer and restart the computer. While booting the computer press F10 or F12 function key (defers from computer to computer) to go to the boot menu. Now, choose the option to boot from USB or Removable Media.

Important Note: If your computer came with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 and you upgraded your system to Windows 10, you may have to disable secure boot. Most modern system with Windows 10 should not need this step, especially with Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

Step 4: Start the installation

It takes some time to boot from the live USB or disk. Have some patience. Once it boots in to live disk, you’ll be provided to Try Linux Mint or Install Linux Mint. Even if you choose to try it, you can find the install option on the desktop:

Linux Mint Installation in dual boot with Windows

In next few screens, you’ll be asked to choose the language of the operating system. It will then do some checks on available space, battery and Internet connection.

Linux-Mint-Installation-2

Linux-Mint-Installation-3

Step 5: Prepare the partition

This is the most important part of the whole installation. Where to install Linux Mint? As mentioned before, I prefer separate partitions for Windows and Linux. Windows is already installed here, we’ll prepare a new partition for Linux Mint. In the Installation Type window, choose Something Else:

Linux-Mint-Installation-4

 

Step 6: Create root, swap and home

Since you already created a new partition in Windows, it’s time to install Linux Mint on it. Now, there are several ways to do it. But here, I’ll show you my favorite way and that is to have a Root, a Swap and a Home.

Create a root partition first. Choose the free space available and click on +.

Linux-Mint-Installation-6

Here, choose the size of the root (10 GB is enough but I chose to have 20 here), choose ext4 file system, and mount point as / (i.e. root):

Install Linux Mint with Windows

Now, next is to create the swap partition. It is advised by many that Swap should be double of your RAM. You can choose the swap size accordingly.

Linux-Mint-Installation-8

The next step is to create Home. Try to allocate the maximum size to Home because this is where you’ll be downloading and keeping the files.

Linux-Mint-Installation-9

Once you have created Root, Swap and Home partitions, click on Install Now button.

Linux-Mint-Installation-10

Step 7: Follow the trivial instructions

Technically, you have crossed the main hurdle if you react till this point successfully. Now you will be taken through a number of screens to select options like keyboard layout, login credentials etc. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out what to do here afterward. I have attached screenshots for reference purpose here.

Linux-Mint-Installation-11

Linux-Mint-Installation-12

Linux-Mint-Installation-13

Linux-Mint-Installation-14

Once the installation is over, you will be presented with the option to keep trying live version or to restart the system.

Linux-Mint-Installation-15

And that would be it. On next boot, you will see the option of Linux Mint on the grub screen. And thus you can enjoy the beautiful and beginner-friendly Linux distribution. I hope you found this guide to Linux Mint dual boot with Windows helpful. 

Here are a few common troubleshoot you might have to do after dual booting Linux Mint:

I strongly advise you to read things to do after installing Linux Mint so that you can have a good start.

If you want to remove, you can follow this guide to uninstall Linux Mint from Windows 8 dual boot.

If you have questions, suggestions or a word of thanks, feel free to drop a comment. Stay tuned for more Linux Mint tutorials. Ciao :)

Comments

  1. Well it all worked out fine except although the Windows side worked fine on my external monitor, on the latest Mate I got no signal into the monitor though it clearly was connected. So I used the same procedure to burn an early version of Xubuntu 12.04 and started installing it instead of the fancy new mate Suddenly before I’d filled in my name and password page I realised that the sytem was installing. I shut off the computer, restarted and saw that the damage had been done. Grub no longer gave me a choice of firing up the windows side.. So I proceeded to fully install Xubuntu 12.04. Once installed I rebooted and then found that I could not reach the OS until it had undergone over 4 hours of updating. It is now installed. There is no choice to use the Windows side. Is there any way that I can recover my windows partition? It was 500 GB big. The Xubuntu is the same size I think.

  2. I have win 7 installed in my pc. And having 3 partition of harddrive.. c drive have 190 gb space i shrink it and have 50 gb unlocated for linux mint.
    But on installation its not showing that 50 gb partition…please help

  3. hi,
    when i plug in my usb stick with linux mint installed with usb universal installer it would not let me start linux and said that a file might be corrupted and somthing like what was the name of it or something, it was a black screen.I have done up to step 3 because i could do no further because linux is not starting please could somebody help me.

  4. Hi Abhishek! Excellent guide. Do you know how to fix the tiny display issues created by having a high resolution display? I have a 4K display, and every time I install linux, I face this issue. Thanks in advance

    Mike

  5. I used unetbootin to install Linux mint alongside win 7 – selecting an external hard drive to install. I had the option of repartitioning the external drive on installation. All seems to work well. However, on reboot , Linux does not recall settings ( e.e Firefox homepage, modem password, etc ) Is this simply a live install and not a full install – just happens to be on a hard drive ? If so, is it possible to change to a full install ? Is it possible to have a full install alongside windows ?

    thanks
    paul

  6. Hello Thanks for enough details to install correctly. I am new to Linux, have avoided it because I dislike typing commands and thought this graphical interface would allow me to avoid MSWindows. Well I went to install a program I need for my business and guess what – I have to learn a bunch of commands and mess with the install and search and search – Giant Fail. I went back to Windows and clicked on the same program installer, and was up and running in minutes. I will permanently disregard anything “Linux”. Thanks for nothing!

  7. Excellent video, thank you. Please do make more especially for New users to mint. If I could suggest a video on how to work with tarballs to get them to a deb so they can be installed?

      • hi abhishek i want to learn linux administration how to start and please tell what are the basic softwares needed to be installed on linux mint after installation of os for a network admin and linux system admin.please provide me something in pdf or word

      • hi abhishek i want to learn linux administration how to start and please tell what are the basic softwares needed to be installed on linux mint after installation of os for a network admin and linux system admin.please my email id is ([email protected])

  8. i have followed and done every step with a full care. But my installation stops(hangs) at INSTALLING GRUB_2 give me suggestion.

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