Linux Mint is arguably the best Linux distro around and I recommend it above any other operating system out there. It provides you with one of the best out-of-the-box experience with an awesome selection of software, packages, and media plugins. But what if you have to run it along Windows 10 because of that one software that is not available for Linux? Well, I got you covered.
Dual booting Linux Mint and Windows 10 will provide you the best of both worlds without having to sacrifice any performance from running either of them virtually.
Before we start, there are a few things we need to do first. These things will ensure that we have a smooth process and also provide us with a fallback in case something goes wrong.
1. Install Windows 10
The first thing is making sure we have our Windows 10 system already up and running. If you do not have Windows 10 already running, I recommend that you install Windows 10 first because Linux Mint plays way nicer with a Windows installation than the other way round.
2. Backup Your Data.
The second thing is backing up your data especially if you have been using Windows 10 for a while.
Even though the process is pretty straightforward and harmless, there is a possibility for something to go wrong so having a backup of your files will ensure you do not lose anything if something does go wrong. So backup your files to an external drive.
3. Have a Windows recovery CD/DVD available
Also, if something does go wrong, you may need to reinstall your Windows OS again. Microsoft does provide a tool to download and make a bootable drive. You may also use the recovery partition most OEMs.
Download Linux Mint 18.2
It is available in a couple of flavors including Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, and XFCE for you choose from. If you are not sure what to go with, I recommend either Cinnamon or MATE editions as they make Linux Mint shine best. Make sure you download the 64-bit architecture unless your computer is unable to run a 64 bit OS.
Make a bootable USB or disc of the ISO
Make a bootable USB or disc of the Linux MINT ISO you have downloaded. I recommend you can use the Rufus tool on windows to write to a USB or any other disc burning tool to write to disc.
Create Space for the Linux Mint installation
You can prepare your disk by making available a free partition for Linux Mint. You may use the Disk management tool on Windows to do this or employ a third party app such as Paragon Partition Manager or EaseUS Partition Manager. You need at least 20GB of free space is recommended. Or you can forgo this step and create your partition during the installation process.
Reboot your PC and boot into live USB or disc.
Now that you have your bootable USB or disc ready, go ahead and boot your system from the USB or disc. Be on the lookout for the special key(usually F2, F8, F10 or F12 depending on your hardware provider) that will let you boot from the drive. Once the drive boots up, you can select “Start Linux Mint” to boot into the live mode of Mint.
Start the Installation
You can begin the installation by running “Install Linux Mint” from the icon on the desktop. In the screens that will follow, you will be required to select your language, choose to install third-party software for graphics and media, and then a checkup to ensure that you have enough disk space and that you are plugged in.
If you created a partition already go ahead and choose “Install alongside Windows 10”. The installer will then set up your partitions automatically.
You will be required to confirm your changes before continuing with the installation.
If you did not, choose “Something else”. Select the partition you want to resize and enter the Size in GB and then press Enter to shrink your existing partition. Remember you need at least 15GB of space for Linux Mint and then another 4-8GB for SWAP. Make sure you set the mount point appropriately as shown in the image below.
Continue and then finish your Mint Installation
After setting up your disk, you are on the home run.
You will now select details such as location, keyboard layout, and your user account information.
As part of the installation, the installer will look for any previously installed operating systems and hence will discover your existing Windows 10 setup. It will thus add Windows 10 as a boot menu option. Upon boot up, you will be presented with the option to select your OS of choice whether Linux Mint or Windows 10.
Restart your PC and remove your installation media.
PCs with UEFI firmware
New computers especially ones that ship with Windows 8 or 10 ships with a modern UEFI firmware in place of the older BIOS so your system will continue to boot into Windows and not your Grub menu. You can press a special key (F2, F8, F10 or F12) depending on your hardware provider will provide you with a menu from which you can select your choice of distro. To make the change permanent, you will need to enter into UEFI settings and select Linux Mint as your default under boot options.
There you go. You now have a dual boot setup of Windows 10 and Linux Mint. If you have questions, suggestions or a word of thanks, feel free to drop a comment. Feel free to ask questions or share your thoughts with us.