Mint, Tutorials/Tips

How to dual-boot Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon/MATE and Windows 7

Back to Advanced Partitioning Tool window, you can see the space that you just recovered from Windows 7 listed as free space. That free space is what will be used for creating Linux Mint 13 partitions. To start creating the partitions, select the free space as shown in this image and click Add. Note: This step will have to be repeated for every partition that you need to create.
Linux Mint 13 Advanced Partition

You have seen this window before, but this time, you will be doing a little bit more on it, or to it. You already know that for this tutorial, four partitions will be created for Linux Mint 13. Be default, the installer will attempt to create the first and subsequent partitions as Logical partitions. You can stick with the default, or make the first Linux Mint 13 partition a Primary partition. For this tutorial, I chose to create the first partition, which will be the boot partition, as Primary. If the terms being used here are foreign to you, please take a moment to read guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux, if you have not done so already.
Linux Mint 13 Resize Partition Window

For the boot partition, you can specify the values and options shown on this image. If you are tight on disk space, you can go much lower than 500 MB for the size, but be sure to use /boot as the Mount point and leave the Use as value unchanged. OK.
Linux Mint 13 Create Boot Partition

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For the root partition, the minimum disk space recommended is 5.2 GB, so any value higher than that should be enough. Since resizing the disk on a running system is not an easy task, be generous here. For this test installation, I gave it 20,000 MB, or 20 GB. OK.
Linux Mint 13 Create Root Partition

The partition mounted at /home should be allocated most of the available disk space. If you were generous with disk space allocation to the root partition, be very, very, generous here. Depending on how you use the computer, this could fill up quickly. Leave the file system at the default and use /home as the Mount point. OK.
Linux Mint 13 Create Home Partition

The last partition will be for Swap, disk space that the system may use as virtual memory. Select swap area from the Use as dropdown menu, and assign it a suitable disk space. For most systems, 4 GB should be more than enough. OK.
Linux Mint 13 Create Swap Partition

Back to the main Advanced Partitioning Tool window, you should see the partitions you just created. If you followed the partitioning scheme used for this tutorial to the letter, the partitions should be listed as sda3, sda5, sda6 and sda7. Not visible on this screen shot, are the pre-existing Windows 7 partitions, which are sda1 and sda2.

The final task that must be completed at this step before clicking Install Now, is to select the Device for boot loader installation. By default, it is sda or to be exact, the MBR of sda. You need to change that to sda3, which corresponds to the boot partition that you just created.
Linux Mint 13 Boot Loader Device

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This is what the Device for boot loader installation dropdown menu should look like before you click Install Now.
Linux Mint 13 Boot Loader Device Installation

After installation has completed successfully, the computer should reboot into Windows 7. Before Windows reboots, it will start checking the resized C drive for consistency. Let the check complete. After the check has completed, login. Since there is no way to boot into Linux Mint 13 until an entry for it is added to Windows 7’s boot menu, the next task is to download and install EasyBCD from here. After EasyBCD has been installed, start it. The main window is shown below. Click on Add New Entry tab.

While there, click on the Linux/BSD tab, then select GRUB 2 from the Type dropdown menu. GRUB 2, not GRUB Legacy, is the version of GRUB used by Linux Mint 13. Edit the Name field to match the distribution you are adding it for. Apply the changes by clicking the Add Entry button. Click on the Edit Boot Menu tab.
EasyBCD Add Linux Mint GRUB 2

You should see how the entries will appear on the boot menu. Exit EasyBCD and restart the computer. Good or bad, let me know how you fared with this tutorial.
EasyBCD Windows Boot Menu

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  1. jerry leigh

    I just installed a dual boot of Linux 13 Maya and Win7 Pro on an IBM R51 laptop (an antique). I followed the tutorial as exactly as I could and it works! I am amazed at how clear and precise the tutorial is. It is excellent!
    Thanks much,
    Jerry Leigh

  2. the only thing i see after install is the windows boot loader

  3. It works! It works! After several trials and hours in reading and testing finally I do installed it correctly with working bootloader! Thank so so much for the tutorial! However now when I choose the linux distribution in the bootloader it loads the Grub bootloder I have to choose again. How I can remove one of the loaders and have only one?
    Thank you very very much again!

    • From Mint, open a treminal and type sudoedit /etc/default/grub. In the upper part of the file, look for the GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 line. Change it to GRUB_TIMEOUT=0.

      Close the file properly, then type update-grub. That should do it.

  4. Vittorio Belloni

    One of the best tutorials I have even read.

    The result was a seamless installation.

    Thank you very much

    Vittorio Belloni

  5. I followed those steps and got an error:

    cannot find /NST/Aurogrub.mbr

    Using easy BCDEdit 2.2

    I even turned off UEFI in BIOS too.

    Linux lists but the computer will not find it nor boot.

    Also, easy BCDEdit lists up to ext3. The version of linux Mint 13, 64 bit, KDE uses ext4.

    Trying a workaround.

    Using WUBI.exe and going to install Kbuntu.
    If it works I should be able to overwrite Kubuntu and replace it with Mint 13.

    Theoretically all I should have to do is edit the bootloader in Windows and everything should work fine.

    If not, I am screwed. Getting a new SSD drive for christmas and wanted to dual boot win7 and Mint 13.

    So, the only other ways to do it is to install linux on an external drive and switch at startup, thereby defeating the purpose of dual booting.

    On another site I read another workaround was to install /boot for linux on a flash drive and the / on the windows drive. Insert the USB with /boot on it and it should boot into linux on startup.

    A royal pain that way but might work for people like me.

    Still experimenting here.

  6. works great, thanks!!

  7. Thanks for the guide, a great resource for those wanting to dual boot and not mess up the mbr.
    I have run into a problem though. I followed all the steps with some changes (no /swap as I have 8GB RAM so thought I wouldn’t need it and no /home as all files are stored on a nas) and everything worked until I try to boot into Linux Mint 15 and get the Grub prompt.
    Have I missed something or do I have to do anything to link grub on /boot with the os on / ?
    EasyBCD was set up as in your guide with the device set to auto detect. Going back in to edit this shows that it is set to look in c:/ but also gives the option of d:/ or boot. Should I change this to boot?
    My pc has a single 256GB SSD, which I partitioned to 200GB for win7, 500MB for /boot and the remainder for / to install linux mint.
    Windows still loads fine.

  8. Works perfectly. Thank you!

  9. Followed this step-by-step and it worked wonderfully. Thanks!

  10. Hello, I was wondering if you could help a noob to linux! I followed your guide and everything went well, right up to the point of doing EasyBCD and dual booting. I get the option of Windows 7 or Mint 15, but when I boot to mint 15 I get a Grub command line, and from here I am lost! What could cause this issue?

    • Tell us a little bit more about your disk. The size of the partitions, what type of PC you have, etc

      • Sure…

        My setup is this:

        Toshiba Satellite C655
        Internal drive: Toshiba 640gb
        External: Seagate Backup Plus 1tb (which I cleaned, removed all the Seagate software.

        Of course I’d made a good DVD installation disk for Maya (Mint 13), booted from it and when it came to partitioning part of the install, I chose to partition the clean external drive:

        /boot: 500 mb
        / : 20gb
        /home: 400gb
        swap: 4gb

        This left about half the 1tb external “unallocated”. Worked fine, Maya installed. After I then rebooted from the external usb drive, and voila! Maya was there, working fine.

        The only step I then needed to add to your fine instructions was to download and used Gparted to change the large unallocated space to “ntfs” so that both drives – the internal Windows and external Mint could both access the external ntfs partition, very handy.

        Thanks again.

        • You don’t need to use GParted. Mint has a system utility called Disks that you can use for that operation. Search for it in the menu.

          And note that installing to an external drive is, technically, not dual-booting.

          My experience has been that it is better to create the common NTFS partition from inside Windows, but if you can create it using Mint’s Disks and it works, then that’s fine too.

          • My Mint 13 doesn’t have a “Disks” utility via the menu search, so I was forced to download Gparted and it can partition and define both drives (internal and external) easily.

            Although I can use the Window’s partitioning tools from the Win 7 enviroment, I found that Gparted used from a linux boot to be much easier for manipulating all drives.

            As far as the “true” or “technical” definition you propose, with “dual booting” meaning only from a single drive, although I’m aware some of us use that informal definition, I’ve seen just as many who do not.

            The more general definition seems to be being able to boot to one of two OS’s (the “dual” part), not simultaneously, from the same machine (whether from the same drive or not). On a single drive the choice is made from the MBR, on a dual drive setup the choice is make through the F12 (or equivalent) menu.

            Much ado… but would ask why you prefer the NTFS partition on the Window’s drive in my situation (two drives)?

            Actually, I plan to create another NTFS in the internal (Windows) drive, so that I will have an empty NTFS partition on both drives. This way I can backup the Windows internal to the Linux Mint external and vice versa, on the theory that both drives are highly unlikely to fail simultaneously (tho anything is possible).

            You takes yer chances…

          • The NTFS partition does not have to be on the Windows drive. I just said it is better to create it using the Windows partitioning tool, because the last few times I created one from a Linux distribution, Windows could not write to it.

            If an external drive is involved in this type of setup, then I wouldn’t consider it dual-booting. That’s the other point I’m trying to make.

  11. I modified these great instructions to install Mint 13 on a USB external drive. Since my laptop internal is 500gb, and the external is 1tb, I decided to install Mint 13 on the external as a dual boot using F12, but keeping both OS’s and drives entirely separate, save for a shared NTFS partition on the external. Before starting I made sure the drive was clean and formatted for Windows, and connected to my laptop.

    Booted from a Mint 13 iso in DVD drive, connected to internet and started “install”, then “something else” and went into Advanced Partition.

    First task: highlighted external drive (sdb for me) then deleted all existing partitions to end up with one big “free space”. I then followed the instructions to add boot (500mb), root (20gb), home (half the remaining free space)and swap (4gb) partitions, I was made sure grub boot would be installed to the external (sdb), then installed.

    After all was done I rebooted from the internal Windows, and then using F12 from the external to make sure both worked. Grub was on the external as intended. Only issue: Although the Linux boot was able to “see” the internal Windows drive, the Windows boot could not see the “free space”.

    I then booted in Linux, installed Gparted and took a look: the remaining external free space showed as “unallocated” so I then changed it to a primary “ntfs” partition.

    Result: both drives and OS’s can now see and write to the external NTFS. I have a dual boot Mint 13/Win7 laptop with both systems safe from one another but able to share the external NTFS partition as needed. A good start, thanks for the guide…

  12. Excellent – worked first time. Thanks!

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