If you have multiple operating systems (OS) installed on your computer, you can reboot from one to the other. This allows you to use the best app for the job you do. For what reasons might you want to install multiple operating systems on one computer? Each OS has its own advantages and uses.
If you are using any of the programs listed below, you may need to have a version of Windows running on your computer, even if you prefer and use Linux for other functions. This article will help you dual boot Linux Mint and Windows on the same PC.
Windows Software vs. Linux
Not all Windows and applications run on Linux, for example:
- Final Cut Pro
- Adobe Photoshop
- 7- Zip
- Microsoft Office
In some cases Linux offers a workaround called Wine (Windows emulator). However, it is often unreliable, contains bugs, and does not always work.
Game developers can use Linux or Windows. 90% of game buyers prefer to use Windows because more games are developed for Windows.
Comparison between Windows 7 and Windows 10
Why might you need to have two versions of Windows on your computer?
Upgrading to the latest version of Windows may seem obvious. However, there are many differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10, due to which you might want to install both on your computer.
Windows Media Center (WMC)
Windows 7 users use Windows Media Center. Microsoft has released an updated version of WMC, but it is not included in Windows 10.
Gaming & Compatibility
Popular apps like Google Chrome, Stream, Photoshop and other major apps will continue to work correctly on Windows 10.
However, there are some programs, proprietary software and third-party applications that work better on Windows 7, including POS software and label printing.
Windows 10 does not include Microsoft’s free games like Chess Titans, Minesweeper, and Solitaire, without displaying ads. If you love to play these games without being distracted by ads, you will need both Windows 7 and Windows 10 on your computer.
Multiple Operating Systems on Your Computer
Although most computers have one operating system installed, you can install more than one OS on one computer. Switch between different operating systems when you boot your computer and select the one you want to use from the menu that appears.
The only limit you place on the number of systems that can boot onto your computer is the amount of available disk space and the time it takes to set it up.
This process is called multiboot. When you install two OSes, it is called dual booting and is described below.
How to setup dual boot system
Before you start:
- Back up your data to an external drive in case something goes wrong.
- Make sure you have a Windows Live Disk Recovery
- Prepare a bootable recovery disk in case of a boot failure.
Install Windows first
Windows does not have a boot menu and does not look for other operating systems on your computer before booting. Once installed, Windows will overwrite any boot sequence you may have already installed.
On the other hand, Linux Mint will first check if you have other operating systems installed on your computer. A menu will be created from which you can choose which system you want to boot.
The following steps will show you how to dual boot Linux Mint when Windows is already installed.
Create a bootable disk for Linux
First download the Linux ISO image (disk image) from the website. Choose any mirror, preferably the one closest to your country. Then download the file for an installer tool like the Universal USB Installer to create a Live USB from the ISO you just downloaded.
You now have ISO and ISO to USB burning software. Plug in the USB stick and run the Universal USB Installer Select Linux Mint for distribution.
Go to ISO. It can usually be found in your download file. Then select your USB storage. It will take a few minutes to burn the ISO to the USB stick.
Create Space for Linux Mint
Prepare your disk by creating a new partition. You can split an existing section or create a new one.
To create a new partition, you can use a third party application or disk management tool like Paragon Partition Manager
Booting from Windows 10
- From the Start menu, enter a partition to invoke the Disk Management utility.
- The screenshot above shows 237.37 GB of space on drive C. To free up space for your Linux installation, right-click drive C to free up space.
- Windows will suggest how much of the available space to shrink. The amount of space allocated will depend on how much space is on your computer.
- After selecting the volume, click Compress. You will now have a new partition where you can install Linux.
Restart your computer
- Connect a scratch disk or USB to your computer and restart it.
- Press the function key F12, F1 or F10 during boot to go to the boot menu (which key will depend on your computer).
- Select the option to boot from a USB stick or removable media.
When your system boots from Live USB, double-click the Install Linux Mint icon on your desktop.
You will be prompted to select a language, select a keyboard layout, and then be prompted to install third-party software.
This ensures that all the software you need for any proprietary hardware you may have, such as multimedia codecs, will work.
Select installation type
In the next step, you will be prompted to select an installation type.
- Don’t select Erase Disk and install Linux Mint. This will wipe out everything else on your hard drive and only install Mint.
- Select Install Linux Mint along with Windows Boot Manager. The next step is to choose how much space you want to allocate for Windows and Linux Mint.
- You can drag the middle bar in any direction to define or change the amount of space for both. Then click Install Now.
- A warning will appear informing you that your system will make some final changes. Since you have already backed up your data to your hard drive, you can proceed.
- Another pop-up window will ask for confirmation. Click Continue.
- The installation will run in the background while you see the global map prompting you to determine and set your location and time zone. Then click “Continue”.
- Fill in the form fields with your name, computer name, username and password twice.
- If you check “Log in automatically” it means your system will boot directly to your desktop. Better to select “Require my password to login.”
- If you want, you can check the “Encrypt my home folder” checkbox to protect your data from anyone who does not have your password.
- Click Continue to continue.
- During the installation process, you will see a slideshow. When the installation is complete, you will be asked if you want to continue testing (continue using the test environment) or restart now.
- Select Restart Now. You will see the actual boot menu on the screen.
- The first option is Linux Mint and will be the default. If you want to boot to Windows, use the down arrow to select Windows Boot Manager.
- To test your Linux Mint installation, click on it to see if it works. You should see the Linux Mint login screen.
Test to see if dual boot is working
- Choose Restart Now . You will see the actual boot menu on the screen.
- The first option is Linux Mint, and it will be the default. If you want to boot to Windows, use the down arrow to select Windows Boot Manager.
- To test the Linux Mint installation, click it to see if it works. You should see the Linux Mint login screen.
- Enter your password and you will see the Linux Mint welcome screen.
- Select options such as System Snapshots, Driver Manager, and Multimedia Codecs.
See Linux Mint 19.1 “Tessa” Cinnamon Edition Overview for more information on configuring the distribution and other aspects of it.
Shut down your computer and restart it. Select Windows from the boot menu. If the Windows logon screen loads, log in to make sure your desktop and data are still in place.
Setting up dual boot with Linux Mint and Windows 10 is easy. If you want to add Ubuntu or another version of Windows, use the same process as above.
Install Windows first, then install Linux Mint. If there is not enough space on the hard disk, take the opportunity to reallocate the space in one direction or another.