How to Dual Boot Windows and Linux Mint

Run Linux Mint alongside Windows 10

It's possible to run both Windows and Linux on the same computer. Here's how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux Mint, one of the most popular distributions of the Linux operating system.

These instructions are for installing Linux Mint 19, 18, and 17 on a PC running Windows 10, 8.1, or 8.

Preparing Your PC for Linux Mint

An illustration of a woman at a computer using a dual boot Windows and Linux Mint system.
Lifewire 

First, do everything necessary to prepare your PC for dual booting Linux and Windows. You should also create a recovery drive for Windows in case something goes wrong during the Linux installation. Make sure you have at least 10GB of free space (preferably more) on your hard drive.

The next step is to create a Linux Mint USB drive and prepare your computer to boot from a USB device. If you prefer, you can keep Linux on the USB drive and use it on any Window PC. However, if you want to install Mint on your machine so that you can switch between both operating systems, then some extra steps are necessary.

How to Install Linux Mint Alongside Windows 10

After booting Linux Mint from the USB drive, select the network icon in the bottom-right corner of the desktop and choose a wireless network, or use an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet. Once connected, you're ready to install Mint alongside the Windows Boot Manager:

  1. Select Install Linux Mint on the Mint desktop.

    Linux Mint desktop
  2. Choose your language and select Continue.

    If you downloaded a non-codec version of the Linux Mint ISO image, you may be asked to install third-party packages and software required for playing audio, watching DVDs, etc.

    Linux Mint installer language selection screen
  3. Choose Install Linux Mint alongside Windows Boot Manager and select Install Now.

    If you can't select the option to install Linux Mint alongside Windows, choose Something Else and refer to the last section of this article about creating disk partitions manually.

    Choose Install Linux Mint alongside Windows Boot Manager and select Install Now.
  4. Choose your timezone on the map or enter a city in the box provided, then select Continue.

    Choosing your location during Linux Mint installation
  5. Select your keyboard language and layout, then select Continue.

    Select Detect keyboard layout to automatically choose the default layout for your keyboard. You can make sure the keys are correct by typing in the test box.

    Select your keyboard language and layout, then select Continue.
  6. Set up your Linux Mint user profile. Pick a username and a strong password, choose to encrypt your home folder if you want, then select Continue

    Give your computer a name that you will recognize to make it easier to connect to shared folders from another PC on the same network.

    Linux Mint user setup screen

When the installation has finished, restart your computer and remove the Linux Mint USB drive when it begins to reboot. You'll now be given the option to boot Windows or Linux, and you can switch between operating systems at anytime by restarting your computer.

If your computer boots straight to Windows, you may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS.

How to Create the Linux Mint Partitions

If you can't select the option to install Mint alongside Windows, then you'll need to create the Linux Mint disk partitions manually:

  1. Choose Something Else and select Continue on the Linux Mint Installation Type screen.

    Choose Something Else and select Install Now on the Linux Mint Installation Type screen.
  2. Select Free Space, then select the plus sign (+) to create a new partition.

    Select Free Space, then select the plus sign (+).
  3. Enter the following settings and select OK:

    1. Enter 10,000MB (or higher) for the Size.
    2. Select Primary next to Type for the new partition.
    3. Select Beginning of this space next to Location for the new partition.
    4. Set Use as to Ext 4 Journaling file system.
    5. Select / as the Mount point.

    The partition size will determine how much space you have for installing software, so set it as high as possible.

    Linux Mint disk partition settings
  4. Select Free Space and select the plus sign (+) again.

    Select Free Space and select the plus sign (+) again.
  5. Enter the following settings and select OK:

    1. Enter 2,000MB for the Size.
    2. Select Primary next to Type for the new partition.
    3. Select Beginning of this space next to Location for the new partition.
    4. Set Use as to swap area.

    This step is technically optional, but creating a swap drive is recommended to prevent unexpected crashes.

    Linux Mint disk partition settings
  6. Select Install Now.

    Make sure the Device for bootloader installation is set to your device with the type set to EFI.

    Select Install Now.