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  • Linux newbie: dual boot questions

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros Linux newbie: dual boot questions

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      • #2281949 Reply
        Guest
        AskWoody Lounger

        I want to try installing Linux Mint and dual boot with Windows 7.  If there are any better reference articles let me know but I have been reading these two to get an idea.

        How to Install Linux Mint 19 Alongside Windows 10 or 8 in Dual-Boot UEFI Mode

        https://itsfoss.com/guide-install-linux-mint-16-dual-boot-windows/

        I have plenty of space for Linux and the articles suggest to create a root, swap and home partition.  Is it best to do that in Windows using Disk Management or do it with Linux during the install process?

        I first explored doing it in Windows but using some unallocated space and creating a new simple volume gave me a warning that it would need to change my drive to a dynamic disk and I didn’t understand the pros and cons of that so stopped before proceeding further.  There are currently four partitions (system, C:, D and E).  D and E can be safely deleted as they were there when purchased for recovery and tools but nothing I need (one is FAT32, others NTFS).

        Are there ideal sizes and creation order to use for root and swap?  The article seemed to suggest equal to RAM for swap then as much as 50 GB for root (more/less?) and the rest used for home (as much as desired).

        The rest sounds pretty follow the prompts easy from there.  Any additional tips in order to get things setup to a basic foundation level?  All I need it to do is go online, stream, save some notes in a notepad and LibreOffice (already use in Windows), listen to music.

        By default, will Linux be able to see and open files located on C: so I can access those files the same way I can in Windows (assuming I have a Linux program that can open them.. LibreOffice, Notepad equivalent, music etc)?

        Once I get used to Linux, ultimately I would like to try and see if I can run some Windows casual games within Linux (think hidden object, match3 type games.. Plants Vs Zombies, Royal Envoy, etc.).

        • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Guest.
      • #2281975 Reply
        DrBonzo
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve done dual installs on several Win 7 machines. I’ve always just booted the machine from the usb stick I had Mint on, chose a dual install and let the installer do the rest. Simple. I always had plenty of hard drive space and just let the Mint installer deal with partitions, etc. I’m a non-expert, but I haven’t had any issues.

        Go to the Mint website and look for the installation guide. It’s very good IMHO
        https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation.php

        • #2285415 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Watch out for any Partition Limits on Windows 7/Linux Dual boot configurations as there’s a Limit of 4 Primary Partitions for any NON UEFI enabled dual booting configurations. I Had issues installing Linux Mint alongside Windows 7(Pro) on an HP Probook that came with the OS factory Downgraded to Windows 7 Pro from Windows 8 Pro, so the UEFI was set to legacy BIOS mode and I had to remove one Windows Created partition on that laptop to get the Linux Mint(19.3) installer to even offer me the option of installing Linux Mint alongside Windows 7 on that Probook(4540s) laptop.

          My 3 older Windows 7 laptops had no issues with the Linux Mint 19.3/Windows 7 dual boot automatic install option as they had less primary partitions created by their OEMs.

          Also I’d like to know when UEFI was adopted and first used in laptops as I have a Samsung Series 3 laptop(Windows 7) that’s using an Intel Sandy Bridge generation Intel core i7 quad core processor that had in its BIOS some wording that Mentioned UEFI settings and I had thought that UEFI was not used or available for laptops based on Sandy Bridge generation Processors(?).

          Anyways the Linux Mint Installer is not very user friendly as far as manual partitioning goes and the online Instructions are not nearly thorough enough  and noob friendly with regards to partitioning in Linux.

          And how easy is it to over-wright an existing Linux Mint 19.3 install with Linux Mint 20 and still have the Windows 7 Partitions untouched and usable. I rather just get a clean install than try and upgrade from Mint 19.3 to Linux Mint 20 and that’s just to get the cobwebs fully cleaned out.

           

          • #2285469 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Watch out for any Partition Limits on Windows 7/Linux Dual boot configurations as there’s a Limit of 4 Primary Partitions for any NON UEFI enabled dual booting configurations.

            That is a limitation of any MBR setup, but you can create an extended partition and add logical partitions to that without an issue. Linux will happily boot from a logical partition, even though Windows can’t.

            I Had issues installing Linux Mint alongside Windows 7(Pro) on an HP Probook that came with the OS factory Downgraded to Windows 7 Pro from Windows 8 Pro, so the UEFI was set to legacy BIOS mode and I had to remove one Windows Created partition on that laptop to get the Linux Mint(19.3) installer to even offer me the option of installing Linux Mint alongside Windows 7 on that Probook(4540s) laptop.

            If you are only going to have four partitions, you can make them all primary, but adding another one means you would have to change one of them to an extended partition with a logical partition inside. This was apparently beyond the scope of the guided installer, but it may have been possible to do with the manual option “something else.” It’s been a while since I had to wrangle MBR partitions, and I don’t remember whether the Mint installer would be able to do that or if it would take something more powerful (like Gparted from the live session) to make this work.

            I’m averse to change for the sake of change, but the change from legacy BIOS boot to UEFI boot and  the change from MBR partitioning to GPT partitioning were changes that I embraced and appreciated from the first time I encountered them. I know there was some fear and loathing of both GPT and UEFI among some, with claims that they were the stuff of nightmares and that there was no reason to abandon the old BIOS/MBR setup, but UEFI and GPT were legitimate improvements. If your four partition disk had been GPT, the Linux installer would have had no problem adding more partitions.

            Also I’d like to know when UEFI was adopted and first used in laptops as I have a Samsung Series 3 laptop(Windows 7) that’s using an Intel Sandy Bridge generation Intel core i7 quad core processor that had in its BIOS some wording that Mentioned UEFI settings and I had thought that UEFI was not used or available for laptops based on Sandy Bridge generation Processors(?).

            My Sandy Bridge desktop uses UEFI, and when I had Windows 7 (x64) on it, I had it performing a UEFI boot, with all of the disks in the system using GPT.  Laptop or desktop shouldn’t make any difference here.

            Some people at this site have said that Win 7 usually came set up as MBR/legacy boot even on PCs that were capable of UEFI booting. I never had any reason to check on the systems I saw that had 7 preinstalled, and I never owned a PC that came with 7 personally, so I can’t say one way or another based on my own experience.

            Starting with Windows 8, MS began requiring OEMs to ship Windows with Secure Boot enabled, which only worked with UEFI boot mode, so legacy mode could not be used any more beyond that point. My Sandy desktop has UEFI, but it is not able to perform a secure boot, even if the OS can.

             

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

            • #2285492 Reply
              Paul T
              AskWoody MVP

              My Sandy desktop has UEFI, but it is not able to perform a secure boot, even if the OS can

              The OS doesn’t actually secure boot, the BIOS checks the boot files certificates against internal (to the BIOS) root certificates. It’s the same process as your browser uses for https web sites.

              cheers, Paul

              • #2285541 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                And my desktop can’t do it.  It takes a secure boot capable OS and UEFI to make it happen. Windows 7 can’t be booted via secure boot even with a UEFI that is capable of it, and no secure boot is possible regardless of the OS on PCs like my Sandy desktop.

                A lot of people think UEFI boot and secure boot are the same. Clearly, they are not. UEFI booting is required for secure boot, but non-secure boots are quite possible within UEFI too.

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

                • This reply was modified 6 days, 22 hours ago by Ascaris.
          • #2285501 Reply
            PaulK
            AskWoody Lounger

            Also I’d like to know when UEFI was adopted and first used in laptops

            (#2285415)

            UEFI origins and history.

            One sentence here is: “New mobile, desktop and server products, using Intel’s implementation of UEFI, started shipping in 2006.”

      • #2281995 Reply
        DrBonzo
        AskWoody Plus

        To answer some of your other questions, all of my installs just worked. I haven’t streamed anything, but going online, listening to music, MS Office type stuff are all there. And I can access all my win 7 files from Mint, although it may not be immediately obvious how to do so. From the mint side look in the file system (should be a files folder icon on the left of the system tray; it will be next to icons for Firefox, the terminal, and Start) for OS. Open that up and you’ll see Win 7 stuff. You’ll be able to open files with the pdf reader, image viewers, etc. that come with the Mint installation.

        One qualifier to everything I’ve said: I’m using Mint 19.2 and that’s the only version of Mint I’ve used. I’m assuming Mint 20 is very similar in regards to my comments.

      • #2282001 Reply
        Sandro
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hi!

        Not a bad article indeed. I would kindly suggest the following:

        1. Full backup (image) of your disk. I recommend Macrium Reflect (MR). The free version is enough. Verify your backup again! Yeah, be paranoid here! Sorry!
        2. Create MR Recovery Tool – a bootable (or Live in Unix dialects)  DVD or pendrive. Boot with it and see if you have access to MR – believe me, you will thank me for that. Note: the MR Recovery Tool which can be installed in your C:\ IS NOT HELPFUL if you have a problem with the dual-boot trick.
        3. Plan how much size you will leave for Windows. I believe that Windows is your primary machine, so leave plenty of space for Windows! I have a notebook with a 240GB SSD with the following sequence of partitions
          • 1, Reserved for boot, created by Windows Installation (size decided by Microsoft);
          • 2, The venerable C:\, with all the space left;
          • 3. Linux Swap area, which is recommend to be twice the amount of RAM you have. In my case, 2 x 4GB;
          • 4 The \ (root). I have \ (root), \boot and \home altogether . In my case, 32GB were enough;
          • 5. Reserved for Windows Recovery, created by Windows Installation (size decided by Microsoft).
        4. For partitioning I recommend the free version EaseUS Partition Tool. Far easier and more powerful than Windows Disk Management.
        5. Everything is ready to install Mint. So do yourself a favour: perform a new full backup (image) of your disk AGAIN, because its layout (or geometry) has changed. And, as usual, verify it!  You may have some problems with the dual-boot trick (I had, a lot!).
        6. Sometimes the trick for dual-boot disk does not work. Boot again with your Live Linux DVD/Pendrive and use the Boot Repair tool.
        7. Sometimes the trick for dual-boot disk does not work AND the Boot Repair tool can not solve it either! So, take your MR Recovery tool, boot from it, and use an option from MR menu to recover your boot. After that you will boot again directly into Windows. Then, to re-implemt the dual-boot trick, use Neosmart EasyBCD (again, a free tool).  Please pay attention: Neosmart pushes you to EasyRe, which is smarter but not free.

        Let’s say that I have already travelled trough the road you are about to have a journey. Godspeed!

        • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Sandro.
      • #2282090 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        The Linux installer can handle the partitioning at installation time.  If you want to set up a partition scheme other than the default, you will need to select the custom or “something else” option when you install Linux.

        There are different opinions about how to configure the Linux partition(s). By default, Ubuntu and related distros set up a single partition, but I use separate partitions for my setups.

        The suggested sizes you cited are quite reasonable.

        If you intend to use hibernation, the swap partition should be no smaller than your installed memory (since it will use the swap partition for the hibernation file).

        The root partition does not need to be that large for Linux to work… it will fit quite nicely into 20 GB, with lots of room to spare, though if you install a lot of programs, you’ll have no trouble filling that up.  The suggested 50 GB is decent, though if you have a lot of space and intend to install a lot of programs (system-wide), more is better.

        The home partition will include all of your data and personal files, and will grow to use a lot of space if you like to save videos and images. If you intend to run Windows programs using WINE or Steam’s Proton, or Steam with native Linux games, these will also usually be installed in your home directory, and so will any virtual machines you may use, so it will need to be considerably larger than root in that case.

        On my G3, I have one 250GB NVMe SSD and one 1TB SATA SSD).  On the 250 GB, I have a root partition for Neon (my main OS) of 142 GB, and it’s more than half empty.  I also have a Mint, a Kubuntu, and a Windows partition on it, at 21, 21, and 47 GB, respectively.  The additional Linux partitions are for testing purposes, so they don’t need to be that big, and Windows is just big enough to update (which is also for testing purposes).

        I also have an 18 GB swap partition (I have 16 GB of RAM, so I made it a bit bigger) on that drive.

        On the 1TB, I have the whole disk set up for personal data. Normally that would be all on a home partition, but I have an additional partition for data that is part of my sync/backup schema with my other PCs. Otherwise I’d just have everything under home and leave it at that.

        The 1TB SSD, despite its larger size, is much closer to full than the root partition of 142 GB.

        Linux distros can read Windows NTFS file systems without an issue, so you won’t need to worry about that.

        For what it’s worth, I have the Pogo and Origin versions of Plants vs. Zombies (I had Pogo at first, but I asked EA to transfer the license to Origin, and they did), game of the year edition, and they work well in Linux using WINE (exactly as in Windows).  I’ve got a small collection of Windows and Linux native casual and not-so-casual games that work nicely in Linux (including World of Warcraft, The Witcher 3, The Sims 4, Cat Goes Fishing for the Windows titles, and Plague Inc. Evolved, Slime Rancher, Empires of the Undergrowth (early access), Cities: Skylines, Portal, and Portal 2 for the native Linux ones.  Not to mention, of course, the free, open source standbys like Sudoku, Patience (Solitaire), etc., that are in the distro repo.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

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