Class: Setting up more than one OSDifficulty: Advanced, quite a few specific steps to followTime: Several hours including partitinioning, about an hour withoutDesirability: Freedom to choose your OS at boot
Dual booting seems to be a topic that comes up often and never has a conclusive answer. What will be presented here is a straight forward How To explaining step by step (with screen shots) what is invovled in setting up a successful dual boot.
I want to be clear that I have used this process many times and have never screwed up one of my systems...however I STRONGLY recommend you back up all your files in the event something goes wrong.
Here is what we will need:
A system with windows installed (XP, Vista, or 7)
A version on gparted
and a way to install Peppermint (or any other Distro you would like to install)
I will be using USB flash drives to boot into both gparted and Peppermint instead of burning CD's however there is no reason you can't this from live CD's.Step One: Shrink Windows Partition
Before actually changing any partitions find out how much space windows is using. You can do this by right clicking on the C: drive and selecting properties. Make sure you commit this to memory or write it down as you CAN NOT shrink the partition smaller that it's size (amount of content not total size). At an extreme I would only shrink the drive 120% of it's size (ie. a drive using 10Gb should be made no smaller than 12Gb once shrank), ideally you should give windows a bit more room but if you are working with a small hard drive you should be ok with this.
You should also defragment windows before shrinking it, this helps reduce the risk of corrupting anything \.
If you have XP installed you will need to use gparted live to shrink you windows partition. (XP doesn't have a native partition manager)
If you have Vista or 7 installed you can use the partition manager installed in windows (I would recommend this over gparted since you are allowing windows to shrink itself and is less likely to do damage to it's own system) The link below shows exactly how to shrink the windows partion (called a 'volume' in windows). http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows- ... ows-vista/Step Two: Creating a Linux Partition
At this point you should have shrank your windows partition which has opened up 'free' space on your hard drive, this is refered to as 'unallocated' space (unless you are using XP, we will use gparted to shrink windows in that case). What you need to do now is boot up with gparted live. You can use Ubuntu, Mint, or a number of other live distos that come pre-packaged with pgarted. I chose to use gparted live (0.5.2) since that is the only thing I need it to do. Once you ahve booted up with this and open gparted you should be able to choose your hard drive (drop down menu on the right will change betweeen multiple drives if you ahve more than one). Click in the unallocated space and select 'New Partition', you will be given a dialog box where you can choose your settings. I have chosen an EXT3 format xxxMb and named it PMint. Once you have entered all your prefferences you can select 'apply'. This step may take a long time (several hours even) depending on how big the partition is you are creating.
Something to be aware of, many systems only have one partition (this uses the entire hard drive), while others have the primary partition as well as a secondary partition which can be used as a recovery. This is common on HP's and most netbooks. If you find this to be the case don't worry you can still complete this How To you just need to be sure you don't delete this partition when creating one for Linux.
You can see here what the live gparted session looks like when it loads and here is what I will be having gparted do. (shink one partition and add a new partition for Peppermint)
You will get something that looks like this while it does it's thing.Step Three: Installing Peppermint
Once gparted has done it's thing you can shut down your system and boot up with the Peppermint install. It is now time to install peppermint, but there are a few settings that are going to be different since we want it to install to a specific partition.
The first few screens won't be any different than other installs.
This is where things will start to look a bit different. You will want to select the third option 'Specify partitions manually (advanced)' and then hit Forward.
On the next screen you will need to select the partition you created to install Peppermint to and then click on 'Change...'.
In the menu that comes up you can choose if you want to partition it or not (don't really need to since we just created it but it won't hurt if you do), you also need to select '/' as the mount point.
From here the rest of the install is the same as any other.
Now when you restart you should hopefully be confronted with a GRUB menu allowing you to pick which OS you want to boot into. If for some reason you aren't it should automatically load Peppermint, once you are in Peppermint open a terminal (ctl+alt+T) and type:
This will force GRUB to look for any entries and should get you going.
Enjoy your freedom to choose!