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Want To Dual Boot Windows 10 And Linux Mint? You Can Do It

Windows 10 and Linux

Dual Booting Between Windows 10 & Linux Mint 17.3 is Convenient

Setting up a PC as a Windows 10 and Linux Mint 17.3 Dual Boot device is not too difficult, though it requires following certain configuration steps. Once in place, Dual Boot provides a boot menu from which you can choose to go into either Windows or Linux. You then have the ability to use Microsoft’s latest Windows offering, as well as, an option to take advantage of the power, flexibility, and simplicity of Linux Mint on your PC.

This example uses Linux Mint for Dual Boot, but there are many other Linux distributions one could choose, depending on what flavor appeals to you. Linux Mint was chosen since it is well established, easy to install & use, and is currently one of the most popular versions of Linux available.

Dell Inspiron 3847 Used for Dual Boot

Dell Inspiron 3847.

  • Intel i5-4660 processor
  • 12GB memory
  • 2TB hard drive
  • Windows 10 preloaded
  • see at Dell website

Setting Up Dual Boot in a Nutshell

Windows 10 - Linux Mint Dual Boot

First: Verify Windows 10 Setup

The first step was to fire up a new Dell Inspiron 3847 PC, configure the preinstalled Windows 10, and do preliminary testing to make sure the PC was working properly. Windows 10 is wonderful, but since my last experience with Windows was Windows Vista, three years ago, I had some catching up to do.

Initially, Windows 10 appeared a little imposing, but after digging around a bit, I was able to catch on. However, for a Windows rookie, or casual user, it seems Windows 10 might be overkill — Microsoft has crammed many, many features into their new flagship OS.

Next: Install Linux Mint 

  1. Download Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64-bit, and create an installation USB.
  2. Go into Windows 10 and shrink NTFS (Windows takes the whole drive by default) to free up space for Linux.
  3. Insert Linux Mint USB.
  4. Boot PC, press F12, set Boot Mode=Legacy, Secure Boot=Off.
    – Windows 10 uses UEFI boot mode by default
  5. Boot PC, press F12 , choose USB boot option.
  6. Install Linux Mint to the hard drive, during setup choose Other (for whatever reason, the usual “Install along side Windows” option isn’t on the screen), create Ext4 partition, create Swap space.
  7. Reboot, a GNU Grub Boot Menu should come up, with options for Linux Mint 17.3 and Windows 10.
    There’s a Gotcha here — PC boots straight into Linux Mint, where’s Windows 10?

    – To boot into Windows 10, you must reboot, press F12, then under UEFI Boot choose Windows Boot Manager.
    – To boot into Linux Mint, you must reboot, press F12, then choose Legacy Boot.
    This is a conundrum — you can get either Windows 10 or Linux Mint via F12 selections, but no Boot Menu to easily choose desired OS.

Solution: How to Get the Windows 10 and Linux Mint Dual Boot Menu 

** Follow these steps after completing Steps 1-7 above**

  1. Boot PC, press F12, turn Boot Mode=UEFI, set Secure Boot=On.
  2. Insert Linux Mint USB.
  3. Boot PC, it will bypass the USB, and go to a Linux Mint Boot Menu.
  4. Select Linux Mint 17.3 Compatibility mode.
  5. Linux Mint Live OS screen from USB comes up, click on Install Linux Mint icon.
  6. At Linux Mint install screen, Select Other.
  7. Do Linux Mint install like before, create Ext4 partition, and create Swap Space.
  8. Remove USB when prompted, and PC will reboot.
  9. GNU Grub Boot Menu screen will come up with Linux Mint 17.3 and Windows 10 options.
  10. Test booting into each OS from the GNU Grub Boot Menu.

The default GRUB Boot Menu can easily be modified. You can edit boot item names, change boot order, delete items, modify timeout, etc. Too see how, refer to: Want to Modify Windows/Linux Dual Boot Startup Menu? You Can Do It.

Using some ingenuity, Dual Boot with Windows 10 and Linux Mint 17.3 can be properly configured. The benefits of such a setup are innumerable. To be able to easily move from one OS to the other is a boon. Now, over time hopefully Windows 10 will be mastered, while having Linux Mint nearby to use and enjoy.

Some Findings About Dual Boot Issues

  • Microsoft Support Site seems to only support Dual Boot when using multiple versions of Windows, with Windows Boot Manager.
  • Linux Mint Support Forums:
    – Plenty of cases where someone could boot up into only Windows 10, or only Linux Mint.
    – Some esoteric solutions, that involve intricate command line changes in Linux, but these methods seem tricky and potentially dangerous.
  • Using EasyBCD (Windows downloadable app) is an option for Windows Boot Manager configuration, but when UEFI is turned on, Linux options are grayed out, not available.
  • Per a phone call to Dell Tech Support, Dell does not support Dual Boot, so no help there.


About Gary Reiner

thinking, reading, and writing about whatever's going on in the world...


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