Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Dual Boot Issues with Win7


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Jun 21, 2018
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I want to install and then format a new Samsung 1TB internal into an existing Win7 x64 desktop. Not a partition but a separate SSD. I'd like to install Mint 18.3 in the1st boot order and move the existing HDD to the 2nd position with the option at startup to choose which O/S I'd like to use. I was just informed (elsewhere) that Windows will override such an install and not allow another system into the primary slot. The reason for wanting the SSD in the Primary is its' speed. Is there a way to accomplish this maneuver? I'm not very technical but I do know what I'm trying to accomplish if it can be done. Ultimately I want to do away with the Windows system...once I'm comfortable with Linux Mint.
Thanks for all patient replies!

Ultimately I want to do away with the Windows system...
Ahhh, that's what we always like to hear! :D Welcome to the forums, Doc!

Just a couple of questions to get started, and then I'm sure our Aussie friend @wizardfromoz will join us here shortly with quite possibly the best multi-boot experience on the planet (or on other planets!). He is indeed a Master of MBR and a GPT Wizard... and if those abbreviations don't ring a bell with you, they will soon.

So, you said this is a desktop. Let us know the brand and model so we can Google for spec or other details, if needed. You might also tell us how much RAM, and if you have a DVD-ROM installed. Linux typically needs either a DVD or USB flash drive to install, but since you're already in the market for Linux Mint, you may well know this already. Do you know if your motherboard firmware is BIOS or UEFI based? If Windows 7 was original, it is most likely BIOS-based unless the computer was sold as "Windows 8 ready."

When installing both Windows and Linux from scratch, it's always best to install Windows first. But from what I gather from your post, I think you are NOT doing a fresh Windows install... correct? I understand you to want to leave the Windows install intact on the older spinning HDD, and want Windows to be the secondary boot option after getting Mint up and running on the new SSD. This can be done. Linux installs it's own bootloader (usually GRUB) and it can recognize Windows at install time. GRUB will let either OS be your default, and give you a timeout period for you to choose the other OS. (However, UEFI-based systems may behave a little differently.)

My last comment, for now, is to advise you to make backups of critical files from your Windows hard drive. We always try to give this advice to Linux newcomers... because we might explain something less-than-clear and cause you to make a mistake, or you might not understand or follow our instructions and make a mistake. At the point where you have both drives plugged in at the same time, making a mistake as to which is which could wipe out Windows, as you might imagine (now that I've planted that lovely thought in your head). If you haven't already, and if your Windows system will perform it, it is even good to make a "Recovery Set" so that Windows could be reinstalled from scratch, if needed. Most brand-name systems (Dell, HP, etc) have a tool for this, and it might take up to 4 or 5 blank DVD's to create this set.

You might not confuse which drive is which when using Windows, but Linux identifies drives and partitions differently...which is why the strong warning about this. But another clue that will likely help you a lot is to pay attention to the size of each drive. That should make it clear to you and help avoid such mistakes. There is a lot of lingo/jargon that makes Linux different from Windows too. We know this is confusing and we try to explain things as we go, but just ask if you're not familiar with any terms that come up.

Well, the Aussies gave that Post a thumbs up, Stan (@atanere ) :D

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, trips over spaghetti cabling, hopes Mr Magoo's eyesight is better than his ... Nope)

Welcome Doc, to :)

I don't use Windows (threw it out 4 years ago), so others will assist you there, however I run about 40 Linux on a 1TB Toshiba Satellite, and am nearly finished clearing up space to install another 10 more, should I find 10 that take my fancy.

Linux Mint is always a good, reliable choice to start with. Do you know which "flavour" you want, or have you downloaded an .iso you can give us the name of?

Here's an article on DEs (Desktop Environments) -

The engines are basically the same, under the hood, it is only the look and feel which differ.

So if you answer any questions Stan has asked, above, we can go from there, and if I can add one -

  1. What is the capacity of the HDD Windozey is on?
Thanks for all patient replies!

Nothing but patients/patience here, Mate :D, this is a "Linuxatic Asylum"


Chris Turner
... & as it's Friday here in Oz... avagudweegend :D
How's this for being slightly tardy??? A lot has happened and I had to lay down most of what I was wanting to do...but I'm back if you guys will take me.

Here's some answers:
a) this is a Win7 Home Premium SP1 x64 bit O/S
b) AMD-FX 4300 Quad-Core Processor
c) Ram 4.0 GB; 3.73 GB Usable
d) Multiple USB and a CD
e) Motherboard firmware- BIOS
f) Original O/S was/is Win7 (still using)
g) Installed a 1 TB Samsung internal SSD and the Mint 18.3 is installed on it
h) Can Boot (f8) to either one but Linux was not properly setup and not been using it
i) Backup Windows to Macrium to another 1TB Samsung SSD external.

I'd like to get back to setting up Linux in this desktop. I don't recall the steps I used to setup the same system on my Toshiba notebook. It works reasonably well for me but it was a bear to get it up and going. Still some things to do with it but that's another day.

Still care to wade into this swamp?...and forgive my bad manners...Merry Christmas to you Guys?
but I'm back if you guys will take me.

Hello, what was your name again? The face looks familiar :D:D

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke humming Jingle Bells)

Mate, things are in your time - we are fine here, and keep busy.

e) Motherboard firmware- BIOS

Are you certain? What is your source of reference? (if it is UEFI it would be even more flexible)

Doc, we have a chap @olds442 who is also following the Win 7 - Linux path, your circumstances will differ in part, but it might be worthwhile each of you following the other's Thread for leads?

By my referencing him with the "@" I have "pinged" him, so he will see this next he is online, ie his ears will be burning :)

I have more for you, but we'll get that BIOS cf UEFI info first.

Cheers and Season's Best

Good to hear from you, Chris! Not a problem hooking the other party in to this saga. I'll look for his comments.

Yes, MB is BIOS...Speccy.
System Temperature 44 °C
Brand American Megatrends Inc.
Version 2101
Date 12/2/2014
Need to say that someone else installed the Mint 18.3 from my thumb drive. Nothing else was fine tuned. It's just installed and never used. I'd like to step my way thru making it totally useful. If I can nail-down the subject, I may want to install a virtual box to house both systems (Win7 and Linux). That's another day.
OK Ta (Pron. "tar" Aussie for thank you) for that info, Mate :)

So is F8 just needed for launching your "Mintie"? Or is it the same for Windows?

If it is for both then that is obviously not desirable. What you would be wanting is what is known as a Grub Menu, a black and white screen that will feature Linux Mint, then a line for advanced options, and then a line saying Windows Boot Manager.

Options for you include but are not limited to -
  • If you have the 18.3 USB stick still, install Mint again, either over the top of, or beside, the existing install. Once you have the new one installed and working properly, we can blow away the old one and reclaim the space
  • Linux Mint 19 (in fact 19.1 now) is out and is based on UBuntu 18.04 (cf 18.3 based on Ubuntu 16.04) - you could download the iso and burn that to a stick and do the same as above
  • Other


g) Installed a 1 TB Samsung internal SSD and the Mint 18.3 is installed on it

... is that on a separate drive to your Windows?


No, there's two separate interior disks...#1 is Win7; #2 is Linux Mint 18.3. Linux attempts to Boot 1st. The Linux disk and the Win7 are both SSD's.

I think I'd like to find the link to download a safe Mint 19 and get it onto a thumb drive. If you'd be good enough to give me the a-b-c's of the reinstall, I'll appreciate it.
Can do :)

On h) above:

h) Can Boot (f8) to either one but Linux was not properly setup and not been using it

Are you able to launch it, log in and get to a desktop? If so, the Welcome Screen that appears will say whether you are using one of four desktops - Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce or KDE. Or if you have the original downloaded .iso still, the name will reveal.

The site we will be using for download will be

... but don't download just yet.

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Wow! Ii launched and came to my desktop. I'm in the forum from within the Linux were talking about.

Phil...I think I'm going to have to knock around in this Linux and see if I can bring it up to what I've so far got accomplished on the Toshiba Notebook. It's all Mint 18.3 and I've just got some learning/growing pains there. I'm sure I'll be back to you about things. I'm struggling with setting up my folders properly with Lucky Backup and trying to schedule daily backups. Not easy for me.

Oh, I took a shot of my desktop Linux.


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Duhh...guilty as charged! Sorry Chris. It was late and I'd been at this thing all afternoon. My bad!!!

You are right about Timeshift. It is there and I'll focus on that. Does it allow backup to an external drive or only interior?
Yes, it allows backup to an external drive.....Settings.....Location. (I prefer to use an external drive)

Also click on Schedule.....I also click on 'Users' and select both root and my usewr name as well.....

The "Type" is RSYNC

If the unspeakable happens and you screw something up....all you need is your original thumb drive which you booted from (or dvd)....boot to it......go to a 'snapshot' to RESTORE to....go make coffee...5 minutes it will all be can now wipe the sweat from your brow.
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No problem in taking the backup snapshots. Somewhere in the going back in forth, one of the messages I got regarding the (f) exterior SSD was that it is not formatted??? It has not been backing up to the exterior. So what do I need to do to sync that drive to Timeshift?...i.e., actual steps?
Here is the message. So what I've got to do is learn from you guys what kind of partitioning I need to keep my backups external. Truth is I'm currently at a loss how to use all the space. I really need help how to best use all the many gigs for what?


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Chris...your forte. You can see from the shutter I sent (above) that there is no Linux partition. I'm afraid I'm in over my head again. What do I need to do to this external T-5 to get a Linux partition? And then how best to setup the most effective use for each partition? These are all (soon to be) SSD's with a ton of space. And I don't do anything with movies, or videos. My wife and I just do basic computer online stuff. How do we allocate space for such simple usage?
Hi Doc, and welcome to! I am doing exactly what you are wanting to do with Win 7 and Linux Mint, on 5 different computers. I used this guys method and have had zero problems with either OS. I also don't allow Windows 7 to update. This method also prevents either Boot Record, MBR or Grub, from corrupting the other through an update.

I watched this video a few times and then followed it to accomplish what you are attempting.

Hi...good instructional video. Being my slow self, I'll be watching it several times to nail down the details but most of the instruction I was able to grasp. You've got a good grip on it I can might want to use a dark marker instead of your pencil when laying out on paper your diagram. It is very hard to visualize the concept at the start.

I'm considering the dual boot from two different computers. The 1st is my desktop loaded with Win7x64. I am from that environment and new this year to Linux. I've changed the internal hard drive (HDD) to SSD 1Tbyte and dual boot already to Mint 18.3 via f(8) on bootup. Actually it boots to Linux in 1st place but I alter to Win7 by the f(8). I'm still going back and forth while I'm learning my way around Linux. Macrium Reflect is partitioned onto this drive. I'd prefer this was an external drive setup for a backup, but that'll have to be for another day.

The 2nd computer is my notebook (Toshiba) which I intend to replace the internal HDD with a 1Tbyte SSD. The original HDD hosts Linux exclusively and 18.3 is the current O/S. I currenttly backup to a %-5 external 1Tbyte SSD. I've had my problems in understanding what's necessary to setup/partition this external device...i.e., sizes of partitions and how many (and how to use the for what? I think I'm mostly there on basic setup as of this weekend. I can effectively schedule and backup everything dealing using TimeShift with Linux here.

Now on the Toshiba I also replaced the dvd device and mounted another 500G SSD. It's currently blank. I want to properly install 19.1 on it. I'm at a loss as to if I should make it bootable...and use your dual boot method. I'm looking for help/advice on this issue for sure.

I'm not a teckie and don't do games or videos. Just mainly online stuff + I'm trying really hard to get Linux all down before the 1/20 Windows cutoff date for support on Win7. Tired of being screwed around for years by M/S., so I'm defecting to Linux.
Thanks again for the help!

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