Can you have a dual boot with one hard drive?

By newlook2 · 16 replies
Jan 18, 2012
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  1. I have a 1TB HD and want to install Windows 7 64bit and Mint Linux. How do I do this?
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Look for a copy of a book called Windows 7: Inside and Out by Ed Bott and a couple of other guys. Then look online for how to setup a Linux install.

    Work slowly and check your work, because the first one is a tad difficult to get right.

    But it is do-able, and soon you will be an expert.
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Shouldn't have to do much out of the ordinary. Install Windows 7 as usual and then install Linux (be sure to create a new partition for Linux -- don't overwrite Windows). Linux will replace Windows' boot loader with GRUB. When you start your PC, you should have a boot menu with both operating systems available to pick from.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    If you don't have either installed at the start its pretty easy. Go to the advanced portion of the Win 7 setup where you partition the drives. Don't use the entire drive, leave like.... 50 gigs for linux (you can get by with much less, 50 is just a suggestion if you have 1TB to spare). Install windows like normal. Then install Linux in the unpartitioned space, should be pretty obvious how to do it during the linux install.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I personally would create two partitions for Windows whilst installing W7. A 250GB partition for Windows C drive (unless you plan on installing loads of games), and ~5000-600GB for Windows D (for personal files and data), and then leave around 50-100GB free at the end of the drive for Linux, but keep it unformatted.

    Then when you install Linux, I recommend the following partitions:

    10-20GB for Linux root / -- ext4 Primary partition
    10-20GB for Linux user /usr -- ext4 Extended partition
    ~remainder of free space (min 10GB) leaving enough for below as /home -- ext4 Extended partition
    Double RAM size in GB for SWAP -- So if you have 4GB RAM, create 8GB swap Extended partition

    It is recommended you keep swap either at the very front of the disk, or at the very end to make access quick. Your first 3 partitions will be primary partitions, but the remaining 3 will be extended. This is because Linux can only handle either four primary partitions, or three primary, and a further 64 extended partitions.

    Also, have a read of my step by step guide on here, this will give you an insight into the process of installing Ubuntu, the Mint Linux installer from memory is fairly similar as the main Mint release is derived from Ubuntu.

    You will be able to access both Windows partitions in Linux, therefore keeping all of your personal documents in the second Windows partition will in effect create a central location to access your data using either operating system. Windows is however, unable to read Linux partitions, so any data contained within your /home directory in Linux will not be readable in Windows.
  6. newlook2

    newlook2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks I'll give it a shot. Why do you recommend so little space for the Linux partition? I installed Windows leaving about 200GB of space for Linux, is it possible to change this?
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Linux doesn't need anywhere near the same overall capacity for the operating system and associated software. A fully installed, lightweight Linux OS uses very little of the disks footprint.

    Sure, just head into Windows, select start > control panel > Administrative tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk management, select the partition and then right click it, and choose expand volume. Add another 100GB and then click apply or OK.
  8. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Posts: 146

    it depends on how much data you want to be able to store under your linux system. maybe you want to use linux as a media centre or something, in which case 200 GB would be minimal.

    linux can read files created in windows (ntfs) partitions, but windows can't read linux partitions (altho it can see them). so some of the storage could be used by both OS' s
  9. dikbozo

    dikbozo TS Booster Posts: 82

    You could do the extra work required here:–-a-wubi-based-installer-of-linux-mint/

    and get a Wubi type pseudo install that won't require any repartitioning and will be removable as if it were a Windows application. I have used Wubi several times and it does a nice clean uninstall for those who ultimately want to remove it. I may attempt Mint Linux but as I don't have the time right now...
  10. newlook2

    newlook2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's why I posted my first question because I don't see the point of Wubi. How's it different than running Linux in a virtual box?
  11. dikbozo

    dikbozo TS Booster Posts: 82

    Wubi isn't a virtual system, merely an alternative way to install a complete and functional distro without making the complex alterations required for disk repartitioning and boot loaders, i.e. grub or lilo. This set up allows you to choose which OS to boot from whenever you restart your computer. It installs as any another application like Winamp or iTunes would and uninstalls completely if you don't like it. It does offer a true dual boot setup with FULL removal from within Windows that is both simple and easy to understand. Try it you might like it.
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Running it virtually means no dual booting at all. Your primary (host to Virtualbox) operating system is Windows, and you essentially start your Linux OS like any program on your computer. Linux runs as a virtual "guest OS" in a window, in Windows. It keeps both completely separate, and is ideal if you wish to isolate both operating systems from each other.
  13. rich in tx

    rich in tx TS Rookie

    dual boot with one HD?

    Sure you can. But you need more than one partition.

    Create a partition for each OS you want to install. Then install them starting with the oldest OS first. (optional)

    Linux is pretty easy now, you can install using WUBI from within windows. And the advantage is, it can be uninstalled from windows at a later time.
  14. newlook2

    newlook2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Does this mean it's not going to work?
  15. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Looks okay to me, although the picture is rather small. Change the bottom figure to 10000MB (100GB). It will then make the partition 100GB larger, leaving you ~200GB for Linux, which is definitely more than enough.
  16. newlook2

    newlook2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks! Works great! You can be I'll be asking some questions about Linux.
  17. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    No problem dude, glad I could help.

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