[TUTORIAL] Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot (Win7/Mint) & build guide 2019/2020

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[TUTORIAL] Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot (Win7/Mint) & build guide 2019/2020

Post by ZakGordon »

Mini Itx build guide 2019:

[Edit: Please feel free to comment on any mistakes or miss-steps i might have made in writing this all up. Linux Mint is still pretty new to me etc]

The aim of this guide is to show a detailed look at building a modern m-iTX desktop PC and setting it up to dual-boot *Windows 7 and Linux Mint.

*[Why Windows 7? Well because it is not Windows 10 (spyware) and is a tool i use rather than the other way around. It also runs some old legacy software i use, and in general games better than Windows 10 (going on numerous reports).] - ymmv.

This is my second small form factor build, the first i posted a detailed look at here: UPDATE NOTE - the link is now dead, i assume rockpapershotgun changed stuff and now the link right below is toast, sorry. Now linked is the thread on the waybackmachine, so some of the info is still there:

https://web.archive.org/web/20151029214 ... -ITX-build

Now i've switched from Intel to AMD which saved me a good chunk of cash and enabled me to build a more powerful system for much less than that last build.

These are the new components:

Case: Fractal Design Core 500
CPU: Ryzen 5 1600 (65W) @ 3.2Ghz
GPU: Nvidia 1650 Super (4GB) - this will be updated later (1660Ti approx)
RAM: 16GB(2x8) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 MHz C16
PSU: Seasonic FOCUS Plus Gold 550W
SSD: Samsung MZ-76E500B/EU 500 GB 860 EVO

Old components to use in this build are:

SSD2: Samsung Pro 128GB (my old m-iTX boot SSD, now to be Linux Mint boot)

Components to get:

HDD: 2-4GB probably a WD Black (or other that has min 5yr warranty)


(Above: the case with some storage options)

Reason for this build:

The Ryzen 5 1600 was on a 48% discount when i got it, so i had to jump, having been planning a Ryzen build since the CPU's were first released. I also wanted a CPU i knew i could apply work-arounds to be able to run Windows 7. The latest newest hardware may not want to run at all under Windows 7.

Also i want a system i can use safely online (via Linux Mint) while still keeping my fix of gaming and access to some essential software not available under Linux (this is via Windows 7 in an offline capacity).

I had looked at the prospect of only running Linux Mint, and then running my Windows 7 OS in a VM, but i want 100% performance AND compatibility with all the current software/games i use. Dual-boot seems the best way to ensure that.

Reason for parts used:

1. The case needs to be shoe-box shaped (to replace the Antec-ISK 600 based system linked above) and needed more features (in built dust filters and DVD-ROM slot required). After running a thread on the Arstechnica forums here:

https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic ... &t=1449907

That looked at over 30 cases, the Fractal Design Core 500 was really the only option out there.

2. The motherboard was perhaps the hardest part, and easiest, in that small form factor m-iTX AMD Ryzen boards are still not common.

Finding one that was Windows 7 compatible (declared on the manufacturers website, and had a PS/2 port to get around a probable USB driver issue during installation of Windows 7) and 'Linux' friendly is hard.

I like gigabyte normally, but their B450 m-iTX board did not tick all the requirements. So in the end i really only had one choice, the MSI B450I board.

3. Ryzen 5 1600 is a super low 65w rated part and rated about 1/3 faster than my current Intel. The 48% discount just forced my hand. I could have gone for the newer 2600 or waited for the next AMD's to drop, but that discount was the decider. The great thing about this AM4 platform is i can easily upgrade to those newer Ryzen chips later on (assuming they work with Windows 7).

4. RAM and Ryzen need some decent speed. RAM has been over-priced for a while now, but it has just started to come down a little and the 3000Mhz rated 16GB Corsair kit is well respected, and actually one of the cheaper sets. This RAM also had no problem hitting it's 3000Mhz speed once XMP profile 2 (2933Mhz) was set and after a manual adjustment to run at 3000Mhz in Bios.

5. Next up i look at warranty cover, so things like SSD/HDD's and PSU's all need a minimum of 5 years guarantee before i will buy them. The PSU i chose came with an awesome 10 years of cover, that confidence in a product is worth the small premium imho.

6. I need a DVD-ROM option as i use it as a living room DVD player.

Build steps: A - The Hardware.

First i'll give a couple links to online guides that will be helpful if you've not built a PC before:

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pc ... ,5816.html

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ho ... ,5867.html

Below is my specific version for this particular build, so let's start!

1. Make sure to have some tools (fine long nose pliers and a magnetic philips headed screwdriver as a preference) and a clean clear desk space to assemble the parts on. If you have carpets underneath it is best to use a properly grounded static wrist band when handling parts. At the very least ground yourself first (by touching some metal on your current plugged in (but off) PC Case).

2. Prepare the case.

In this example i fitted an SSD (1x500GB) to the front slot on the Core 500 case (by popping off the front cover of the case) and ran the connector cables to be fed through the right hand cut-out hole near the PSU connectors. I then fitted a second SSD (1x128GB) on the front most side mount.

I also fitted the PSU and DVD-ROM and associated cables, tucking cables away to keep the area for the motherboard clear.

Then the IO shield was put in place.

3. Prepare the motherboard.

I put mine on the flat surface of my clean work-desk. Pay attention to touch it as little as possible and not put your fingers/tools all over the chips and circuit board (keep to the motherboard edges as much as possible, away from components).

The AMD AM4 slot is pretty easy to use. Flip up the arm next to the socket on your mobo. Next take out your processor (handle it gently) and cast a quick eye over the pins checking for any obvious bent ones (unlikely but it can happen). If you do find any that look obviously bent you can gently use the fine long-nose plier to straighten them as well as you can.

Next check that the little 'golden triangle' on the top cover of your Ryzen chip has one less pin compared to all other corners. Now carefully check the AM4 socket on your motherboard and look for that same one less pin socket. This is where you orientate your chip so it sits with the 'golden triangle' over the missing pin slot on the mobo.

Often this is very clearly marked on the mobo itself (another mirrored triangle motif will guide you etc), however on the MSI B450I board it is not that clear so pay attention you have your chip the right way up.

Next gently lay it into the AM4 socket. Then once it is sitting straight, gently start to push the socket arm down. If you feel any resistance, stop and check you have placed the CPU correctly and double check for bent pins.

Normally all should be fine and it requires little effort to gently push the socket arm down into it's locking position. Your CPU is now in place in your motherboard.

The Wraith cooler that comes with the Ryzen 5 1600 CPU (and some others) comes with a pad of CPU thermal grease already in place (be careful to not touch it before placing it on your CPU!), so you do not need to put any on the CPU itself.

I found fitting the cooler on the AM4 a bit more tricky than in my previous socket LGA1155 build.

First you need to unscrew the in-place mounting brackets on the MSI B450I, these are for a different cooler, so unscrew the 4 screws from the back plate and remove the 2 black plastic mounts.

Next you need to make sure the AMD logo on the CPU cooler is facing away from your memory slots, as it can block access to the first one if fitted the wrong way around. Hopefully the rear heatsink is not too big to interfere with it. If you have to you can unscrew the fan from the CPU cooler and turn it around to avoid the RAM slots and rear heat IO heatsink area's. On this MSI board it fitted fine with the logo to the rear over the heatsink there.

Once you are happy with all that gently place the CPU cooler over your CPU, trying to align all the screws to the holes. Try not to slide it around as you will mess up the pad of thermal paste!

Also pay attention to the way the spring loaded screws on the cooler go into the holes on the motherboard. They can make a nasty noise as you push them down and screw them in. Also you will need to use a surprising amount of force to ensure they bite and go in, so be careful.

Start with one corner, tighten just a few turns, then move diagonally across to the opposite screw (to stop the cooler tipping too much on one side as you tighten them). Aim to get all screws in a few turns before going around them again in sequence to tighten a few turns more until all are fully screwed down. You will know you have finished this process when they feel tight enough you can not easily force any more turns from them. Be careful.

Like i said this process was more difficult than on my previous LGA1155 build, and might just be 'normal' for modern AMD sockets? Just take your time and don't 'force' anything where you could lose control of your tools and damage something!

After the CPU and cooler this is nice and easy, but maybe specific to my motherboard, not as easy as it should be. Take your RAM sticks and orientate them correctly to the socket slot near the CPU+Cooler we just fitted. They only go in one way so should be easy to work out.

Your ram slot has a moveable arm on one side, so push that down to it's 'open' position. Next fit the other end of the RAM into the non-open end of the slot. It won't take much force for it to slot into place. You can gently use a little wiggle action to ensure the whole length of the RAM is sitting in place. Once it is in place that open arm bracket will pop back into it's 'closed' position. Then just go along the length of your RAM and push down to ensure it is seated fully. You should not see much (if any) of the gold tooth connection edge once it is seated properly. Visually inspect the RAM to check for a level and secure fit. Repeat this process until all the RAM you have is fitted (there are 2x slots on most m-iTX boards.

I had to pay more attention than normal to this process on this MSI B450I board. On first boot the mobo EZ-debug lights for the SDRAM came on and it would not boot. On further inspection it was because one of the RAM modules needed to be pushed down another 1mm or so to be perfectly fitted (even if the arm was closed and locked in place!).

Next i recommend fitting the front panel headers before placing the motherboard into the CORE 500 case. It is much easier than doing it inside a tiny m-iTX case! So get out that motherboard manual and study the diagrams to ensure you fit those tiny little connectors correctly! Also pay attention to thread them through the correct parts of the case so when you fit the motherboard in their cables are in the right places. You could fit other cables now if you prefer (like the main PSU power connector etc) but i find the cables can get a bit unruly.

4. Fit the motherboard in the case.

I removed the rear 140mm fan from the CORE 500 case first, just to give a little more room.

There are four 'feet' on the floor of the case that your motherboard will sit on and be screwed down onto. Be really careful to not scratch/drag the bottom of the motherboard on these as you fit it in. There is not a lot of room with the PSU in place and negotiating the bits of metal on the rear I/O shield make this process a little fiddly.

The best tactic seemed to be to angle the board about 20-30 degrees from front (near the PSU) to back (near the I/O shield). Where the end near the PSU is raised higher than the rear. This will enable you to wiggle the board into the I/O shield slots while avoiding contact with the motherboard connection feet on the rear of the case. Once the back I/O is lined up you should be able to lower the rest of the board down to sit on the 4 motherboard supports. Simply screw those in place to complete the fitting.

5. Attach the GPU, Storage and the rest of the cables.

Check through your motherboard manual and fitting instructions, you don't want to miss anything out!

I fitted an 500GB SSD in the front position of the case (It sits under the front 'face' of the case) and a 128GB SSD on the front most side mount. Later i will add a large HDD and that will be my four SATA-600 connectors used up (the DVD-ROM takes one also).

The GPU, the GTX 1650 Super, was no problem to fit. Keep in mind in this case you are restricted to a dual-slot GPU (so some of those EVGA 3 slot cards will not fit!).


(Above: That GPU is not a 1650 Super! It's an old 750Ti i had spare when testing for space)

A few notes on the specific hardware i am using. The cables from the front of the case are way too long (maybe twice as long as they need to be for a m-iTX case!) and i ended up having to coil up the slack on-top of the DVD-ROM. Also i was using a modular PSU and that area where the cables connect soon became pretty full of cable. If i was using a long (large) GPU i'd need to come up with a solution for that. As it is the planned 1660Ti (dual fan) i intend to buy at some point should be ok at a max length of around 265cm. Anything up-to 255cm will not reach the PSU cable connections and fit easily, after that you are pushing up against some of the PSU cables.

Also this MSI board just has one fan header, so i needed to get a fan splitter cable as i wanted a second fan to suck air down into the main compartment of the case. If doing this same thing make sure all the cables and fans match up (in my case i went with 4-pin versions). I opted for a 140mm BeQuiet fan set up to suck air into the case from the top-down position behind the DVD-ROM cage.

Once you have connected everything you plan to, have a go at some cable management. There are not a huge number of options in such a small case, but i used all the cable ties i could to keep things as neat as possible and leave the main chamber uncluttered.

6. Plugin the power and flip the switch and power ON.

I still have the case cover off at this stage as i want to be able to see the MSI boards error LED's just in case. For the first power on i got the SDRAM light showing up, and needed to wiggle that one stick of RAM just that 1mm more into place.

Connected to a monitor via a DVI socket (NOTE: HDMI or DP will likely not work under Windows 7 until you have installed drivers!) and with keyboard and mouse all hooked up we are ready to start the machine. Once you have pressed the power on button on the case you will have to wait a little before getting the message that no OS was found on the system. Once you get that message you can be pretty certain everything is working.

However it is a good idea to reboot and enter BIOS (check your mobo manual for the key to do this, on this hardware it was the Delete key).

Once in the UEFI BIOS screen i needed to click XMP (and select 'Profile 2') then do a further tweak deeper in the settings to set the RAM to run at the correct 3000Mhz.

Ran system on for an hour and all temps 30-36 degrees C. The SSD in front was 'hottest', the CPU the 'coolest'. Happy with those results and the very quiet case fans.

It is worth having a look around the BIOS to see where things are. Oh and congratulations if you got this far and everything worked. Next up we will look at installing our OS on this system.


(Above: Some more on the storage options. As it is with 2xSSD (one boot drive for Windows 7 and Linux Mint each), and the DVD-ROM i just have one internal SATA port left for the HDD. I have two decent options to place it and will probably go with the option above as it is easier to get to, and likely gets a little more air-flow).

That is the end of part 1, which is dealing with the hardware build. Next up i will post the OS installation as i work it out! :)
Last edited by ZakGordon on Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:19 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . Also a move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial
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Re: Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot build guide 2019/2020

Post by ZakGordon »

Build steps: B - The OS.

The very first thing is to ensure only ONE of your boot drives is attached to the system. In this case i unplugged the smaller 128GB SSD and just had the 500GB EVO SSD connected. This is to ensure we keep both OS totally independent of one another to help avoid any future boot issues with two different OS on the system.

At the top i will put a number of handy links to various forums and sites that help deal with Windows 7 and Ryzen systems:

https://forums.guru3d.com/threads/ryzen ... -7.424909/

https://www.anandtech.com/show/11182/ho ... dows-7-x64

https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/7 ... windows_7/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/7 ... _on_ryzen/

Just going through those you can see how hard MS has tried to make it for people building new systems with Windows 7.


The first issue to think about is Windows 7, as your DVD you may own (like me) is so outdated as to be extra problematic. In the end i ended up using the Integrate7 script over on the Windows Seven Forums here:

https://www.sevenforums.com/installatio ... dates.html

There are other ways to do the same thing, and a few options are covered on those forums as well.

In the end i ended up with a roughly 4.8GB iso image i needed to burn on DVD-DL (or you could use a USB key and software to burn the iso onto that), if using a DVD you need the Double Layer disk to hold all the increased Windows 7 data from all the added updates etc.

The process was basically just like in that thread just above. Place a copy (downloaded from MS) of my version of Windows 7 (Pro 64-bit) iso alongside the Integrate7.cmd, make sure i was connected to the internet, then right click on that .cmd file and 'run as administrator'. Then answer a few prompts from the software as it builds your updated iso (it took about 20-30 mins approx).

Then i just burned that finished .iso onto the double layer DVD. You can use a USB key obviously, i just am a bit old-school and like having a DVD. Then all i had to do was insert that DVD into my drive and power on the hardware.

And just to repeat what i had said further up, in this first install setup I needed to use a monitor with DVI (D-sub would be fine as well if you have a GPU with one) connection to get a picture. Using HDMI (and likely DP) gave no picture, so those on Windows 7 might be driver dependent under this set of hardware?

Once i had the display that was when the first difficult issue popped up. I was using a PS/2 keyboard (which was fine), but the USB mouse did not want to be recognised, so i had no mouse control at all. This made it near impossible to for me to access and run the Windows 7 AMD chipset drivers i needed to (amongst other things).

In the end i had to use a mouse in the PS/2 port and that meant i could then use the 'on-screen keyboard'(from the icon at the bottom of the windows install screen) to enter the PC's name and Windows key etc.

Once my new Windows 7 disc had installed i then used a USB key-drive (in one of the USB 2.0 ports near the PS/2 port, USB 3.0 will not work yet!) to transfer the files i needed and was able to access the Motherboard DVD-ROM to install all the drivers i needed.

Once the Windows 7 AMD Ryzen drivers were installed it was a case of needing to go through a few more artificial hoops that MS have put in our way.

The first and biggest is that you will get a message about Windows 7 being unsupported on this modern hardware and thus you can't get Windows Updates. You can not even run a windows KB stand-alone .msu file!This was done quite a while back and is simply MS trying to strong-arm you into getting Windows 10. It is quite a 'nasty' trick to pull though.

Luckily i can report success from using wufuc (latest version in zip form) here:


Using this tool removes MS blocking Windows Updates (either online or offline using .msu files from MS).

*If wufuc does not work for you you can try the newer WuaCpuFix.

IMPORTANT: only use/install one of these at a time. If you installed wufuc and it did not work, uninstall it before installing WuaCpuFix, and vice-versa. Download WuaCpuFix from here:


Then after using either of those tools, you want to get this KB3102810.msu file from MS here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/downloa ... x?id=49540

chuck it on your desktop and double click to 'run' it. After the first fixes that wufuc did, this will now run and is an official 'unblock' of Windows Update.

I ran a test of Windows Update and after 3 minutes approx it did come back with a number of updates to consider (i set Windows Update settings to 'check for updates but let me choose what to install').

The next issue might be that Windows 7 on this Ryzen system would only install in legacy mode. When set to UEFI, all the main SSD's would not be recognised and windows would not boot (you just end up in the legacy BIOS screen).

I have seen some guides online about forcing UEFI mode with Windows 7 (after it had been installed and without data loss) and depending on how the next step goes when installing Linux Mint on the second SSD to set up a dual boot system, i may try that or leave it in legacy mode.

So next up is the Linux Mint dual boot arrangement. Hopefully that will all be done over the next few days!

(coming soon!)
Last edited by ZakGordon on Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:05 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . Also a move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial
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Re: Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot build guide 2019/2020

Post by ZakGordon »

Installing Linux Mint 19.1 XFCE 64 bit:

I Decided to use Linux Mint 19.1 XFCE (instead of Cinnamon) 64 bit on that second SSD (128GB Samsung Pro). That was just a preference as i had bad overheating issues in the past (on very different hardware!) and found XFCE a much lighter (and cooler) build of Linux Mint.

You could just as easily use Cinnamon here if you prefer it.

Why 19.1 and not the latest version of Linux Mint (19.3 currently)?

Habit, in that newer versions of Linux can be more hard work for new Linux users than they are worth (often). However there is a cross-over point in terms of how new your hardware is. The latest hardware might not work well under Linux for a while, and some distro's (versions) of Linux are better at supporting new hardware than others.

It's part of the potential mine-field that using Linux can bring up. So in general i prefer stable versions of Linux (like Linux Mint/Ubuntu) rather than cutting edge as i want a 'windows like' experience as possible (stuff just works).

Then again i knew this build was pretty new in terms of hardware (especially the GPU) but i decided to go with the older (more stable) version of Mint and use 19.1 and take a chance. I also had downloaded a XFCE 19.3 just in case.

As it was all the hardware listed works great under 19.1, so that will do me while 19.3 works on it's stability and other common 'new release' teething issues while i get on with enjoying my new build, trouble free. 19.3 won't run away on me, and i'll get to it when 19.1 runs out of support.

Before i started the install process for Linux Mint i disconnected the previous SSD that had Windows 7 installed on it as outlined above before starting this process. So just that 128 GB SSD was physically connected.

This was to keep both OS completely separate from one another and avoid any issues in terms of conflicts and boot order problems later on.

I let the installer choose to install over the whole SSD (and wipe previous contents as per that choices warning). I did not fiddle around with partitions or anything like that, in part because i've always found that part of Linux Mint about as clear as mud (just the GUI information feedback aspect can be a little confusing as to what exactly is going to be done etc).

No issues and LOTS of updates were found including a bunch of level 4 things like kernels etc. All installed fine and the only issues were below:

Main Problems:

1. Running Driver Manager shows only one thing (no GPU advice!) it auto-selects 'do not use this device' for 'backport-iwlwifi-dkms' which i assume is related to wifi, and as i don't use that on this pc i might leave it alone (but this may be a big issue for others!).

2. Also my display is stuck at max 640x480! Driver Manager offered no help/info about this and I needed to run this in the terminal:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa

Code: Select all

apt update
Hint: read-up on using the Terminal! It looks like a 'DOS prompt in Windows' icon and if not on the panel already, will be in somewhere like LM(linux menu)>Terminal.
Once the black box pops-up simply copy/paste the text given above and follow prompts (you will be asked to input your password). type 'exit' when it all is done.

Then re-run the Driver Manager and select 'nvidia-driver-440' to get my GPU (1650 Super) and monitor (native 1920x1080) properly recognised. No options in the Driver Manager until the above terminal commands were done, which is probably not great for new comers to Mint?

It seemed to me that on 17 and 18 the driver manager would have options for settings up drivers for your GPU by default, without the need to manually add the driver ppa etc? The lack of initial GPU driver choices in Device Manager might be related to the fact the 1650 Super is a very new GPU and so was not recognised?

3. The default scale for text displayed on the now 1920x1080 display seemed super small, as in difficult to read (and i have 20/20 vision!).

I solved that by going into Settings>Appearance from the LM menu, and changing DPI (custom DPI setting) from 100 to 130.

After those steps above i had a functional and usable system. It was a little more work on my end than when i used 17 and 18 previously (this was on a different much older machine though) so in that respect 'we' might have taken a step backwards in ease-of-use/newbie friendliness with Linux Mint 19?

Finishing of the install:

Once Linux Mint was installed and the above issues addressed and i was on the desktop, step one is always to setup the GUFW firewall to make it ON.

LM(Menu button)>Settings>Firewall Configuration

First enter your password on the prompt, this will pop-up the GUI then click that 'status' button so you get the 'tick'. I leave it on default, so Incoming = Deny and Outgoing = Allow and pretty much forget about it (you can close it now via the 'x' window close button).

I do place a shortcut to it on my desktop, just so i can double check from time to time it is all still ON. So from that Settings>Firewall Configuration link, right click and select 'send to desktop'. You can then access the firewall easily from that shortcut icon (nice brickwall!).

One aspect i wanted to get a handle on was how to better control the GPU, i was having an issue with that and the details and solution are in this thread link here:


That might also contain some handy things for others having general issues with their Nvidia GPU in Linux Mint?

Next it was a case of setting the basic system up with a few additions from the Software Manager.

Psensor is a great little GUI tool to monitor system temps.
Hardinfo is a nice utility to get at overall system info in a decent GUI.

After all the above was done i then made a monthly snapshot (by following the link in the Update Manager) using the Rysnc option and changing 'daily' to 'monthly' and keeping just 1 snapshot instead of 2. This used up about 10% of my 128GB SSD space (running at 24% used).

At this point i would consider the Linux Mint (XFCE 64 bit) install part of the build complete (and working 99% for the hardware, that possible wifi issue outstanding).

Now if you are a newcomer from Windows (a Windows 10 refugee perhaps?) then this might be of interest to you, it's a complete overhaul of the Cinnamon GUI to make it look like MS last great OS, Windows 7! info here:

https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/01/mak ... -windows-7

It does require you install Linux Mint Cinnamon (rather than the XFCE i used in this tutorial) but that is as easy to setup and use as XFCE, so should be no problem.

Non-resolved issues:

In Driver Manager from the start i had this entry: Intel Corporation (This device is not working). The three 'tick box' choices are:

1.backport-iwlwifi-dkms(open-source) version 7906-0ubuntu3~18.04.1 (iwlwifi driver backport in DKMS format)
2.continue using a manually installed driver
3.Do not use the device

Option 1 is non-selectable, and the default sets to number 3.Do not use the device.

This looks like being a wifi issue for the hardware on the mobo? But i am not 100% sure, and as i use a direct line into the LAN socket is not an issue for me, but most people will be getting internet over wifi so there will be some hoops to jump through here. I have no idea why the only option in Driver Manager is non-selectable, but it might be relating to a bug in the software offered and losing all network access (a quick duck-duck-go search for the driver 'backport-iwlwifi-dkms' produces many such accounts)?

So if you have similar hardware in terms of wifi adapter, there is more work to be done here.

Next up working out the dual-boot configuration for the whole system so Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and Linux Mint XFCE 64-bit can live happily on this Ryzen 5 1600 system.

How to dual-boot this system:

So we first have an updated and spyware removed (those MS updates that were adding that stuff to windows 7 and 8 updates over the last few years) Windows 7 Pro version thanks to that great Integrate7 script, and it is all official and legit with our Windows legally activated using our legit key from our older m-itx system. I used Macrium Reflect (latest version) to create a back-up image of the whole system that i put on an external WD Black HDD (i'll also burn this to DVD later on).

That Windows 7 Pro OS is on the Samsung SSD 860 EVO 500GB (in C: and i have an E: partition (280GB) for a few games that might need it).

Then we have the Linux Mint XFCE 64-bit OS, fully updated with a few base tools added and image created (snapshot using Rsync and also backed up on the WD Black HDD).

That Linux Mint OS is on the Samsung SSD 840 PRO 128GB (no partitions created on this smallish drive).

In BIOS on this system i have the Windows OS as the main priority boot SSD(Samsung SSD 860 EVO 500GB). This is just because as i use Linux Mint mostly for my connections online (in short i trust it more than an MS OS, security wise and in terms of OS like Windows 10 for the in-built spyware aspect) i will mostly be doing that from my laptop (also running Linux Mint), and this Ryzen m-itx system will mostly be offline and gaming/running programs i use for work etc.

I could easily switch that priority in BIOS so the Linux Mint OS boots up when the PC is switched on, so you have that option also.

Now how to get access to BOTH OS without having to get into BIOS and switch the boot priorities around? I like easy quick clean solutions most of the time and we do have one for this type of build.

For this system (mobo and bios),after booting up, we use the F11 key that when pressed (or tapped slowly) during boot up will give you a Boot Option screen and displays both SSD's on the system that you can choose to boot from. So for when i will be wanting to access Linux Mint on this system i will do that. Otherwise the default boot-up will put me into Windows 7.

The main advantage of this is you avoid messing with each OS boot loader, so can avoid any trouble from that. Also if one SSD goes down you will have little pain using the other as the main boot up OS, so the overall system will be back up and running under that remaining OS.

Each OS system is kept clean and separate, which can be particularly important if you are crazy enough to want to use Windows 10 in a dual boot with Linux situation as Windows 10 LOVES to take over the boot loader process and cut your access to Linux (if we judge by the number of requests for help in dealing with that!).

If i wanted to make extra work for myself I could have both OS appear on a bootloader/grub menu thing, but KISS works for me in this particular case. YMMV.


There we have it! A modern(ish) system that avoids Windows 10 but stays secure if online (under Linux Mint), while keeping the practicality of Windows 7 Pro for things it does best (like games and some non-linux software).

Both OS function perfectly with the hardware listed, tests on temps and performances are good across both platforms.

I DO need to push the gaming test of the Linux Mint system, having just ran Battle for Wesnoth natively in Linux so far, BUT we did setup the GTX1650 Super so atleast the fan curve could be adjusted and we have scope for OC stuff via GWE if ever needed (not that i'm a fan of OC'ing in general).

I think this is job done and i hope it provides some useful advice (and confidence to try!) for others looking to do similar builds.

Finally thanks to Clem and all the Linux Mint team for being there in these dark times of Windows 10 (and general increasing invasion of privacy from our 'tech'). You are all beyond awesome.

P.S. Mint Team: Please add 'Paysafe' payment options (as seen on GOG.COM for an example) so i can give you some money from time to time! :D
Last edited by ZakGordon on Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . Also a move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial
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Re: Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot build guide 2019/2020

Post by ZakGordon »

Addendum note:

note 1:

The integrate7 script removes System Restore from Windows 7. You will want to use Macrium Reflect (or other image tool) to create a system image once you have the above install setup. So you have a means of recovery if things go *wrong.

*In this case the 'things that went wrong' were specifically to do with using some MSI utilitiy tools for this motherboard in the build above and Win7. I will now stay away from 'Command Center', 'Live Update 6' and 'X boost'. I have no idea which individual software broke the system, as i had ran all three around the same time.

But after two months of perfect use (in dual-boot, using both OS, gaming in Windows etc) after using these utilities i ended up having to do a reinstall of both OS (in effect); my system was seriously messed up (slow 1 min pause prior to booting into bios screen etc). I have an open thread on the MSI forums explaining the detail and will see if i get any answers on what went wrong (i did not!).

note 2:

Make sure you are running the latest kernels for a Ryzen based CPU. Update Manager>View>Linux kernels. Currently these are the latest of the 5.3 ones [Updated: 5.4.0-40 solved a rare system freeze issue], but always look for the latest if running new hardware.

note 3:

In the Bios tweak the default CPU (and extra case fan if you fitted one) fan settings to allow it to blow more aggressively earlier. In such a small case you need to help the CPU out a little more, and i found after heavy tasks (like Handbrake encoding) the default setup would give me around 75-79 degrees C on the CPU (idle=30-40. gaming=50-63).

I adjusted the fan settings to ramp up harder and sooner (with 100% from 67 degrees C) and now it hits a peak of around 70 after a long hard CPU thrashing. Much better, and the fan noise is pretty decent on this build, you mostly won't notice it :)
Last edited by ZakGordon on Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . Also a move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot (Win7/Mint) & build guide 2019/2020

Post by BrianI »

Nice build! Looks ideal for an HTPC.

Interesting you went for Mint XFCE rather than Cinnamon :-)
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot (Win7/Mint) & build guide 2019/2020

Post by mr_raider »

BrianI wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:42 am
Nice build! Looks ideal for an HTPC.

Interesting you went for Mint XFCE rather than Cinnamon :-)
I used this for the wife's office PC:

https://www.asrock.com/nettop/AMD/DeskM ... %20Series/

Pretty small footprint. Stuffed in a 2200g.
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Mini Itx Ryzen Dual Boot (Win7/Mint) & build guide 2019/2020

Post by BrianI »

mr_raider wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:10 am
BrianI wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:42 am
Nice build! Looks ideal for an HTPC.

Interesting you went for Mint XFCE rather than Cinnamon :-)
I used this for the wife's office PC:

https://www.asrock.com/nettop/AMD/DeskM ... %20Series/

Pretty small footprint. Stuffed in a 2200g.
looking good! My current "HTPC" is my old desktop system, an Intel Core2 Duo E5200, with 4gb ram, and an NVidia GT1030 silent gpu. Works fine, if a bit bulky as it needs to sit next to the tv cabinet rather than inside it. Not worth spending my upgrading it though!
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