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[Solved] Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:52 am
by busdriver12
Sorry if this is not in the right part of the forum as this is both a newbie and installation question.

I am in the throes of preparing my machine for moving to Linux and I have chosen LinuxMint. My research to date suggests this is the best distro to start with. I have downloaded LinuxMint 19.2 Cinnamon and have live booted it a few times as I was reading along various topics/issued discussed online. I am currently using Windows 7 64bit SP1 and intend to dual boot until I can get everything I use up and running under Linux. The windows partition will be there for the foreseeable future.

Before I start, I am backing up my important stuff (I have a 2Tb external HDD for backup). I use batch files to simplify the process (I still have some of my old DOS habits)

My research to date suggests I need to:

1. Disable Secure Boot - I have been through my BIOS a number of times and cannot find anywhere there is this function is (I'll put my system specs at the bottom of this post for clarity).
2. Disable Fast Startup in Windows - I have followed the steps and cannot find it on the power settings of Windows 7. I suspect this is a feature introduced into Windows 8 and may not apply to me.
3. Create a new partition for Linux - There is a bit of conflicting information about this. One school of thought is to create a partition for Linux before and another is to create it during installation. Not sure which way to go here.

Motherboard: ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8Z77-V LX (LGA1155)
CPU: Intel Core i7 3770 @ 3.40GHz
RAM: 8.00GB
HDD: 931GB Seagate ST1000DM003 (1TB)

TIA for any tips/pointers

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:02 am
by deepakdeshp

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:18 am
by decrepit
Hi Busdriver12,

This is as good a place as ant to start with, and welcome.

I'm along way from being a guru, but have a similar setup to yours. My understanding is that windows 7 vintage, doesn't have the same problems with secure boot and faststart up as windows 10 and perhaps 8 does. Any way I've never bothered trying to disable them, and haven't had any problems with several distros dual booting.
As to creating partitions, I've done that both ways, and I don't think there's a lot of difference, the live usb comes with gparted and you use the same program before or during the install.
I always choose "other" for the installation and set the partitions the way I want.

Another thing to consider is a separate partition for home, again there's divided opinion on this, and I've done it both ways. But having it separate does mean when you install another OS you don't loose your data.
With that size HDD you don't need to limit your self to one distro, but as far as my experience goes, this is the best choice.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:26 am
by carum carvi
busdriver12 wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:52 am
I am currently using Windows 7 64bit SP1 and intend to dual boot until I can get everything I use up and running under Linux. The windows partition will be there for the foreseeable future.

My research to date suggests I need to:

1. Disable Secure Boot -
2. Disable Fast Startup in Windows
3. Create a new partition for Linux
Welcome to the LinuxMint forum busdriver12!

I have had a successful dual boot install with Windows7 and LinuxMint for years. The research you did only applies to Windows8 and Windows10 computers. If your computer had Windows7 installed from the beginning it wont have secure boot, neither will it have fast startup. Things are only easier to install, because they are not present.

You dont need to create a partition for LinuxMint yourself either. You can, but you dont have to, because during the installation process of LinuxMint you will be automatically offered the possibility of " Installing LinuxMint alongside Windows7". The new partition will be automatically created by the LinuxMint installer. Much easier and safer than starting to create partitions yourself.

Installing LinuxMint on an old Windows7 computer is a lot easier than on a Windows 8 or 10 computer! But a lot of website advice for dual boot nowadays is directed towards Windows 8 and 10 users. All their particular problems will not be present with Windows 7 fortunately. Good luck with installing LinuxMint busdriver12! And if you have any questions feel free to ask. There are many friendly and experienced forummembers who are glad to be of help. :D

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:45 am
by AndyMH
With win7 you don't need to worry about secure boot and fast boot, that applies to win8+. Win7 will probably have been installed in legacy mode, this puts a limit on the number of partitions you can have. Legacy allows for 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions and an extended partition (where you can put logical partitions - a bit of a kludge to overcome the 4 primary partition limit).

If you boot the mint installation media and open up a terminal and run sudo parted -l (that's lower case L) it will show you the current partition scheme, e.g.:

Code: Select all

Model: ATA CT500MX500SSD1 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 500GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: msdos   <<<<<< a legacy partition table
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system     Flags
 1      1049kB  53.9GB  53.9GB  primary   ext4            boot
 2      53.9GB  498GB   444GB   extended
 6      53.9GB  71.1GB  17.2GB  logical   linux-swap(v1)
 5      71.1GB  498GB   427GB   logical   ext4
You will probably see two partitions, win and a win recovery partition. The whole disk will be used and you will have to reduce the size of the win C: partition to make space. You can do this in win or run gparted from the mint installation media. Suggest you turn of virtual memory in win first - this gets rid of pagefile.sys which win tends to stick at the end of the partition and limits your ability to reduce its size. This is somewhere in control panel > system. Once you have resized win C: you can turn virtual memory back on.

You can leave the space unallocated and choose the 'install alongside' option or (using gparted) you can create a partition for / and choose 'something else' during install and point mint at the partition you have created and tell it to use it for /. In the example above, I created a primary partition for / and then put everything else inside an extended partition. With LM19.x you don't need a swap partition (mint will use a swap file) and I also have a separate partition for /home. Note - all the linux partitions are formatted ext4.

Although some argue against it, I prefer a separate /home partition (this is where all your data and config files live). It makes life easier in the future, e.g. an upgrade to LM20.0. If you go down this route make / in the order of 30GB (mine is a bit over the top at 50GB) and /home as large as you want.

When I first started with mint, I did what you want to do - dual boot with win7. I've now moved onto the next stage, mint is my primary OS and I run win7 in a VM using virtualbox. This takes care of the few windows programs I can't or won't do without.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:38 am
by athi
AndyMH, nice detailed tutorial on Win7 dual boot.

busdriver12, sounds like you are doing all the relevant research which should yield a smooth Mint installation. Your hardware is also in the good zone for Linux support (with no pesky wifi) and should be good for quite a few years of usage with Mint.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:50 am
by AndyMH
Thanks athi :)

Just checked (wasn't sure first time round), you can see what partition table is being used in gparted (probably easier than using a terminal), in gparted view > device information:
Screenshot from 2019-08-18 13-48-47.png

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:57 am
by Pierre
Hi phil,
you should have an fairly straight-forward effort in installing that dual_boot system.
& with that win-7 system, you can just use the Installer's partitioning menu, to set the size, for each system,
- - by adjusting the slider with your mouse, to move that slider, to give what size you desire for each system.
then just click on Next, to continue with the actual installation.

this is something, that I've done, on one of my Desktop Machines, that still had win-7 installed.
- - it was an very easy installation, for sure.
8)

NB: you should, at some point, also update that win-7, up to win-10, fairly soon.. .
- - this was done on that same Desktop, as well, and it runs win-10 & LM19x as an dual_boot.
on an 500Gb HDD, split into two partitions. .. ms-dos mode works well .. much easier than using GPT style partitioning.
that you would get on any later version windows machine.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:54 pm
by lsemmens
Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux. You'll find plenty of help and opinions here. :D

Whilst Pierre is correct that you should look at updating W7 to W10 soon, I'd ask the question, WHY? Unless you are going to persist with windows on-line, and it is doing all you need it to do, I fail to see the point.

I went pure Linux some time back and the only time I've even considered needing WIndowoes was that I liked using Sketchup. Even that is not "mission critical" so I live without. The world has yet to end, so life goes on.

DO you need windows for anything? If not. load Linux and forget M$.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:16 am
by busdriver12
Firstly, many thanks to all of you for your comprehensive replies. You've given me a lot to digest! I'm glad I don't have to worry about the Disable Secure Boot/Disable Fast Startup issues - it sort of justifies my decision to stick with Windows 7 to the bitter end (MS discontinuing support from Jan 14 next year).

Going on your replies, I think I'll let the installer take care of partitions - I feel happier doing it under Linux that in Windows. This reminds me of when I used Partition Magic under DOS many years ago.

Once I get Linux up and running (live boot has it's limitations) I am going to get to understand how things work in Linux and slowly migrate my regular usage in Windows to Linux. I will eventually wind back my Windows time so that I get to the point where Windows is only used for those applications that I cannot do with Linux.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:27 am
by busdriver12
AndyMH wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:45 am

You will probably see two partitions, win and a win recovery partition. The whole disk will be used and you will have to reduce the size of the win C: partition to make space. You can do this in win or run gparted from the mint installation media. Suggest you turn of virtual memory in win first - this gets rid of pagefile.sys which win tends to stick at the end of the partition and limits your ability to reduce its size. This is somewhere in control panel > system. Once you have resized win C: you can turn virtual memory back on.
As I indicated on my first reply, I'll resize the Windows partition in gparted. Thanks for the virtual memory tip - as part of digesting all this information I also had a hibernation file (hiberfil.sys which I never used) using up space which I have since disabled.
Although some argue against it, I prefer a separate /home partition (this is where all your data and config files live). It makes life easier in the future, e.g. an upgrade to LM20.0. If you go down this route make / in the order of 30GB (mine is a bit over the top at 50GB) and /home as large as you want.
This makes a lot of sense to me and will go down this path - Tnx!
When I first started with mint, I did what you want to do - dual boot with win7. I've now moved onto the next stage, mint is my primary OS and I run win7 in a VM using virtualbox. This takes care of the few windows programs I can't or won't do without.
I hope to be able to do this at some stage in the future. Over the years I have written some elaborate VBA scripts with Excel and as I use them at work I will have to retain this link with the Windows world as I do bring some of my work home.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:47 am
by busdriver12
Pierre wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:57 am
NB: you should, at some point, also update that win-7, up to win-10, fairly soon.. .
This is actually what started me on this journey. I got the message from MS that they were discontinuing support for Win 7 in January next year which made me think maybe it was time to move to Win 10 (FWIW my wife had Win 10 on her laptop). I started looking into it and discovered that it was even more bloated and what worried me was that you could not control when to do updates - something I've done manually in Win 7. There is a lot of backdoor stuff going on and the general spying was not acceptable to me. As an aside, I changed my default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo (thanks Firefox). This made me think of Linux and I stumbled upon Chris Titus' Youtube channel where he did a 30 day switching to Liuux challenge. He spoke highly of LinuxMint and why to dump Windows (10) which brought me here and after looking around, settled on LinuxMint as my starting point.

I have done a lot of reading and have been making notes and bookmarks of everything useful I've come across, as I'll know I'll need to refer back to it at some time in the future and hopefully be able to help someone as you folks have done with me :)

Looking forward to the Linux adventure!

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:05 am
by derrick1120
One thing I'll add, is a bookmark for your reference. It's a guide written by one of this forum's senior members, and is a go to guide re installation, and things to do / consider immediately afterwards https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.com/p/1.html

I moved to Mint last October. I dual boot - but rarely dip into Windows these days. I did have W7 like you, but updated to W10 after I had installed Mint - with no issues. My 9 year old Laptop runs very sluggish on W10, but very responsive on Mint (MATE). I'm loving the Mint experience so far. Highly recommended.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:35 am
by pbear
busdriver12 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:16 am
I think I'll let the installer take care of partitions
Be aware, you're still going to have tell the installer how much space to allocate to Mint. Figure out before you start installation. Two numbers drive the decision. How big is your hard drive? How much space does Win7 occupy? What are those numbers, by the way?

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:40 am
by Moem
pbear wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:35 am
busdriver12 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:16 am
I think I'll let the installer take care of partitions
Be aware, you're still going to have tell the installer how much space to allocate to Mint.
Are you sure? I seem to remember that if you tell it to 'install alongside', it will simply fill up the free space that it finds.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:22 pm
by AndyMH
Over the years I have written some elaborate VBA scripts with Excel
Likewise, and because I've been using Excel for 30 years I'm not about to change. So I have Excel 2013 running under crossover (as this was work related I was happy to pay rather than using wine) and I also have win7 running in a VM with Office 2016. Have some heavy duty spreadsheets and performance is fine. The closest look-a-like to excel I've found is WPS office, it's Chinese and no VBA, so okay for simple stuff but not work.

One other thought - in my win days I always partitioned my hard drive so I had a C: and a D:, kept all my data on D:, no data on C:. I did this because I would backup D: daily and C: infrequently (only when I installed something new). When I moved to linux and dual booted I kept my D: and then mounted that partition in mint as /home/me/data. Data sharing/exchange between the two OS was seamless - linux can read/write NTFS partitions (win can't read ext4 partitions). It also meant that the backup regime I put in place for linux took care of my win data as well. Something else for you to think about.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:30 pm
by athi
Moem wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:40 am
pbear wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:35 am
busdriver12 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:16 am
I think I'll let the installer take care of partitions
Be aware, you're still going to have tell the installer how much space to allocate to Mint.
Are you sure? I seem to remember that if you tell it to 'install alongside', it will simply fill up the free space that it finds.
That is true if you have enough free space or adding another SSD/HDD. On a typical installation, all available space on the SSD/HDD are used and you need to tell the installer how much to shrink Windows partition to allocate to Mint.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:37 pm
by Moem
athi wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:30 pm
On a typical installation, all available space on the SSD/HDD are used and you need to tell the installer how much to shrink Windows partition to allocate to Mint.
Fair enough... I think I've done that from inside Windows in the past.

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:03 pm
by phd21
Hi Phil "busdriver12",

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux Mint and its excellent forum!

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

Sounds like you are doing all the right things for preparing to install and use Linux Mint.

First, If you have not made a drive image backup of your current system, then I would highly recommend that you do that using a drive imaging program like the free Clonezilla Live or another one to your external USB drive.

As has been mentioned, you do not need to partition your current drive for installing Linux Mint (although you could) because you can install it "along side" of the currently installed operating system.

Phil (phd21)

...

Re: Setting up for move to Linux

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:35 pm
by pbear
Moem wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:37 pm
athi wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:30 pm
On a typical installation, all available space on the SSD/HDD are used and you need to tell the installer how much to shrink Windows partition to allocate to Mint.
Fair enough... I think I've done that from inside Windows in the past.
Indeed, that's the recommended procedure. The OP, though, says he would rather do it with the installer. Both ways work.