One way to install mint to your hard drive is to use MINT4WIN which allows you dual boot a windows and mint install. It allows mint to be installed and run from within a virtual Windows loop device (as a large image file that is managed like any other Windows program via the Windows Control Panel).  The operating system can then be removed similar to any other Windows software again using the Windows Control Panel. This method requires no partitioning of the hard drive. It is only useful for Windows users; it is not meant for permanent installations because it incurs a slight performance loss.
This is not really dual booting as mint is installed in a file within windows, you can find he install folder called mint in the root of the c: drive. Do Not  delete this folder or you will have trouble booting your original  windows system.

Download your choice of mint iso - This tutorial  uses the now outdated Mint 12 LXDE.

From windows just download the mint4win file and the iso and make sure they are both in the same directory.

In some cases but not all, mint4win is included in the root folder of the iso image.


Start mint4win.Double click on the mint4win and enter
Add your name, password and change the size of the install to your requirements. Press install when ready.



  Once installed click on reboot now then  finish

After you reboot you will find a new boot screen  offering windows and mint as start options dependant on your original operating system

Here is the windows XP boot screen
The Windows 7 boot screen


Once started for the first time mint will continue to make its virtual system inside windows. 

You will see the mint wallpaper while it installs - unfortunately it takes over your machine while installing, just leave it alone while it works.

When loading has completed you will be presented with the login page, (This is the LXDE version of Mint12) enter your name press enter; then your password finally press enter to go to the desktop.
The standard desktop ready for you to use and customise.

Changing Boot Options

By default, Mint4Win will leave Windows as the default operating system, and will give you 10 seconds at boot to choose to boot into Linux Mint. To change this, boot into Windows and enter Advanced system settings in your start menu search.

Click Settings under Startup and Recovery

From this dialog, you can select the default operating system and the time to display list of operating systems. You can enter a lower number to make the boot screen appear for less time.

Uninstall Linux Mint

If you that you don’t want to keep Linux Mint, you can easily uninstall it just like you would any other program installed in Windows. Open Control Panel, select Uninstall a program, and then browse to the Linux Mint entry. Click Uninstall/Change in the toolbar.

You can of course start the mint4win program tell it to install and it will remove the existing install before asking you to install again at this point press cancel



You can expect disk performance to be a bit lower (bouncing through NTFS isn't exactly ideal), and you're still somewhat at the mercy of Windows. If your Windows install goes pear-shaped, you may lose access to your mint4win install, too.

Compared with a regular installation, a mint4win installation faces some limitations. Hibernation is not supported and the file system is more vulnerable to hard reboots. Also, if the Windows drive is unmounted uncleanly (most commonly because of a Windows crash), Mint will not be able to mount the Windows drive and boot until Windows has successfully booted and shut down. If the Windows system cannot be booted after the crash, the user also cannot boot Mint.

Performance related to hard-disk access is also slightly slower, more so if the disk image file is fragmented, on a mint4win install compared to a normal one.



The above is partially outdated but still useful - once you restart your computer and boot into mint  you now have to run the  installer again from the mint desktop as it just accesses the live cd/dvd environment, this time it will do a full install to the windows file system. - Also Ubuntu will discontinue wubi which mint4win is based upon so this will possibly affect availability of this type of install.

Last updated on 04/14/2013, 12:41:24.