Install Linux Mint as Only Operating System

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Creating a single boot (only Linux on your computer) is very easy. This how-to will help you a bit with that.

Contents of this page:

Create an external backup of your documents

1. Backup all your documents, pictures, music et cetera, on an external storage volume (DVD-RW, external USB hard disk, flash memory stick).

Simplify your hardware

2. It's important to simplify your hardware: temporarily unplug all peripherals from your computer, except for display, mouse, keyboard and printer. Do you use an USB hub? Then remove that temporarily as well, and connect mouse, keyboard and printer directly to the USB ports in your computer.

After the installation you can reconnect all your peripherals again; they'll probably work out of the box then.

Wire your computer: temporarily establish internet connection with an ethernet cable, wired internet therefore. If you have a laptop, connect the power cord as well: you definitely don't want to run the risk of an empty battery during the installation of an operating system.

The actual installation

3. a. Boot your computer from the Mint DVD or USB thumb drive (are the BIOS settings OK for booting from that?), and choose "Check the integrity of the medium", thus performing an integrity check on the DVD / USB thumb drive. The DVD has to be completely error free. If it's not, burn a new DVD at low speed (4 x).

b. A few seconds after a successful completion if the check, the Mint DVD will boot automatically. In the trial (live) session you can find out if all your hardware works like it should. Note: in the live session Mint functions much slower than usual!

c. You can start the installation by clicking the special desktop shortcut for it, called "Install Linux Mint". The installer will start by asking you a couple of questions. Only after you have made a choice for partitioning, installation will begin.

You'll be presented with this window (click on the picture to enlarge it):

Tick: Install multimedia codecs and click "Continue".

Note: did you get a window which also gives you the option to turn off secure boot? Then it's easiest to abort the installation, turn off secure boot in your UEFI (BIOS) settings and start the installation anew.

Because the option "Turn off Secure Boot" in the installer is a bit cumbersome: further on it'll force you to jump through some annoying hoops. Nonsense like: "type the third and the sixth letter of your disabling password".

Turning off secure boot in the UEFI (BIOS) is easier. No worries: although Secure Boot is a fairly reasonable idea in theory, it provides little real-life security anyway. So disabling it is no loss. In practice, Secure Boot is primarily an obstacle for using another operating system than Microsoft Windows. Which might or might not be an intended side effect.

Afterwards you can start the installation of Linux Mint anew.

Then choose the option Erase disk and install Linux Mint.

Note: When you don't have much experience with Linux yet, then do not select the LVM option in the Advanced features! Because that drastic option is only meant for advanced Linux users. This option can cause a lot of trouble for people with little Linux experience....

The Encrypt option is also potentially risky; only use it when it has a clear security advantage. For example on a computer that sometimes leaves your house and which contains sensitive information (like a laptop that you take with you to your work).

But don't apply the Encrypt option on a computer that's always in your house, like a desktop computer which is only in use by you and your family.

The disadvantage of encryption is, that your important data will be forever unreachable when you, for example, forget your password. Encryption is a very powerful tool; like all powerful tools, it should be handled with care.

Finally, click Install Now and let the installer do its magic.

Done! What's next?

4. That's it! You're done. Now you can reboot into Mint and start polishing your new operating system. Mint comes in several desktop editions, so I've made three different pages:

10 things to do after installing Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop

10 things to do after installing Linux Mint with the MATE desktop

10 things to do after installing Linux Mint with the Xfce desktop

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