Advice Request Which Linux Distro is the best for dual boot

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BoraMurdar

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Taking advantage of the gain and your experience, linux mint XFCE tends to be light compared to other versions of linux mint, what do you tell me about Linux Mint Debian Edition? Thanks!
Well, I installed it on my old Dell laptop (Celeron T3100, 2GB DDR2 , 256GB SSD (SATA II speeds) and it works very well and fast.
XFCE is probably more responsive (lighter) than LMDE but I like the idea behind ditching Ubuntu and go directly with Debian sources.
 

Captain Holly

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I must have done some serious damage yesterday monkeying around with the partitions and usb's. Restoring back to Monday did not work, I got an error message saying it might be due to my antivirus. My old Lenovo had BD Free on it. I removed it and decided to just wipe the drive and clean reinstall Windows. That didn't work either and all the error message on it said was Windows was unable to install.

So I used the Lenovo One Key Recovery tool that restored the original partition and removed everything else. There wasn't much on the laptop to begin with anyway. It restored Windows back to version 1607 from 2018. Right now it's updating and a few of the updates are old too. It looks like it will take some time to bring the laptop back to the future but I am letting it cook for now.

This is turning out to be quite an interesting learning experience for me. Lucky for me this old Lenovo is not my daily driver and it had no important data on it at all, so if I do blow it to Kingdom Come, it will not be any great loss. I do hope I can get the laptop and Linux both to work though.

C H.
 
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Captain Holly

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I thought I would update here again since I went through a lot with my Linux trial run. I wanted to try Linux on this older laptop so that in case something went wrong it would not damage my regular daily driver newer laptop. I surely did cause some problems in Windows when I first tried to create and run that live Linux USB. Restoring and resetting did not fix it either. I had to use the Lenovo One Key Recovery tool which got the laptop working again but on a very outdated version of Windows. I then used the Windows Update Assistant app to upgrade to 22H2 yesterday. It took forever but the good thing was it finally did work and the laptop was back to 22H2 when it was done. The laptop did work but the bad thing was it also restored a bunch of old files that must have dated back to when I first bought the laptop in 2018. It also had a huge file named Windows.old with my old Windows files in it. This laptop has a 1TB hard drive and after that update it was almost completely full with maybe 35 GB of available space left. I thought I had destroyed the laptop but I wound up deleting the C drive in Disk Management and then re-installing Windows from the recovery flash drive I made a few days ago. The laptop and Windows are all running fine now, did a few updates and got rid of unwanted pre-installed apps and everything works fine, actually better than before my Linux experiment.

As to Linux, yes I got it to work, created the live USB today with little trouble, still never could get Rufus to work but the UUI app worked fine and I booted into the USB and was running Mint in no time. I liked some of the features of Mint. I really like how Firefox looks in it, the graphics and font nearly pop right off the screen. It is very sharp. Linux itself though is kind of overwhelming for me. There are a lot of apps and functions in it that I just do not understand and likely would never use. The way the files are set up and used is too foreign to me. I just don't know enough about it yet to use it very well. I spent 30 minutes just trying to find the eject function to remove that live USB. I finally gave up and removed it after I shut down the laptop. There are a lot of aspects in Linux that are really impressive, but I need to learn a great deal more about how Linux works before I try to use it on a regular daily basis. I still have the live USB and I might tinker around with it more in the future but for now I think I should stick with the familiar Windows.

C.H.
 

anirbandutta01

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Jun 18, 2022
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I also recommend Ubuntu family however, I personally do not like Ubuntu itself because of the decisions which Canonical is making.

I would recommend POP_OS from System76 and ZorinOS.

ZorinOS is more focusing on stability and has the nicest (IMO) customized Gnome interface.

With both I am using Wayland as my graphics card is Radeon and I am more than happy with them.

As @Gandalf_The_Grey mentioned before, Ubunto has one of the strongest communities and also one of the best hardware support.
Zorin is very good but professional version. I think free version lacks many features that's why professional version.
 

anirbandutta01

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That is very true!

I had to go double check my system incase Fedora just did that automatically for me and I didn't realize it hehe, but yes in my case the boot efi's are on separate disks...so far so good knock on wood.:D I do agree though that your approach is the correct one.

To be very honest Linux has come a long ways and continues to improve each year. While it still may not be on par with Windows in-terms of the overall software availability, in most cases unless you are running very specific software you can probably get by with another version on Linux. Heck even using the online version of Office is a great alternative if you need Office, but don't need every bell and whistle that comes with the desktop version of Office.

Even gaming has come a long ways where the vast majority of games work very well, including newer AAA titles thanks in large part from Valve. There are still some instances where some games do not work, but it's getting less and less IMHO. For example I dual boot on my gaming rig just incase there is a game I want to play, but doesn't work on Linux. In the last year and a half ever since I set it up this way, I only boot into Windows just to keep it up to date...I don't actually use it to game, all my gaming is done on Linux.

In terms of secure boot, I know Fedora works fine with secure boot. I think any distro with SystemD boot works fine as well (ie: Pop!_OS, Arch, EndeavourOS (based off Arch). I haven't tried Ubuntu with secure boot but it may work as well. You would just have to do some researching just to be sure. I think it use to be a bigger problem than it is now, but I think it's starting to become less of a problem as time goes on.

Same here,

While I Love Arch and installed it myself (it's actually even easier now thanks to the built-in install script), I think it still would be very daunting and probably drive you crazy to the point you may avoid Linux entirely. Unless you really want to challenge yourself, I think the best approach would be to start with a well established distro such as Ubuntu just to get familiar with how Linux works and what the terms mean. From there you can try out other distros including Arch.

Arch does have really good guides and stuff via the Arch wiki...the problem though is it's very much written at a level where they assume you already know the terminology and how to get around. For someone new who has never tried Linux, trying to make sense of it would be trying to learn a new language entirely.
/boot partition is essential or not? what is EFI partiton ? My system type is MBR so I want to know /boot & EFI
 

anirbandutta01

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Jun 18, 2022
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@anirbandutta01, having an MBR-type partition will make installing any Linux Distribution on your computer easier. Nowadays, more computers/laptops are shipping with UEFI. Some computer manufacturers may not allow you to disable Secure Boot. Anyway, for an easy tutorial for dual-booting Windows 10 & Linux Mint, I use this tutorial from itsfoss.com. This installation guide breaks down (step-by-step) instructions on how to dual-boot and install Linux Mint. I will mention you don't have to set up the partition beforehand. When installing Linux Mint, there is an option where Linux Mint does the partitioning for you when selecting Install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10. However, if you want a separate home partition (/home), manually partitioning your hard drive for Linux Mint might be best. However, that is for you to decide. This tutorial discusses both options. If you are a visual learner, ItsFOSS provides step-by-step instructions in a video.

References
How To Dual Boot Linux Mint And Windows 10 [Beginner's Guide]
How to Install Linux Mint with Windows 10 | Dual Boot Linux and Windows [Easy Way]

*Note* The video is from 2017, and they discuss installing Linux Mint 19. However, the same tutorial/video is for any version of Linux Mint you dual-boot/install.
/boot partition is required or not ?
 

mkoundo

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Jul 21, 2017
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I thought I would update here again since I went through a lot with my Linux trial run. I wanted to try Linux on this older laptop so that in case something went wrong it would not damage my regular daily driver newer laptop. I surely did cause some problems in Windows when I first tried to create and run that live Linux USB. Restoring and resetting did not fix it either. I had to use the Lenovo One Key Recovery tool which got the laptop working again but on a very outdated version of Windows. I then used the Windows Update Assistant app to upgrade to 22H2 yesterday. It took forever but the good thing was it finally did work and the laptop was back to 22H2 when it was done. The laptop did work but the bad thing was it also restored a bunch of old files that must have dated back to when I first bought the laptop in 2018. It also had a huge file named Windows.old with my old Windows files in it. This laptop has a 1TB hard drive and after that update it was almost completely full with maybe 35 GB of available space left. I thought I had destroyed the laptop but I wound up deleting the C drive in Disk Management and then re-installing Windows from the recovery flash drive I made a few days ago. The laptop and Windows are all running fine now, did a few updates and got rid of unwanted pre-installed apps and everything works fine, actually better than before my Linux experiment.

As to Linux, yes I got it to work, created the live USB today with little trouble, still never could get Rufus to work but the UUI app worked fine and I booted into the USB and was running Mint in no time. I liked some of the features of Mint. I really like how Firefox looks in it, the graphics and font nearly pop right off the screen. It is very sharp. Linux itself though is kind of overwhelming for me. There are a lot of apps and functions in it that I just do not understand and likely would never use. The way the files are set up and used is too foreign to me. I just don't know enough about it yet to use it very well. I spent 30 minutes just trying to find the eject function to remove that live USB. I finally gave up and removed it after I shut down the laptop. There are a lot of aspects in Linux that are really impressive, but I need to learn a great deal more about how Linux works before I try to use it on a regular daily basis. I still have the live USB and I might tinker around with it more in the future but for now I think I should stick with the familiar Windows.

C.H.
That pretty much sums up my "intro to linux" experience too. If you'd like to tinker some more I suggest either:
a) install virtual box in windows and then create a virtual installation of linux. That way you can play around with linux without messing up windows and you can restore linux if you end up breaking it.

or

b) use macrium reflect to create a system image of your windows partition before creating a dual boot installation of windows+linux. Macrium is really fast at restoring your system and can also fix the boot loader. Typical restoration time is under 5 minutes!
(y)
 

Brahman

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/boot partition is required or not ?
The best method with Ubuntu, is to make a free space of 20 Gb in your OS drive and while installing choose the option to "install alongside windows" and Ubuntu will do the rest. When you are in doubt of what all partitions are needed for installation of a Linux distribution, accept that you are not qualified enough for manual partitioning, go the automatic way. An error in making the partition in your os drive would make your system in a non bootable state. So understand what you are doing and do it only when you are 100% sure about it.
Now to answer your question, if your windows is in uefi mode, then you don't need to create another /boot/efi partition, Ubuntu will automatically select that efi folder for installation of its grub files. If it fails to select the existing "/efi" partition, select it manually, don't create another boot partition. Make a bootable windows usb and make an image back up before whatever you do with your os drive.
 
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anirbandutta01

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The best method with Ubuntu, is to make a free space of 20 Gb in your is drive and while installing choose the option to "install alongside windows" and Ubuntu will do the rest. When you are in doubt of what all partitions are needed for installation of a Linux distribution, accept that you are not qualified enough for manual partitioning, go the automatic way. An error in making the partition in your os drive would make your system in a non bootable state. So understand what you are doing and do it only when you are 100% sure about it.
Now to answer your question, if your windows is in uefi mode, then you don't need to create another /boot/efi partition, Ubuntu will automatically select that efi folder for installation of its grub files. If it fails to select the existing "/efi" partition, select it manually, don't create another boot partition. Make a bootable windows usb and make an image back up before whatever you do with your os drive.
My Windows is in MBR mode then which partitons should I create when installing Ubuntu alongside Windows?
 
F

ForgottenSeer 72227

/boot partition is essential or not? what is EFI partiton ? My system type is MBR so I want to know /boot & EFI
My Windows is in MBR mode then which partitons should I create when installing Ubuntu alongside Windows?
As others have mentioned just let the installer take care of it. You can create these things manually, but in all honesty unless you have experience, it is going to be more trouble than it is worth. The vast majority of Linux distros use a GUI installer similar to Windows and does all the required partitioning automatically. The installers are smart enough to know if you are on a UEFI, or legacy BIOS and will adjust accordingly. The only partitioning you should worry about is how much space you want Linux to take up overall on your drive. In your case since you are using a separate drive, I am going to assume you are using all the space available on that drive, so it won't matter very much in your case. For others using only one drive to run both OSes it will matter more, as you would have to decide how much you want each OS to take up on the drive. Other than that, just let the installer take care of the rest.

I thought I would update here again since I went through a lot with my Linux trial run. I wanted to try Linux on this older laptop so that in case something went wrong it would not damage my regular daily driver newer laptop. I surely did cause some problems in Windows when I first tried to create and run that live Linux USB. Restoring and resetting did not fix it either. I had to use the Lenovo One Key Recovery tool which got the laptop working again but on a very outdated version of Windows. I then used the Windows Update Assistant app to upgrade to 22H2 yesterday. It took forever but the good thing was it finally did work and the laptop was back to 22H2 when it was done. The laptop did work but the bad thing was it also restored a bunch of old files that must have dated back to when I first bought the laptop in 2018. It also had a huge file named Windows.old with my old Windows files in it. This laptop has a 1TB hard drive and after that update it was almost completely full with maybe 35 GB of available space left. I thought I had destroyed the laptop but I wound up deleting the C drive in Disk Management and then re-installing Windows from the recovery flash drive I made a few days ago. The laptop and Windows are all running fine now, did a few updates and got rid of unwanted pre-installed apps and everything works fine, actually better than before my Linux experiment.

As to Linux, yes I got it to work, created the live USB today with little trouble, still never could get Rufus to work but the UUI app worked fine and I booted into the USB and was running Mint in no time. I liked some of the features of Mint. I really like how Firefox looks in it, the graphics and font nearly pop right off the screen. It is very sharp. Linux itself though is kind of overwhelming for me. There are a lot of apps and functions in it that I just do not understand and likely would never use. The way the files are set up and used is too foreign to me. I just don't know enough about it yet to use it very well. I spent 30 minutes just trying to find the eject function to remove that live USB. I finally gave up and removed it after I shut down the laptop. There are a lot of aspects in Linux that are really impressive, but I need to learn a great deal more about how Linux works before I try to use it on a regular daily basis. I still have the live USB and I might tinker around with it more in the future but for now I think I should stick with the familiar Windows.

C.H.
At least you gave it a try :)

Personally what I would do is run Linux in a VM l(ie: VirtualBox) just to get familiar with it first, then try installing it on you computer. This way you can get use to the differences and become more comfortable using it...without braking your main OS.

When I make my live USB's I use a program called Balena Etcher which works really well and is very simple to use. You can either install it on Windows, or download the portable version and run it that way. As to ejecting USBs in Linux, it kind of depends on the desktop environment/ file explorer. I haven't used Mint in a long time, but if it's similar to Gnome, you may have to open the file explorer program and eject it from there (in the list of drives on the left hand side). Personally I think you may benefit from trying a distro with KDE Plasma (ie: Kubuntu) as the desktop environment, as it works like Windows in many respects. For example when you insert a USB you get a notification/icon in the system tray similar to Windows. You can eject it from there as well...again similar to Windows.

I've used Linux in VMs for awhile before I got comfortable using it and navigating around. Once I was comfortable with it, I installed it on my system and it was like I already knew what I was doing. Don't give up just yet...run it in a VM to get use to it. Try different distro's desktop environments, etc...as there are differences between them. This way you can find a distro/desktop environment that you like and you can go from there.(y)
 

anirbandutta01

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Jun 18, 2022
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Other than that, just let the installer take care of the rest.
So, if I want to install Linux in other partition than my primary OS, should I choose install linux alongside windows (first option) at the time of linux installation?
 

anirbandutta01

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Jun 18, 2022
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As others have mentioned just let the installer take care of it. You can create these things manually, but in all honesty unless you have experience, it is going to be more trouble than it is worth. The vast majority of Linux distros use a GUI installer similar to Windows and does all the required partitioning automatically. The installers are smart enough to know if you are on a UEFI, or legacy BIOS and will adjust accordingly. The only partitioning you should worry about is how much space you want Linux to take up overall on your drive. In your case since you are using a separate drive, I am going to assume you are using all the space available on that drive, so it won't matter very much in your case. For others using only one drive to run both OSes it will matter more, as you would have to decide how much you want each OS to take up on the drive. Other than that, just let the installer take care of the rest.


At least you gave it a try :)

Personally what I would do is run Linux in a VM l(ie: VirtualBox) just to get familiar with it first, then try installing it on you computer. This way you can get use to the differences and become more comfortable using it...without braking your main OS.

When I make my live USB's I use a program called Balena Etcher which works really well and is very simple to use. You can either install it on Windows, or download the portable version and run it that way. As to ejecting USBs in Linux, it kind of depends on the desktop environment/ file explorer. I haven't used Mint in a long time, but if it's similar to Gnome, you may have to open the file explorer program and eject it from there (in the list of drives on the left hand side). Personally I think you may benefit from trying a distro with KDE Plasma (ie: Kubuntu) as the desktop environment, as it works like Windows in many respects. For example when you insert a USB you get a notification/icon in the system tray similar to Windows. You can eject it from there as well...again similar to Windows.

I've used Linux in VMs for awhile before I got comfortable using it and navigating around. Once I was comfortable with it, I installed it on my system and it was like I already knew what I was doing. Don't give up just yet...run it in a VM to get use to it. Try different distro's desktop environments, etc...as there are differences between them. This way you can find a distro/desktop environment that you like and you can go from there.(y)
Another question is, if I select install linux alongside windows while installing linux then Can I install it to my desired HDD or it will be installed on my Primary OS SSD? I mean selection of drive choice is available ? I mean if I unallocated some free space & create a blank partiton before installing linux, can I install linux on it after select install linux alongside windows option?
 

Captain Holly

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Jan 23, 2021
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As others have mentioned just let the installer take care of it. You can create these things manually, but in all honesty unless you have experience, it is going to be more trouble than it is worth. The vast majority of Linux distros use a GUI installer similar to Windows and does all the required partitioning automatically. The installers are smart enough to know if you are on a UEFI, or legacy BIOS and will adjust accordingly. The only partitioning you should worry about is how much space you want Linux to take up overall on your drive. In your case since you are using a separate drive, I am going to assume you are using all the space available on that drive, so it won't matter very much in your case. For others using only one drive to run both OSes it will matter more, as you would have to decide how much you want each OS to take up on the drive. Other than that, just let the installer take care of the rest.


At least you gave it a try :)

Personally what I would do is run Linux in a VM l(ie: VirtualBox) just to get familiar with it first, then try installing it on you computer. This way you can get use to the differences and become more comfortable using it...without braking your main OS.

When I make my live USB's I use a program called Balena Etcher which works really well and is very simple to use. You can either install it on Windows, or download the portable version and run it that way. As to ejecting USBs in Linux, it kind of depends on the desktop environment/ file explorer. I haven't used Mint in a long time, but if it's similar to Gnome, you may have to open the file explorer program and eject it from there (in the list of drives on the left hand side). Personally I think you may benefit from trying a distro with KDE Plasma (ie: Kubuntu) as the desktop environment, as it works like Windows in many respects. For example when you insert a USB you get a notification/icon in the system tray similar to Windows. You can eject it from there as well...again similar to Windows.

I've used Linux in VMs for awhile before I got comfortable using it and navigating around. Once I was comfortable with it, I installed it on my system and it was like I already knew what I was doing. Don't give up just yet...run it in a VM to get use to it. Try different distro's desktop environments, etc...as there are differences between them. This way you can find a distro/desktop environment that you like and you can go from there.(y)
Thanks very much @Raiden for the info. I was thinking about trying Linux again and using a different distro, but I had no idea which ones are really easier to get started with. There is a lot of info and opinions online about it and I got kind of overwhelmed. I will take a look at Kubuntu and try it again. I do like the idea of escaping the Windows environment and being able to just use the computer without the MS update and AV problems. It is just a lot to take in when I have really never seen Linux in action before.

One thing I wanted to ask here is when I had Mint running from the usb drive on the home desktop it had an icon that looked like a CD that said "Install Mint". If I run that app does it put whatever distro I am running on my computer permanently and remove Windows? Or does it leave the partition with Windows alone and installs Linux so I can have both on one computer and use the dual boot to pick whichever one I want to use? I tried to find that out online but just did not understand the threads I saw. That was probably the biggest question I had about Linux.

Thanks again.

C.H.
 
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Orchid

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Jan 27, 2023
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/boot partition is required or not ?

My research shows that you don't need a /boot partition when manually partitioning or Installing alongside Windows. Linux Mint (as well as any other Linux Distributions) will detect the Windows boot partition and install whatever boot files it needs to boot in that partition. If you were worried about the Linux installation affecting any Windows boot files, from my experience, there was no effect. Everything ran smoothly. However, if a warning/error occurs or it doesn't show you the option to boot into Linux, please let me or the MalwareTips community know.

Another question is, if I select install linux alongside windows while installing linux then Can I install it to my desired HDD or it will be installed on my Primary OS SSD? I mean selection of drive choice is available ? I mean if I unallocated some free space & create a blank partiton before installing linux, can I install linux on it after select install linux alongside windows option?

When selecting the option "Install alongside Windows" at the top of the screen, there's an option for picking and choosing what hard drive you want to install Linux on. However, I have never installed Linux Mint on a separate hard drive before, so maybe someone else you have done this setup can help you.
 

Malleable

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Mar 2, 2021
45
Whatever version of Linux, I believe security hardening beyond the built-in settings is a must. I narrow my search to at least the last year if not the last month. There's repetition across the various sources and suggestions. I concentrate on at least those and then how far I go depends on my current level of paranoia.
 

Captain Holly

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Jan 23, 2021
238
I answered my own question on Linux. I downloaded Mint Cinnamon again on my flash drive today. Rufus still would not work, I have no idea why but the Balena Etcher worked great. I installed Mint with no problems at all, I let the installer set up the partition and just had to agree to the setting. Then once I had Mint installed I double-clicked that "Install Mint" icon and it went through all of the setup parameters and settings by itself. I set up the dual boot, restarted to test it and it works fine. When I start my laptop it shows Mint as option 1 and Windows as Option 3 but I can choose either one. I also was glad to see a Welcome Setup tutorial and utility that gave me some tips about how Mint works, it also did some updates and checked for and downloaded/ran the correct current drivers for this older laptop to use Mint.

The FF browser is also retaining the extensions and settings I chose for it. That did not happen at all when I was just running Mint from the flash drive. I am still checking out Mint and it will take some time to learn how it works but so far I like it a lot. One other thing, when I closed the browser on the installed Linux laptop, there was an icon in the top left corner for my other flash drive with my html file of Firefox bookmarks that I imported. All I had to do to eject the flash drive was right click and select "eject". I am going to put in some time with Mint and learn how to use it. So far so good with it for now though.

Thanks everybody for all the help on this. I have wanted to try Linux for a long time now and this is only the beginning.

C.H.
 
F

ForgottenSeer 72227

So, if I want to install Linux in other partition than my primary OS, should I choose install linux alongside windows (first option) at the time of linux installation?
If you are a separate drive you do not need to select that option. You can just select erase disk....make sure to select the disk you want to install it on. The install along side Windows, is really more for if you want to install it on the same drive as Windows.
Another question is, if I select install linux alongside windows while installing linux then Can I install it to my desired HDD or it will be installed on my Primary OS SSD? I mean selection of drive choice is available ? I mean if I unallocated some free space & create a blank partiton before installing linux, can I install linux on it after select install linux alongside windows option?
Yes you should still be able to select which drive you want to install it on. You do not have to install it on the same drive as Windows, you can install it on a separate drive. Either option will work, it just comes down to preference.

Here is a video that has a pretty good walk through. He's using Ubuntu in this video, but the principles are the same. Note he is only using one drive in this instance.



Here is another video using 2 different drives (similar to your case).


Thanks everybody for all the help on this. I have wanted to try Linux for a long time now and this is only the beginning.

C.H.
No problem and glad it worked out for you!

It is a nice feeling once you getting working! Mint is a great option to get you started and like Ubuntu, it is quite popular with a big community, so there are a ton of great resources to help you along.:)
 
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