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Windows 8.1Windows philosophy

Originally developed as integral part of a Corporate LAN, Windows Desktop Operation System - side by side with Windows Active Directory and Windows Domain Server - were intended to provide a restricted access to Internet and LAN resources. It is a common misunderstanding to use Windows on a home computer.

However it is very likely that you may need Windows on your home computer for your work or another indispensable task, such as accessing your bank account. In this case you have 2 options to run Windows alongside Linux on your computer - either as a Dual Booting System or in a Virtual Machine.

Should you install Windows as a Dual Booting System or in a Virtual Machine depends on your hardware resources - namely the amount of memory you have on your machine and the power of your CPU.

If you have plenty of RAM - such as 16Gb and a powerful CPU, you may install Windows in a Virtual Machine. If you are low on resources, you should better install Windows as a Second Boot option on your hard drive.

If you install Windows and Linux as a Dual Boot Machine, you will have GRUB boot loader that will be the 1st thing you see after the BIOS POST. It will give you a list of Operation Systems, available for booting, and will wait a few seconds so that you might choose whichever you want to boot, like:

  • GNU GRUB version 1.99
  • Linux Mint Mate, kernel 4.10.0-30-generic
  • Linux Mint Mate, kernel 4.10.0-28-generic (recovery mode)
  • Other operating systems
  • Windows 8.1 (loader) (on dev/sda1)
  • Use Up and Down keys to select which entree is highlighted. Press Enter to boot the selected OS

Don't use Windows to brouse Internet and don't install anything risky! Windows is a very expensive and fragile operation system prone to hacker attacs and virus infections of all sorts. Keep your Windows safe!

Commercial software

Commercial software is always created in a hurry, in tight time-frame, when companies push hard to bring the software to the market as soon as possible. Developed by small development teams and tested by far smaller testing teams, the applications are usually buggy.

Microsoft principles

Microsoft assumes that if a user can do something at the moment, they should be presented with all the controls to do that. However if a user can not do that at the moment, they should not be presented with the controls to do that.

If our life was governed by the same principles, people would feel perplexed. If, for instance, you pass your friend's house while your friend is at home and you can drop in and see them, you would see the house fine. But if your friend is away and dropping in you will not see them, you will not see the house.

Are you perplexed? That's fine, because here is Microsoft to help you!

Using Windows at your home computer

When people use Windows at home, they are usually left to either use empty computer - because software is very expensive, or use cracked applications and stolen serial numbers.

Bloated software and updates

Software companies usually create some marketable application, and then enhance that application with more and more features to produce more and more revenue. On official pretext they include those features "for users", but actually they do that for themselves, to justify app price increase, and nobody cares if users don't need those features.

Thus, there was a CD-writing application called Nero, and its first working version had 250 Kb. The company issued updates and new versions, bloating it with more and more features that nobody actually needed. One of the last vesions of that application that I remember had 288 Mb.


You can install Windows either on your HDD/SSD as a Second boot operating system, or in a Virtual Machine. Overall using it in the Virtual Machine is more safe and comfortable. You will be able to access it seamlessly and it will not try to overwrite your boot loader, which happens pretty often when Windows is installed as a second boot OS.

Pros and Cons

PROs: You can use a system with low memory and an old CPU. All system resources will be available to the either of the Operation Systems - the system resources will not be split between the Operation Systems.

CONs: Windows is built with the philosophy that it is the one and only on a computer. Therefore whenever it encounters anything non-windows, it immediately overwrites it. In your case it may find the GRUB boot loader every other day, and delete it. Your computer will boot to Windows as if there is no Linux on it. You will have to boot it with System Rescue CD to fix the GRUB loader and gain back access to your Linux.

To install Windows as a second boot option on your hard drive you should start with an empty hard drive and install Windows as the 1st operation system.

Use your Installation CD or create a Bootable Flash Drive using applications like Etcher or Rufus

Install it as usual and allocate enough space to the installation, depending on your future needs. Allocate a half more than that in reserve.

Customize Windows

Install a free Windows Menu If you installed a Windows without a Menu, like Windows 8.1, you may want to install a free Windows Menu, like ClassicShellSetup

Definitely you may buy a Menu and install a paid Windows Menu. But the company will check your license every day and one day they may decide your license is not valid - as it happened to me. So be on a safer side - install an Open Source Menu.

Remove Corner navigation Right-click the desktop Taskbar, select Properties, and then open the Navigation tab

  • Uncheck the options in the “Corner navigation” portion of the tab to disable the “hot corner” functionality for the upper edges of your screen

Start screen section

  • Check When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start
  • Check Show the Apps...
  • Check List desktop apps...

Set Profile picture - go to PC settings - Make Changes to my account.

Command Prompt Here

A must have feature. To add it to your context menu you need to make some changes in the Registry. Create and empty file in the Notepad, name it CommandPromptHere.reg and save it. Open it for editing and add the following context there:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


@="Command Prompt here as Admin"

@="cmd.exe /s /k pushd \"%V\""


@="Command Prompt here as Admin"

@="cmd.exe /s /k pushd \"%V\""


@="Command Prompt here as Admin"

@="cmd.exe /s /k pushd \"%V\""                                  

Merge it to the Registry. Now when you shift-right click on any folder, you will see it.

Install Linux Mint

After Windows is up and running, you can install Linux Mint. Boot from Flash Drive and partition the free space, allocating 16-20Gb to root partition, 1-2Gb to swap space and the rest - to home partition.

Chances are, that the first 2 primary partitions on the hard drive will be used by Windows. You can create 2 more primary partitions, whereas you need 3 for your Linux installation. In this case create an Extended Partition on the whole free space available after Windows installation. Within Extended Partition you can create as many Logical Partitions, as you want.

After you press Install Now button, Linux Mint Installer will display a message:

Agree and continue. After installation finishes and you restart, the first thing you will see will be GRUB boot loader with options to boot Linux or Windows.

Integrate Windows and Linux file systems

After you install both Operating Systems and both of them run fine, you may want to integrate their file systems so that you could transfer files and documents between them.

Windows file system NTFS will be visible and writable in Caja - Linux Mint Mate File Manager - by default. And to make Linux file system Ext4 visible (but not writable!) from Windows, you will need to install Ext2Fsd driver. But before you can do that, you will need to disable Hybernation and Fast Startup. To disable Hybernation - delete file hiberfil.sys file:

  • Use powercfg.exe to Delete hiberfil.sys. To do this:
  • Open up a command prompt with administrator privileges. To do this type command at the Start screen.
  • Bring up the context menu on Command Prompt (usually right click), then select Run as administrator.
  • Use dir c:\ /ah to list hiberfile.sys in the root directory.
  • In the command window type powercfg.exe -h off. This will delete hiberfile.sys.
  • After making the necessary changes check that the normal Sleep and Shut Down options are working as expected. Tweak Power Options if required.
  • If hibernation is required in the future reverse the instructions above (using powercfg.exe -h on).

Alternatively you can:

  • Apply Turn_Off_Fast_Startup.bat
    @echo off
    :: Created by: Shawn Brink
    :: Tutorial:
    :: To turn off Fast Startup
    REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power" /V HiberbootEnabled /T REG_dWORD /D 0 /F
  • Apply Disable_Hibernate.reg
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    ; Created by: Shawn Brink
    ; Tutorial:

Now at last you can install current Ext2Fsd driver. Afrter restart you will see your Linux partitions in windows.

Install 7zip archiver, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Avoid using Internet Explorer unless you absolutely must! Keep it safe! You are done, congrats!

I don't recommend installing Antivirus - just don't go to risky places in your Windows.

Install Windows in Virtual Machine

If you have plenty of memory and computing power, enough for 2 simultaneously working Operating Systems, your best choice is to install Windows in Virtual Machine. There are a few Virtual Machines available, but your easiest choice is to install free Oracle VirtualBox from the repositories. It will be absolutely enough for all your needs - except for the case when you need to install some Windows application that generates a hardware description hash key for licensing purposes (for "per seat" licensing scheme). In this case you will need VMware Virtual Machine.

Install VirtualBox

Do not make a mistake of installing the latest version of VirtualBox from the Oracle's website. Install a slightly older version from Linux Mint Repository:

sudo aptitude install virtualbox virtualbox-qt

virtualbox is the Virtual Machine itself, while virtualbox-qt is its GUI.

If the menu icon is missing - do the following:

sudo xed /usr/share/applications/virtualbox.desktop

Find the line:


Gnome looks for an image file virtualbox.* but never finds one. Luckily, there is a similar file called virtualbox-vbox.png which is kind of close. Just change that line to read:


And everything magically works. I know it is the wrong icon and it will likely get overwritten on an upgrade, but it works for now.

Create VirtualBox Disk Image File

Start VirtualBox and create VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image, hard disk) file. Set space to 100Gb with dynamic allocation. Dynamic allocation means that it will be as small as possible - just big enought to hold your data.

Install virtualbox-guest-additions into the Virtualbox

Download the same version of virtualbox-guest-additions manually, file type should be like Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-5.1.26-117224.vbox-extpack

Click the downloaded file. -Do you want to install it? -OK!

Configure VirtualBox

Now you need to enable USB access by adding yourself to the list of vboxusers:

sudo usermod -aG vboxusers {your_username}

Log out and log in to gain the new group permissions (no need to reboot).

VirtualBox Settings

General - Advanced Tab: set Shared Clipboard - Bidirectional, Drag'n'Drop - Bidirectional

System - Motherboard Tab: disable missing devices like Folppy. Set desired values

Storage - in Storage Tree: Select Empty Optical Drive; in Attributes: press CD icon and select your CD or bootable .iso file

USB - check Enable USB; USB 3.0

Shared Folders - Press Add Shared Folder button, set the Shared Folder to be your Documents folder

You will be able to read from and write to your Linux file system in Windows Explorer through \\vboxsrv drive in Your Computer

Install Windows

Start VirtualBox, install Windows. Congrats, you are done!

Some useful apps

There are some useful free applications that are worth having on your computer. Among those are iDisk to monitor disk space, Small cd-writer etc.


Now that you have Windows up and running either on your drive partition or in Virtual Machine, you can do nessesary customizations and install applications.

Install menu

Install a free menu, don't install commercial menus.

Remove insane features

Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features. Remove insane features.

Disable fast startup

Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup. Disable fast startup.

Disable hibernation file

Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file. Disable hibernation file.

Install useful applications

Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications. Install useful applications.