Looking at the increasing number who've read our posts about Windows 7 no longer being supported and the options Win 7 users have available, it seems a 'HOW TO' detailing the installation of Linux Mint 19.3
may be in order for those who are interested.
We highly recommend the MATE desktop version of Mint. If you've been a Windows user for a long time you'll find the MATE user interface (UI) almost immediately comfortable and familiar. If you liked how Windows 7 looked and worked, Linux Mint 19.3 MATE will feel right at home.
Keep in mind there are three official Mint desktop UI options to select from, Cinnamon, MATE
, and Xfce
, with MATE being our recommendation to start with.
1. Download the Linux Mint 19.3 MATE ISO file. It's about 2GB. Depending on your internet speed this may take a while.
2. Burn the Mint ISO file to a USB stick. You can install it on older systems with optical drives from a DVD if you wish, but a USB stick makes it easy to give Mint a trial run, plus a DVD is considerably slower than a USB stick.
If you don't have an ISO burner program, download one. In Windows 'ImgBurn' for optical drives and 'Yumi' for USB sticks are great free options.
Once you've installed the burner program and have the latest Linux Mint 19.3 ISO file downloaded, burn that ISO to your DVD or USB stick. If you're using a DVD, check your newly burned disc for errors before using it. Burn a new one if errors are found.
A USB stick is your best bet. With it in place you can quickly give Mint a trial run on your PC without installing a thing. If for some weird reason you really don't like Mint, simply reboot to Windows then decide what you'll do from there.
A handy thing about using a USB stick with 'persistent storage' set is that you can store personal programs, files, and desktop settings on that stick. Then you can carry your personal Mint OS in your pocket and use it wherever you happen to be that has a PC available for you to use.
3. Next, reboot your system, stopping the boot process before Windows comes up so you can access your PC's UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this varies depending on your PC. Look for a message as the machine starts up telling you which key or key combination to press to get to the system BIOS or UEFI. With Dell PCs, which I see a lot of, press the F2 key to enter system setup. With HP PCs, tap on the escape key once every second as you start the system. On Lenovo PCs tap (Fn+) F2 or (Fn+) F1 key 5 to 10 times or more after the power button is pressed to access system setup.
Once you're in your PCs setup screen, look for a menu choice labeled "Boot," "Boot Options," or "Boot Order." If the word "Boot" isn't immediately apparent, check other menu choices like "Advanced Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Other Options."
Once you've located the 'Boot' menu, set your PCs boot order so that, instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the DVD drive or your USB drive first.
After your PC is set to boot from your DVD or USB drive, reboot with your newly burned Mint 19.3 media in place and select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu. In a minute or so you'll be running Linux Mint in 'Live' mode.
4. Play with Mint as long as you like in 'Live' mode, directly from the DVD or USB stick you've burned it to. Don't worry. Windows is still there. Reboot without the DVD or USB stick in place and your PC will go right back to it.
Like what you see in Mint 19.3 and want to install it on your PC? Start by making a complete backup of your Windows system, just in case. Why take chances when you don't have to?
Linux Mint makes booting and installing Mint 19.3 with 'Secure Boot' enabled in 'System Setup' really easy. If for some reason you find you can't install Mint with Secure Boot enabled on your PC, simply turn 'Secure Boot' off in your PCs 'System Setup' menu. Depending on your PC there are a number of ways to switch Secure Boot off. Do a Google search for your specific PC for precise instructions.
Installing Mint 19.3.
1. Make sure your PC is running with its power supply plugged in so you don't run out of battery power during installation. Also make sure your internet connection is alive and well, plus your system has a 'bare minimum of 8GB' of free drive space available for Mint - a lot more being a lot better.
2. Reboot to Linux Mint 19.3. With Mint running in 'Live' mode one of the icon choices at the left side of its main screen will be 'Install Mint'. Double-click that icon and you'll be on your way.
3. Now, follow the on-screen prompts and you'll walk your way through several menu choices. Most are easy choices to make. One last option will be how to partition your hard drive. Note: For your purposes you may want to set your PC up so you can dual-boot Windows and Mint, selecting the OS you want to run as your PC boots up. To do this pick the first option in the 'Installation Type' menu that reads: "Install Linux Mint alongside them (in your case, Windows)." This will install Linux Mint 19.3 alongside your existing Windows setup leaving Windows untouched. Typically when doing this I give half the PC's free drive space to Mint.
If you simply want to install Mint in place of Windows (my personal choice) skip the previous dual boot instructions and proceed from here.
4. Give your new Mint 19.3 system a name, pick a username for yourself and provide a password. At this point you can choose to encrypt your home directory to keep its files safe if you wish. An encrypted home directory may slow your system down, so keep that in mind. It's faster to encrypt the entire drive after Mint is fully installed if you need that added level of security.
5. Mint 19.3 prompts you to set up a system snapshot schedule using 'Timeshift'. This way, if something goes wrong, you can quickly and easily restore system files, reverting back to a fully working system.
6. Next you can check to see if your computer requires additional drivers. Also, if you haven't already, you can install proprietary multimedia codecs so you can watch online video and movies together with DVDs in Mint.
7. When you run 'Mint Update' you're updating not only your operating system but all the apps and programs that have updates available as well, programs like your web browser and office suite, along with games, apps and programs you install using Mint's Software Manager.
To update your system manually, click on the shield icon in the menu bar at the bottom right of the screen. It will prompt you for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Answer 'yes', and in a short time your Mint 19.3 OS will be fully up to date.
Mint's setup procedure lets you look into system settings and find new programs you may need with the Software Manager if you wish to at that time. If you're new to Mint you can skip these options for now and revisit them later on.
8. That's about all there is to it. The job takes an hour or so, from downloading the Mint ISO to booting up and customizing your new Mint OS. If this is your first time installing Mint allow yourself an afternoon or evening to complete the job.
You'll soon become familiar with your new Mint operating system, appreciating everything it does for you without any of the expense and nonsense you'd find with Windows 10 or MacOS.