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I just bought an HP Envy h8-1437c desktop computer (Intel Core i5 CPU, 1 TB hard drive, 12 GB memory). It came with Windows 8 pre-installed. I want to run Linux on it, specifically Linux Mint 14.1 Mate, but I'd like to keep the Windows 8 installation.

I configured Windows 8, and that's working just fine. The system has a 20 GB "Recovery Image" partition, presumably usable to reinstall Windows 8.

I copied linuxmint-14.1-mate-dvd-32bit.iso to a USB thumb drive using UNetbootin (and I just now realized I really wanted the 64-bit version, but that shouldn't be relevant to my current problem), so the thumb drive acts like a live CD. (Linux Mint 14.1 is derived from Ubuntu 12.10.) I had to disable UEFI secure boot to get the system to boot from the USB drive.

I installed Linux Mint alongside Windows 8. The installer let me specify how to partition the drive; I allocated 200 GB to Windows, and the rest to Linux Mint. The installation appeared to finish with no problem.

When I rebooted the system, it booted into Windows. When I rebooted again and went into the boot menu, it didn't show me an option to boot the newly install Linux Mint. I can still boot from the thumb drive.

Now here's the weird thing. When I boot into Windows, it still shows that my Windows C: drive is nearly 2 terabytes. When I boot into Linux Mint with the thumb drive, I see a file system mounted at /media/mint/2a9d26f4-df0f-4347-800f-817f8fb44051 that's about 1.6 terabytes. Since the entire drive is 2 terabytes, there's obviously an overlap of some sort.

Did the Linux Mint installer fail to set up the partitions correctly? Am I in danger of corrupting data, or of having done so already? Have I hosed my Windows installation? (It still seems to be working, but I haven't done much with it; in particular, I'm trying to to create too many files.)

Given that I installed the wrong version of Linux Mint, I suppose my best first step is to restore the Windows installation to the state it was in before I did the Linux installation. How can I do that?

If necessary, I don't mind reinstalling Windows from the "Recovery Image".

(I've just ordered a second hard drive, and I'm now planning to let Windows have the entire drive and put Linux on the other one. I suspect that will make things easier, but any solutions that let them share the same drive are welcome and may be more helpful to others.)

I have more detailed information if anyone needs it, but this question is already longer than I'd like it to be.

UPDATE:

I've mostly solved the problem, though not quite in the way I'd like.

I tried to expand the partition holding the (now smaller) C: drive from Windows, but without success. Windows shows a horizontal graph of all the partitions, with the large Linux partition to the right of the C: partition. For whatever reason, it lets you expand a partition into free space to its left on that graph, not to its right.

I rebooted with the Linux USB thumb drive, and was able to see all the partitions, including a Grub partition between the C: drive and the large Linux partition (that wasn't visible on Windows). I was able to convert the Grub and Linux partitions to free space, but the attempt to expand the Windows C: partition into the free space failed with a message about an I/O error -- though it continued apparently running for a day or two after that.

I finally decided to reformat the large Linux partition as NFTS, and use it as an extra logical drive from Windows. Windows initially allocated it as the K: drive. After I reinstalled Windows from the recovery partition yet again, now shows up as the D: drive (and the recovery partition changed from D: to E:). I'm content with that layout; in some ways it's probably better than having all of Windows on one huge C: drive. For example, if it becomes necessary later I'll be able to reinstall Windows onto the C: drive without losing my data on D:.

The next step will be to add a second drive (which arrived yesterday) and install Linux on it, giving me (I hope) a dual-boot system.

Installing Windows from the recovery partition didn't give me the option of messing around with the partitions; it just installed it on C: without asking.

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2 Answers

One thing I know is that installing Linux and Windows, whatever the versions, on the same drive is very possible. You shouldn't need to buy a new hard drive at all.

I wouldn't say I -know- but -think- these things:

-Drive partitioning is best done before installing any OS, by planning for the space beforehand. I feel it might cause some or all of your issues. If there was only one partition (besides Recovery) when Windows was installed, maybe it just can't know Linux exists, or something. To be honest, I didn't even know you could actually cut some space from a partition and give it to a new one without wiping everything.

-I don't know what results it gives to install a 32-bit and a 64-bit OS alongside. Sounds risky/buggy. Getting the 64-bit installer might just do magic.

If you don't want to format over again, you can try again with a 64-bit installation of Linux. If you have a restoration point prior to the installation attempt, go back there. If not, just delete whatever there is of Linux that you can find with Windows, and attempt to create a new partition again to install Linux.

If it doesn't work (and sadly I don't feel it will), if I were you, I would save my personal files somewhere (external hard drive for example) in plans of formatting. I really don't think you've corrupted the data that was already there. It should be very salvageable.

Then I'd reinstall Windows 8 on a set partition, creating the Linux partition in the same process. You could do that through the Recovery partition and/or DVD that came with your computer, maybe. Or the "Delete everything and reinstall Windows" option from the PC settings (open the Charms bar, Settings, PC settings (the very bottom thing), General) [approximate names; my computer is in French].

If none of those options allow you to format and manage partitions, then sadly, you'll have to find yourself the OEM install for your version of Windows, so it fits your product key that's probably coded inside your BIOS, from what I understand. This page might help you: http://www.mydigitallife.info/windows-8-official-iso-images-and-product-keys-released-on-msdn-and-technet/

Alternatively, you can always buy Windows 8 over again. An OEM disc for Windows 8 Pro costs about 150 $, and can be bought notably from websites where you buy computer hardware, such as Newegg. But well, might as well try to find the right OEM disc download for your key. It's free and doesn't involve any piracy.

Anyway, once you've managed to install Windows 8 and set your partitions up, install Linux (64 bits!), and just have it format its own partition and install it there. Then everything should work perfect. On top, installing Windows clean over again and redoing your partitions yourself allows you to start fresh and free yourself of any useless software that might have come with the computer.

This link has issues similar to your own: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1730843

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Thanks! Formatting without installing an OS wasn't an option; it had Windows 8 installed out of the box. I have no significant data on the system that I don't mind losing. The 32-bit installation was just a mistake on my part; I've already downloaded the 64-bit LM installer. I think I'll probably try the "Delete everything and reinstall Windows" thing (I hadn't yet figured out how to get to it). Can I assume that will fix up any partition problems? –  Keith Thompson Jan 7 '13 at 5:29
    
Ok, I'm reinstalling Windows now. When that's done, I'll try booting from the live CD^H^H USB thumb drive; if the Linux partition no longer shows up, I should be in good shape. –  Keith Thompson Jan 7 '13 at 5:57
    
Well, I've never tried that option from disc/basic options, but it should fix it. Just make sure you make your Linux partition during the installation of Windows. Don't wait until Windows is installed to create it. –  Ariane Jan 7 '13 at 6:30
    
Unless I missed something (which is quite possible), the Windows reinstallation didn't give me an opportunity to create partitions. BTW, the reinstallation didn't revert the partitions; now Windows sees my C: drive as less than 200 GB. –  Keith Thompson Jan 7 '13 at 18:21
    
Okay, then... The sad scenario has occurred. It means you're going to need to download and burn the OEM disc of Windows that's appropriate for your installation. 'Tis the sadness of them not giving proper installation media with computers. :/ –  Ariane Jan 7 '13 at 18:37
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You need to reinstall Linux and make sure GRUB goes in the MBR, not the Linux partition. Windows won't recognize Linux, but Linux will recognize Windows so by putting GRUB in the MBR you will get the GRUB menu at boot to pick your OS.

That said, there are other, more involved, ways to do this without re-installing Linux, but since you have no data on the Linux partition to worry about, losing it's the easiest way. Also, since you are using the pre-installed Windows 8, you need to make sure Windows secure boot is not going to prevent anything because of UEFI. I don't use Windows 8, so I haven't dealt with this, but I am aware it's a potential roadblock.

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