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I looked at some friends' computer and winced; they're running XP, and the system is running slowly, and their SuperAntiSpyware pulled multiple malware threats (big surprise). But they are using OpenOffice even though they have Microsoft Word installed.

My first thought was, "offer them a migration to Linux," but my second thought was, "offer them a migration to Linux that wouldn't break use of XP," and my best thought about implementing that was, "Find out how to do a lossless repartition, install Mint on one partition, and set up VMware Player to run off the XP partition."

I'm not sure every leg of that journey is doable, but I would like to make Mint available while not damaging what they have under XP.

What is the best strategy for doing that (whether it is my own approach outlined above, or something else, even if it's just a dual boot), and how specifically can I do that? I know less Windows than Unix system administration, and am not positive VMware Player will do what I want, so please correct any wrong conceptualizations or assumptions I am showing.

Thanks,

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migrated from serverfault.com Sep 9 '13 at 1:19

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How technical are these friends? Using a virtual machine isn't exactly straight forward for the average person. –  cmorse Sep 9 '13 at 1:25
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Dual boot. Set Linux entry as default boot entry and add Windows mountpoint to /etc/fstab –  justbrowsing Sep 9 '13 at 1:48
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Mint installer gives you the option to resize your existing Windows installation's partition to make space.

EDIT: Yes, this guide is for Windows 7, but the process is pretty much Windows version agnostic - this will work on anything from 95 to 8.1.

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Please consider moving relevant information from the link across to your answer to avoid link rot –  50-3 Sep 9 '13 at 1:42
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I would move their user files over and use wine http://www.winehq.org/ with an xp theme.

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