Dual Booting Linux Mint With Mountain Lion on Same Hard Drive

Difficulty: Medium to pseudo-Advanced

Time-to-Complete: 1.5 Hours< f(x)< 2.25 Hours

I used my Macbook with Mountain Lion OS X on it to set up a MountainLion/LinuxMint14 dual boot laptop using this method. Make sure you have your information backed up to a Time Machine or another drive before proceeding!

Note: This tutorial includes partitioning of your drive, so please be careful. Also, please make sure to back up your files first!

Note: Please back up your files first!


  • One (1) Macbook Pro 8,1 (early 2011) – hardware
  • One (1) Copy of Linux Mint 14 (codename: Nadia) – .iso file
  • One (1) 8GB USB Key -hardware
  • One (1) Disk Utility – this comes with Mac OS X

Prerequisites: you need to make sure your machine already has a functioning version of rEFIt or rEFInd on it before doing this tutorial. If you do not have it installed, I have a mini-tutorial you may be interested in seeing that covers Installing rEFIt on your Macbook.


Step 1. Make a Live USB Key with Mint 14

This part is really easy:

  • Use Disk Utility to reformat your USB Key to a FAT partition.
  • Open the newly formatted USB Key and make a folder called “efi” (without the quotes)
  • Open the /efi/ folder and make another folder called “boot” (without the quotes)
  • Download this file: ISO-2-USB EFI-Booter for Mac
  • Inside the /efi/boot/ folder, you need to insert the following to two files:

1. the Linux Mint 14 .iso file

2. the file from the above download called “bootX64.efi”

  • Rename the Linux Mint 14 .iso file on the USB key to “boot.iso” (obviously without the quotes)

Thats it, now you have a USB Key with a Linux Mint 14 disk image on it that will get recognized by the EFI boot system (Macs use EFI boot systems instead of BIOS boot systems like other PCs do).

Side note on another method that did not work for me:

This unetbootin procedure never worked for me! I have listed the instructions below, they are formatted as strike through but still legible if you are interested:

    • Download unetbootin for Mac and unzip the file.
    • Set unetbootin to make the USB using a disk image.
    • Select the .iso file through unetbootin and make sure that the “Type:” its set to the correct USB Drive.
    • Click okay and it will make a Live bootable USB Key for you.

Step 2. Partitioning (Article 1): Creating free space through partitioning

Use Disk Utility to make a partition on your drive which is at least 20GB, I usually go with 70-100GB depending on my mood and because I have enough room to do so.

Step 3. Partitioning Again (Article 2): Making the free space usable to linux

Restart the computer and boot into the USB key through rEFIt or rEFInd, depending on which one you installed.

Wait a few moments while the Ubuntu ISO bootloader fires up through bootX64.efi

You should be greeted with a Linux Mint 14 Live Session at the Desktop after a minute or two.

You must do the following repartitioning at this point!!

Open gparted and find the partition you made earlier. When you find the partition, make it into two different partitions through gparted:

1. Make one linux-swap partition and make it either 1GB or 2GB, you can even make it the same as your RAM if you really want depending on whatever you feel is better.

2. Make one ext4 partition for the rest of the space on your linux partition.

Make sure you APPLY THE CHANGES in gparted before you quit it!

Step X. Click on the Install Linux Mint icon on the desktop to get started with the installation.

With this part its pretty straight forward, you just follow the on screen instructions except for one part which is the only tricky part in this installation:

When it asks you were to install it click on “something else” to get to the advanced partition manager screen. In this screen make sure you click on the ext4 partition and click on “Change” to get into its properties. Once there, select “ext4 Journaled” as your partition type and then put a forward-slash “/” as the root folder. Click OK.

You should be able to continue with the installation at this point with no problem.

Step X. Make sure you shut down the computer after installation at least twice!

After you install Linux Mint 14, make sure you shut down the computer at least twice. You can just wait until you get to the rEFIt/rEFInd screen to select shut down from that menu. Do it twice. Make sure you shut down and not reboot!

Next, go into the partition manager in rEFIt/rEFInd and make sure you press the “Y” button to remap the partitions.

Once that is done do a final restart or shut down and restart. This time you should be able to choose Linux as your boot option. Wait a few minutes and you will be up and running!


8 thoughts on “Dual Booting Linux Mint With Mountain Lion on Same Hard Drive

  1. Hello!

    Did after the installation the track pad and, the auxiliary keys and the wirelless worked fine?

    Thanks for the information!

  2. Hey Giovanni,

    Yes, after installation and booting into linux, all the keyboard keys worked just fine. The wireless did not work fine and that is because you need to install the drivers for the Broadcom wireless chip in the Macbook.

    This procedure will require you to be connected via ethernet cable (not wifi) to obtain the files. You can get them from another computer and transfer via USB also but it is better to just find an ethernet cable and plug into the Mac that you just installed Mint onto because it will also allow you to do other updates.

    I will write a tutorial for this but basically here is a link that will explain what I followed to get this thing working: http://askubuntu.com/questions/63648/how-do-i-install-this-patched-b43-driver

    Please let me know if you need anymore help!


  3. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I get as far as booting from the USB stick then run into a message that reads “ok fasten your seatbelts now we are booting the kernel.” my usb stops blinking at that point so i’m assuming it’s doing nothing. how patient should i be? i’ve let it sit for 30 min before powering off.

    running a macbookPro 8,2

    • Hey Nick, you shouldn’t be waiting that long for the kernel to boot it should only take a few moments (or minutes).. 30 minutes may be too long. Sometimes, depending on a variety of factors, this happens. Try a different USB stick (probably not the answer but wouldn’t hurt to try) also did you remember to change the name of the .iso to “boot.iso”? that problem happened to me when I forgot to change the name and sometimes happens if you dont set up the directory structure properly. Ill look into it a little more and if I remember anything else or think of any other ideas I will let you know. But go ahead and try those tips for now because sometimes its just a little missed step that causes the hang.

  4. hey moose thanks for the reply. yeah i’ve tried 2 difference sticks.

    here is my structure:

    $ tree
    └── efi
    └── boot
    ├── boot.iso
    └── bootX64.efi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s