How to Install CentOS 7 Alongside Windows 10 Dual Boot

You’ve finally made the bold decision to make a switch from Windows 10 to CentOS 7, which is a cool decision by the way. You may have tried running CentOS 7 as a virtual machine or you may have tried it out using a CentOS 7 Live CD and now, you are ready to install it on your hard drive without losing your Windows 10 installation.

Read Also: How to Install CentOS 7 in a USB Drive

So, how do you go about having the two bootable operating systems on the same system? This guide will take you through a step-by-step procedure on how to dual boot Windows 10 with CentOS 7.

Before proceeding, you need to take note of the following:

  • Dual-booting any Linux distribution (not just CentOS 7) will not slow down your Windows system. The two operating systems will be independent of each other and will not impact each other.
  • In a dual boot setup, you can only use one operating system at a time. During the booting process, you will be presented with a list of operating systems to choose from by the boot loader.

Before we begin, let’s take note of a few safety guidelines:

  • Ensure you back up all your data in the Windows system. This is crucial so that in case of any mishaps or accidental formatting of the hard drive, you will still have your data intact.
  • It’s prudent to a have a Windows repair disk in case the Windows installation gets messed up and you cannot boot into it.

NOTE: In this tutorial, you are installing CentOS 7 on a PC with Windows 10 already installed and not the other way around.

Prerequisites:

Before you begin with the installation, perform a flight check and ensure you have the following:

  1. An installation media – 8 GB (or more) USB Drive or a blank DVD.
  2. A CentOS 7 ISO image. This can be downloaded at CentOS main website.

You can choose to download the ‘DVD ISO‘ which comes with added options of installing a Graphical User Interface and other services or you can opt for the ‘Minimal ISO‘ which comes devoid of the GUI and added features.

Download CentOS 7 ISO Image

Download CentOS 7 ISO Image

  1. A utility for making the USB bootable or burning the CentOS 7 ISO image on the DVD. In this guide, we will use Rufus tool.

Creating Bootable CentOS USB Drive

With all the requirements in place, it’s time now to create the USB drive bootable by downloading a copy of Rufus utility.

Once the download is done, double click on the installer and the Window below will be shown. Be sure to select your USB drive and the CentOS 7 ISO image.

Rufus Create Bootable USB

Rufus Create Bootable USB

With everything in place, press the ‘START‘ button to start copying the installation files onto the USB drive.

When the process is done, remove the USB drive and connect it into a PC and reboot. Ensure to set the correct boot order in the BIOS settings so that the system first boots from the USB drive.

Save the changes and allow the system to boot.

Creating a Partition for Installing CentOS 7 on Windows 10

To successfully install CentOS 7 (or any other Linux OS), you need to set aside a free partition in one of your drives.

Press the Windows button + R to open the Run dialogue box and type.

diskmgmt.msc 
Open Windows Disk Management

Open Windows Disk Management

Click OK or hit ‘ENTER‘ to open the disk management Window.

As discussed earlier, you need to create a sizable free partition for your CentOS 7 installation from one of the Windows volumes. To create a free partition, we need to shrink one of the volumes.

In this guide, we will shrink volume H as shown below.

Windows Disk Management Tool

Windows Disk Management Tool

Right click on the volume and select the ‘Shrink‘ option.

Shrink Windows Volume for CentOS Installation

Shrink Windows Volume for CentOS Installation

In the pop-up window that appears, specify the amount to shrink the volume in Megabytes. This will be equivalent to the size of the Free partition on which we will install CentOS 7. In the example below, we have specified 40372 Megabytes (about 40GB) for the free partition.

Click on ‘Shrink‘ to begin shrinking the partition.

Set Shrink Volume Space

Set Shrink Volume Space

After a few seconds, the Free space will be created as shown below.

Free Partition for CentOS 7 Installation

Free Partition for CentOS 7 Installation

You can now close the Window.

Plug the bootable USB drive into your PC or insert the DVD media into the DVD ROM and reboot.

Be sure to set your PC to boot from your installation media from the BIOS options and save the changes.

Installing CentOS 7 Alongside Windows 10 Dual Boot

Upon rebooting, the first screen presents you with a list of choices to choose from. Select the first option “Install CentOS 7” to begin the installation process.

Select Install CentOS 7

Select Install CentOS 7

Select the Language

In the next step, select your preferred language and hit the ‘Continue‘ button.

Select Language for CentOS 7

Select Language for CentOS 7

Configure the Date and Time

In the next page, you will be presented with the following interface with a few parameters that need to be configured. First online is the DATE & TIME configuration.

Select Date and Time

Select Date and Time

The world’s map will be displayed. Click on your current physical location on the map to set your time and hit the ‘DONE‘ button to save the changes.

Set Date and Time

Set Date and Time

This brings you back to the previous page.

Configure Language Support

Next, click on the ‘LANGUAGE SUPPORT‘ option to configure your language settings.

Select Language Support

Select Language Support

Select your preferred language and as before, hit the ‘DONE‘ button to save the settings.

Select Preferred Language

Select Preferred Language

Configure Keyboard

Next online is the keyboard configuration. Click on the keyboard option.

Select Keyboard

You can test the keyboard configuration and when you are satisfied with the ouputs, click on the ‘DONE‘ button as before.

Select Keyboard Layout

Select Keyboard Layout

Select Installation Source

In the next step, click on ‘INSTALLATION SOURCE‘ to customize your installation using other sources other than the traditional USB/DVD.

Select Installation Source

Select Installation Source

It’s recommended however to leave this option in its default setting as ‘Auto-detected installation media‘. Hit ‘DONE‘ to save the changes.

Select Autodetect Installation Media

Select Autodetect Installation Media

Configure Software Selection

This is the step where you will select your preferred system installation software. CentOS offers a myriad of Desktop and Server installation environments to choose from.

Software Selection

Software Selection

For production environments, the minimal install is preferred since it’s lightweight and lack a graphical user environment which gobbles up significant memory and CPU resources.

You may also choose to include other add-ons on the right pane. Once satisfied with your choices, Hit the ‘Done‘ button to save the changes.

Select Minimal Install

Select Minimal Install

Configure Partitioning

This is the part where you configure your hard disk, Click on ‘INSTALLATION DESTINATION‘ option.

Select Install Destination

Select Install Destination

As you can see, we have our free partition which we shrunk to about 40GB. Click on it to select it and click on automatic partitioning.

Automatic Configure Partitioning

Automatic Configure Partitioning

With automatic partitioning, the system automatically partitions the hard drive into the three main partitions as follows:

  • The /(root)
  • The /home
  • The swap

Next, click Done to save the changes and return to the previous screen.

If you want to create the partitions manually, click on the ‘I will configure partitioning‘.

Manual Partitioning

Manual Partitioning

Next, choose the LVM (Local Volume manager) or any other mount point. Then click on ‘Click here to create them automatically‘ option.

Select Manual Partitioning

Select Manual Partitioning

Other partitioning schemes you can choose from include:

  • Standard Partition
  • LVM Thin provisioning
  • Btrfs
Select Create Partitions Automatically

Select Create Partitions Automatically

Click on LVM and click on ‘Click here to create them automatically’ option to make your work easier.

If you are still not satisfied with the results, you can use the add, remove or reload the partition scheme to start all over again using the three buttons shown below.

Add or Remove Partitions

Add or Remove Partitions

To add a new mount point, click the on plus [+] button. A pop up will appear prompting you to select the mount point type and specify the memory capacity.

Create New Partition

Create New Partition

To remove a mount point, click on the mount point first and then hit the minus [-] button.

To start over all again click on the Reload button.

The display below will be displayed. Click on ‘Rescan Disks‘ and click OK to start over again with partitioning the disk.

Rescan Disks

Rescan Disks

Once done, hit ‘Done‘ to save the changes.

Next, accept the summary of the changes by clicking on the ‘Accept Changes‘ button.

Summary of Partition Changes

Summary of Partition Changes

Configure Networking & Hostname

Next, hit the networking tab.

Network and Hostname

Network and Hostname

On the far right, flip the networking button 'ON'. If you are in a DHCP environment, your system will automatically pick an IP address as shown below. Next, click on the upper ‘Done‘ button.

Configure Network

Configure Network

To set the hostname, scroll to the bottom and specify you preferred hostname.

Set Hostname

Set Hostname

If you want to manually set your own IP address, then hit the ‘Configure button‘ at the bottom-right corner.

Head out to the IPv4 settings and enter the details about your preferred IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS servers and click ‘Save‘ then click on ‘Done‘ to save the configuration.

Set Static IP Address on CentOS 7

Set Static IP Address on CentOS 7

Configure Kdump

Kdump is an advanced crash dumping mechanism. Its purpose is to create crash dumps in case of a Kernel crash. This is crucial and allows system administrators to debug the errors and determine the cause of the Linux kernel crash.

Select Kdump

Select Kdump

By default, Kdump is enabled, so we shall leave it the way it is.

Begin CentOS 7 Installation

Now it’s time to commence the installation of the system. Click on the ‘Begin Installation‘ button.

Begin CentOS 7 Installation

Begin CentOS 7 Installation

At this point, you will be required to create both the root password and a regular user in the system.

User Settings

User Settings

Click on ‘ROOT PASSWORD‘ to create the root password. Type a strong password and click on ‘Done‘.

Create Root Password

Create Root Password

Next, click on ‘USER CREATION‘ to create a New User. Fill all the required details and click on the ‘Done‘ button.

Create New System User

Create New System User

Now, sit back and relax as the installation progresses. At the very end, you will get a notification at the bottom of the progress bar that the installation was successful!

Remove the USB button and hit the ‘Reboot‘ button to restart your system.

CentOS 7 Installation Complete

CentOS 7 Installation Complete

After the systems reboot, you will be required to accept the End User License Agreement.

Click on ‘LICENSE INFORMATION‘.

CentOS 7 License Information

CentOS 7 License Information

Check the ‘I accept the license agreement‘ checkbox to accept the license agreement.

Accept CentOS 7 Agreement

Accept CentOS 7 Agreement

Finally, click on ‘FINISH CONFIGURATION’ to complete the process.

The system will reboot, and the CentOS bootloader will give you options to boot either from CentOS, Windows or any other installed Operating system.

Conclusion

We have finally come to the end of this tutorial. In this guide, you learned how to install CentOS 7 alongside Windows in a dual boot setup.

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James Kiarie

This is James, a certified Linux administrator and a tech enthusiast who loves keeping in touch with emerging trends in the tech world. When I'm not running commands on the terminal, I'm taking listening to some cool music. taking a casual stroll or watching a nice movie.

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