How to setup a Windows 10, Linux Mint 19.1 Dual Boot with Encrypted Partitions on a Dell XPS 15 9560

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This is a how to on setting up a system that dual boots Windows 10 and Linux Mint 19.1 where both the Windows and Linux partitions are encrypted. This guide expects UEFI to be turned on but SecureBoot to be turned off. This guide is targeting a Dell XPS 15 9560 laptop and so a couple of the steps are specific to that. However it should be useful for other versions of Linux and other computer models. Note that I don't go into great detail on actually executing the mint-encrypted-install script (I forgot to take notes on that part) but it was fairly straight forward (just make sure you follow the instructions).

Goal

Prerequisites

  • UEFIis turned on
  • SecureBootis turned off
  • You have a Windows 10 Installation CD/DVD/Thumbdrive available
  • You have a Linux Mint 19.1 Live Boot CD/DVD/Thumbdrive available
  • Your BIOS (really UEFI) configuration is set to allow booting from a CD/DVD and/or USB

Instructions

  1. Boot to your Windows 10 Installation Media (hit F12 when the Dell Logo shows during boot to get a Boot Menu on the Dell XPS 15 9560)
  2. Click through the first menus until you get to the Partition screen. At this point delete all partitions.
  3. Now you need to do some custom work so hit Ctrl+F10 and then you'll get to a command prompt
    1. Run the diskpart tool by running
      diskpart
    2. Now list out the disks on the machine by running
      list disk
    3. Assuming that the disk you want to use is disk 0 run
      select disk 0
    4. Create a 1GB EFI partition by running
      create partition efi size=1024
    5. Create a 16MB MSR partition by running
      create partition msr size=16
    6. Create a Windows partition (this guide assumes ~450GB for Windows 10, whatever is leftover will be for Linux) by running
      create partition primary size=450000
    7. Exit out of the diskpart tool by running
      exit
    8. Exit out of the command prompt and back into the Windows 10 installer by running
      exit
  4. Complete the Windows 10 installation normally
  5. Once you've booted into Windows enable BitLocker encryption of the Windows partition
    1. Go to Control Panel --> System and Security --> BitLocker Drive Encryption
    2. Click Turn on BitLocker for the Operating system drive
    3. Follow the instructions and save your recovery key
  6. Install Linux Mint 19.1
    1. Reboot your machine with the Linux Mint 19.1 Installation Media inserted
    2. Hit F12 when the Dell Logo shows during boot to get a Boot Menu on the Dell XPS 15 9560 & select the CD/DVD or USB as needed
    3. When you get to the GRUB bootloader screen hit e to edit the Grub line for the Linux Mint 19.1 Live desktop
      • This is necessary because, currently, the default GPU driver include in the Live Desktop causes Linux to crash on the Dell 9560 and the system won't boot
      1. At the end of the line replace
        quiet splash
        with
        nomodeset
      2. Hit F10 to boot
    4. Once you're in the Live desktop environment open a terminal to download and run CallumCameron's mint-encrypted-install script
      1. Open a Terminal
      2. Install git so that we can get CallumCameron's script by running
        sudo apt-get -y install git
      3. Make sure we're in our home directory by running
        cd ~
      4. Get the mint-encrypted-install script by running
        git clone https://github.com/callumcameron/mint-encrypted-install
      5. Change directories to the newly downloaded folder by running
        cd mint-encrypted-install
      6. Start the script by running
        ./mint-encrypted-install
      7. Follow the onscreen prompts exactly. When you are given the choice, I recommend choosing to install 3rd party drivers (but this is your choice)
    5. Reboot the system and you should be prompted to enter the encryption password you selected in Linux
    6. Once you see the GRUB bootloader choose Linux Mint 19.1
    7. Login, click, the Linux Mint icon in the lower left to bring up the Start Menu, type "Driver Manager", and run that program
      • Even though I chose to install 3rd party drivers, the open source nouveau GPU drivers were still selected
      1. Click the nvidia-driver-XXX radio button to choose to use the proprietary nvidia drivers instead of the open source nouveau drivers (you can switch back and forth any time)

At this point you should be setup with a system that requires the "Linux" password on boot, then takes you to GRUB where you can choose to boot into Linux or Windows. Linux was decrypted when you entered the password. Windows will be decrypted automatically with BitLocker.