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1.2 Reflash your laptop with an LMDE Live USB

Once you have created a copy of all of your documents and placed them on a separate USB drive and made a list of all of the programs you want to replace once you have reflashed your computer, you are ready to start the reflashing process.

First, place your LMDE 4 Live USB into a USB 3 port on your computer. Generally USB 3 ports are on the left side of your laptop as you are facing your open laptop screen. Then turn on the computer and immediately press whatever keys are needed to enter your BIOS settings. On a Dell computer, it is usually F2. On a Lenovo, it may be the Function key plus the F2 key. On an HP laptop, it might be the Escape key.

Once you enter your BIOS, go to the Boot Settings to make sure that the laptop is set to boot from a USB drive before booting from the internal hard drive. If your laptop has the option to boot from Legacy or UEFI, choose the Legacy Mode. If your laptop has the option to turn off secure boot, then turn off secure boot. You may need to do an online search to determine the best options for your particular computer. Here we will review the process for a Dell E6520.

Once the BIOS has been set to boot from a USB in Legacy mode, click Save and Close. In a few seconds, you should see the GRUB2 screen with Linux Mint Debian Edition as the first option. Click on it.

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Alternately, wait a few seconds and it will load on its own.

It will then take about a minute to bring up the Linux Mint Live Screen.

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The screen will have an Install Linux Mint icon on the left side.

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Click on Install Linux Mint. The first screen is a Welcome screen. Click Next. You will then see screens to select the keyboard and the time. Click Next on all of these screens. You will then come to the User Account screen:

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Enter your name and the name you want to use for your computer.

Keep the computer name short. Then enter your user name and password (twice). Also keep these short and easy to remember. Then change Log In to Log In Automatically. Do not encrypt the Home folder. Then click Next.

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Use the Automated Install option. For Disk, select the internal hard drive of your laptop. Then click Next. There is a problem with this screen. The first time you install LMDE on your laptop, it may only offer you the choice of sda or sda1. The problem with these options is that either will let to an “Invalid Partition Table” error. This is because the Automated Install option uses sda1 to create a Swap Partition and then places the Linux File System on sda2. We want the Grub Boot menu on sda2. The solution to this problem is to install the Grub Boot menu on sda1 and complete the installation process. But do not close or restart the laptop after the process. Instead, click the Install Linux Mint icon again and install Linux Mint a second time. This second time, when you reach this screen, you will be given the option of placing the Grub Menu on the sda2 partition:

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Select sda2 and then click Next to complete the install process.

After the second installation, do not restart your computer. Instead, go to the Mint Menu and click on Applications, Administration, Gparted. Here is the screen:

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Even though we installed the Grub Menu on sda2, there is no boot flag shown for sda2. Right click on sda2 and click Manage Flags. Then check the Boot box. Then close Manage Flags. Here is the partition table with the boot flag now on the sda2 partition.

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Now that the partition table is correctly set, go to the Mint Menu and shut down the laptop. Remove the Live USB and press Enter to complete the process. Then press the power button on your computer to restart it. You should soon see the Linux Mint Welcome screen.

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What’s Next?

In the next section, we will review some important First Steps for completing the initial configuration of LMDE.