Linux Mint 18 Upgrade on my Dual-booted Macbook Air – part 1

Part 1 – Resizing Mac Yosemite Partitions

Note: I am a casual nerd, savvy enough to experiment, google things and trouble shoot, but not a technical whiz by any stretch. I’m writing solely based on my own experience and what I figure out.

I have a Macbook Air with a 128Gig harddrive. It’s a lovely, speedy machine, but that drive is not big enough. Maybe if I were in love with icloud and kept everything online it would be okay, but I don’t like to do that for both philosophical and practical reasons. I’ve been dabbling with Linux for years now, and a few months back I decided to go for it, and use Linux as my daily driver, as they say. I added a partition to my drive, leaving Mac where it was and installed Linux Mint 17.3 on a 28 GB partition. I have a tiny usb drive I keep plugged in most all the time, and used that along with some external drives to manage files. (It’s not a great method, but it was the best way I had without buying a bunch of new hardware.) It worked pretty well, and I liked Mint a lot.

Obviously the drive space was a big pain, and when Mint 18 came out I decided it was an excuse to reconfigure my drive space and do a fresh install.

I had a bunch of files on the Mac partition I wasn’t using, and while I don’t want to lose that OS altogether, I cleared a bunch out so I could resize that partition.

Partition Resizing Problems and the Dreaded Logical Volume Group

It seems that my Mac partition, running Yosemite, (looking at it in Mac Disk Utility) had somehow converted to a Logical Volume Group. And that meant that I couldn’t resize or change any of my partitions.

Through some digging around, I was able to convert it back with only a little bit of command line activity. I could try to explain it all, but this article does it better than I could, so you should just read this:

But it still doesn’t work.

That seemed like progress, but I still couldn’t shrink the partition. After more digging, I found a solution, which was used to expand a partition with the command line. I did the same thing he did, but in reverse. Checked the minimum disk size with a simple command line bit, and resized the volume to just bigger than that. That all makes sense once you read this article:

From there I was able to install Linux Mint into that free space that I’d created, as usual.

Using Refind

I use Refind as a boot menu, which works well, with one however. It stops working once in a while, and boots directly to either Mint or Mac OS. I think it’s mainly the Mac OS updates that cause it, and then I have to hold option to boot into Mac or select another disk. So I just keep the install file handy in Mac OS, and reinstall whenever it needs to.  It’s a minor hassle, so I just stay prepared for it.

Next up: customizing and twiddling with Linux Mint 18.