I had two laptops; one Windows 7 and one Peppermint OS. The Linux machine died and I would like to re-size the partition on the Windows drive and copy over the Linux drive to make the machine dual boot. I have seen tutorials on installing Linux to a new partition but can I simply copy over the files from the Linux drive?
You can resize the Windows drive after booting from a Linux USB/CD.
After that you can copy the files from the old Linux drives onto the newly created partition after making a filesystem on it (assuming you can built in that drive in e.g. a USB enclosure).
For the copied files you have to change /etc/fstab to reflect new UUIDs or partitions, and you have to update the grub configuration. Then you can install grub in the bootsector and dual-boot the machine.
It might be easier just to do a fresh install and copy your data files over.
The simple answer is no.
In order to dual boot, you have to partition a hard drive and install the operation system on the separate partition.
Luckily, most linux distros offer the capability to dual boot.
Here is the general tutorial on how you can a dual boot system with USB/CD:
First, grab an .iso of the Linux system you would like. Make sure that is the right distribution (either x32 or x62 bit)
Second, create a boot disk with either USB/CD. I use Unetbootin because it is simple and effective.
Third, restart computer, boot using the USB .iso image, and from there you will get the choice to either install the new OS or to test it out. If you are intent on installing, go right ahead and start that process, else you can test the linux distro and leave your original hard drive untampered.
Note: When installing the new operating system, you are going to have to repartition your existing hard drive. Some operating systems will do this automatically, but if you have to do so yourself, here is a general procedure:
First, create two new partitions. One is for the operating system itself, which you can format as Ext4. Give it at least 10 GB of space, and set the mount point as /.
Second, create the second partition for what's called swap space. This essentially helps your computer manage memory more effectively and keeps it running fast. If you have a small amount of ram (one or two GB), you'll want your swap partition to be twice as large as the amount of RAM you have.
If you have any more concerns, refer to Peppermint OS installation guide here: http://peppermintos.com/guide/downloading/