Hi oldfred, thanks for the input!

I installed Windows 8 to a new partition from an old XP one into some newly created space, I assume that's why it is at sda5. Based on your post:

1. I assume sda2 would be better?
2. I just installed these OSs, would it be easier to just erase everything, install windows 8 to sda1, then follow with sda2 for Mint and sda3 for swap?
3. when I look at gparted, I see sda1 first, followed by sda5 with no space in between. Is this setup a candidate for your method?

Let me know if theres any more data you need!

-John