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Yes! You'll need to set up at least one partition (can also be a second disk if you want though more a Desktop thing I suppose)
I've just installed Mint 17 on a second disk but split into three partitions plus swap. One for "/", one for "/usr" and one for "/home"
The /home one was particularly useful as I was moving from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. It allowed me to do a fressh install and keep all my documents, pictures, movies, etc which had previously been on the Ubuntu home partition. When assigning the partitions (under Advanced mode) I specified "no format" for the /home partition.
Surprisingly, when I booted up Mint, I had all my Firefox bookmarks, Thunderbird worked and had all my contacts and had remembered the configuration. Best of all... When I re-installed KWalletManager, all my encrypted passwords were picked up and available!
For a laptop you'll need to shrink your windows partition using GParted or similar disk editor. Re-defining the Windows partition will take a while as there will be files which need to be shuffled out of the space you're clearing. That's the first bit of the task.
Once you've cleared a space, you need to select that partition and have it formatted as ext4, ext3 or whatever for Linux then pick that partition when you install Linux as the one to install it on.
Do a search for "Dual Boot" within the forums to get a better description of the steps.