Installing Manjaro on two separate HDDs

Hello, new Linux user here. I would like to ask for advice on how i should set up my partitions. I have two different HDD and i don't intend to dual boot. I couldn't find something of help for my situation since every post was asking for dual booting with two HDDs, but I would like to use both for Manjaro KDE. They are 500GB and 1TB drives, and this is my goal if it's possible:
500GB HDD

  • root 400+GB root
  • swap 17GB Linuxswap
  • boot/EFI 512MB, Fat32
    1TB HDD
    -home
    Is this a good way to set them up? I was thinking of shrinking my root and creating a home partition in my 500GB drive, but my question then is will the two home partitions from these two drives combine or will they stay separate? Id likes to use my home partition for music, games, video. I'm still getting my toes wet with setting up my system, but I would like it to be close to what Windows offers, C drive is for my programs, and D drive for my games, music, and video files. Any help in setting this up this way is greatly appreciated.

You could just create all your system partitions (EFI, root, home and swap) on the 500 GB disk and use your 1 TB disk as data storage which can be mounted/linked at anywhere convenient in your filesystem.

Dual-boot - what?

If Windows

If other Linux distributions - same precaution.

Some Linux distributions e.g. Ubuntu uses a special efi boot binary. This may be true for others as well - which makes the separation of EFI volumes a vital component to success.

:wink:

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Welcome to the forum! :beers:

First of all, what you need to realize is that GNU/Linux is not Microsoft Windows. It's a UNIX system, and UNIX does not work with "drives" the way Windows does.

In a UNIX system, everything is organized along a directory hierarchy with a single root directory. As such, whichever filesystem ─ i.e. partition ─ you mount as /home last will be the one that's used, and any other partition that you mounted as /home before that will be obscured.

Also, all software is normally always installed in /usr or in /opt. You cannot install certain selected applications elsewhere in the tree. The UNIX paradigm just doesn't work that way.

Now, what I would personally recommend in your case would be the following...

/dev/sda1 512 MiB  FAT32 (vfat) /boot/efi   (lowercase, not "EFI")
/dev/sda2 100 GiB  ext4         /           (the root filesystem!= "/root")
/dev/sda3  17 GiB  swap       
/dev/sda4 the rest ext4         /home
/dev/sdb1          ext4         /backup

That way, you can store backups that you make with TimeShift and/or DejaDup on the separate hard disk, so that you can restore any backup again at any point in time, and so that if anything happens to your primary disk, then you still have your backups and thus your data.

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Thanks for this suggestion, would perhaps the 500GB drive be better as a backup since i have 300GB of music alone :smiley: (i do need to trim the library a bit when i get the chance). Also, I saw that the /boot/efi partition has in some guides two flags, boot, and esp, but i can't find esp in the new Manjaro KDE installer, is this intended, and I only need the boot flag.

In a UNIX system, everything is organized along a directory hierarchy with a single root directory. As such, whichever filesystem ─ i.e. partition ─ you mount as /home last will be the one that's used and any other partition that you mounted as /home before that will be obscured.

This is some great info to know since I tried to install Manjaro once and partitioned my drives like so:

/dev/sda1 512 MiB  FAT32 (vfat) /boot/efi  
/dev/sda2 100 GiB  ext4         /        
/dev/sda3  17 GiB  swap       
/dev/sda4 the rest ext4         /home
/dev/sdb1    1 TB  ext4         /home

I thought that it would just combine the two for some reason. And now with this new info, I am going to partition it like so:

/dev/sda1 512 MiB  FAT32 (vfat) /boot/efi  
/dev/sda2 100 GiB  ext4         /        
/dev/sda3  17 GiB  swap       
/dev/sda4 the rest ext4         /home
/dev/sdb1 500 GiB  ext4         /backup

In the Manual Partitioning am I supposed to get just New partition in place of /dev/sda or sdb, and they only show up after I install the OS?

Also, all software is normally always installed in /usr or in /opt. You cannot install certain selected applications elsewhere in the tree. The UNIX paradigm just doesn't work that way.

Where are these two located, in root or home? Just so I know if I should perhaps extend the root size if its there, a few extra GiB from a TB drive won't hurt. Thanks for being so helpful

If your system boots in UEFI mode (and you are installing it in UEFI mode), then the esp flag will automatically be assigned to the vfat partition.

However, if your system is set up to boot in UEFI + CSM (BIOS compatibility), then chances are that you're actually installing in BIOS mode, rather than UEFI mode. And that could lead to a nasty surprise at the end of the installation procedure, when the installer can't figure out where to install the boot loader. So it's always best, before you begin, that you disable BIOS compatibility (CSM) in the UEFI firmware, and that the system boots up in UEFI mode only.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. You create new partitions on the drive that is shown. It's not that difficult.

A directory whose name starts with a forward slash and does not contain any other slashes is always a directory in the root directory. However, the contents of /usr and /opt can be put on their own partitions, just like /home. I myself am using separate partitions for /boot, /boot/efi (the ESP), /, /usr, /opt, /usr/local, /srv, /home, and /var.

The root filesystem itself, if everything listed here-above is split off from it, doesn't contain more than a few MiB worth of data. All executables and libraries are normally put under /usr in Manjaro, unless they are third-party binaries, in which case they are put under /opt.

/var is where system logs and print and/or mail spools are kept. /home is where all the user-owned data goes. /srv is a directory with data that belongs to services running on the system ─ e.g. a locally hosted website or an FTP archive.

I have a fairly complete installation here, and granted, my /usr filesystem is btrfs with level 3 compression, but my /usr is only 6.4 GiB in size.

So if you leave everything on the root filesystem except for /home, then a 100 GiB root filesystem is way more than you'll ever need, although in that case, I would still recommend periodically cleaning out /var/cache/pacman/pkg ─ it grows with every update ─ and also setting a more sensible maximum size for system logs in /etc/journald.conf, because the default maximum size is a certain percentage of the filesystem's capacity ─ I'm not sure what percentage, but it could be as much as 20%, and that's way too much for logs.

What I either way recommend is that you'd use the fastest of your drives for the system itself, and the slower drive for backups. Also, depending on how much RAM you have in your machine, your system might be prone to swapping, and an SSD is always immensely faster than a HDD, but swapping to an SSD also wears out the SSD a lot faster. So perhaps it would be wiser to create the swap partition on a HDD, rather than on the SSD.

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