Trying to clear up some things before I install Manjaro

Hi there! I'm interested in moving from Windows to Manjaro, and I've been reading up some stuff for some months now, but since I'm new to Linux I figured I'd make a thread here to make sure I don't fudge up because of ignorance.

First things first: My laptop is an ASUS, but I'm not 100% sure of the exact model - the sticker with the serial number and whatnot says it's an FX553VD, but Windows's dxdiag says that it's a GL553VD. I'm assuming there's not much difference, but I'll still leave that here.
That said, it's running on an Intel i7-7700HQ and an nVidia GeForce GTX 1050 (yes, I know, nVidia on Linux instead of AMD. I'm hoping it won't give me too much trouble, and I'll have a few questions about it in a little bit :stuck_out_tongue:), 8GB RAM and a 250GB SSD.
I've still to open it up and make sure, but if I can have 2 SSDs in it, I'm planning on leaving the 250gb SSD for the Windows installation, and add a 1TB SSD for Manjaro (on a caddy in the place of the optical drive).
If I should add more info here, please let me know - maybe a CPU-Z screenshot or something? I'm not 100% sure.

And that leads to the second thing: will dual booting between two disks be annoying? I've read a few guides, but the ones I found are about dual booting in the same disk, but different partitions. When installing, do I just choose to install Manjaro on the second disk, or are there some special precautions to take?
Also, even though I've read about it I still don't quite get the whole thing about the EFI partition. For instance, do I make a new EFI partition because of Manjaro, that both it and Windows will start to use or do I use the one that Windows already uses to boot up? And if I do have to make a new / second one, does it go on the SSD that has Windows, or does it go on the SSD that has Manjaro?

I'm also a bit worried about the Boot Loader after reading some horror stories from other users, so I'll be grateful for a step-by-step on this whole EFI partition / Boot loader situation.
Or at least a simple explanation, since I'm not computer savvy enough to understand the more technical terms and explanations in the wiki.
For reference, in case it helps, my laptop has UEFI and the 250gb disk is set to GPT.

That said, if installing in different disks is just a matter of selecting the intended disk instead of partitioning the main one, I should be fine following the Manjaro User Guide :slight_smile:

The third thing I wanted to ask is about the directories: I've seen suggestions about creating a partition for the /root directory and a partition for the /home directory, but I'm not sure I understood the differences.
From what I gathered, having those directories in different partitions reduces the risk of losing all your files in case a system update / configuration change makes me need to reinstall Manjaro. BUT that means that you'll have to make a partition that's not too small for the /root directory because of eventual updates that might take up more space. Is that the basic gist of it?

The fourth thing is kinda related to the fifth (or it might affect it, possibly): for some reason I can't boot up the Manjaro LiveUSB with nonfree drivers. Even booting with the free drivers is a bit bumpy, because I need to run a command that I found here. acpi_osi=! acpi_osi=Linux nomodeset is the one that makes it boot with free drivers, but none of those commands make it boot with nonfree drivers. The weirdest thing about this is that some months ago, when I first tried the LiveUSB, I could boot up the free driver "version" without any issues (although I never managed to boot with nonfree drivers).

Just in case someone might know this issue, I'll leave what happens if I try to boot up with both options.

With the free drivers, Manjaro prints a bunch of lines but it'll quickly get to

umount: can't unmount /dev/loop3: Invalid argument
umount: can't unmount /dev/loop2: Invalid argument
umount: can't unmount /dev/loop1: Invalid argument
umount: can't unmount /dev/loop0: Invalid argument
umount: can't unmount /oldrun/miso/cowspace: Invalid argument
[      15.093631] reboot: Power down

and it shuts down. I think that the numbers might not be always the same, but I never noticed. I only managed to get this text after recording one of the tries with my phone lol

When I try to boot with nonfree drivers, Manjaro will print a bunch of lines on screen as well but then it'll hang on

A start job is running for LiveMedia MHWD Script

for about 50 seconds, then it'll go to

TLP system startup/shutdown.

where it just gets stuck, and I'll have to hold the power button to force a shutdown. For some reason that I don't know, after a few seconds stuck on here it also makes my fan kick into overdrive.

Now, the fifth thing: Which I'm a little worried about because of the previous one.

I know that the free nVidia drivers are the Nouveau ones, but I'd prefer to use the nonfree ones because I've seen some posts saying that they offer better performance for actual gaming. Since I can boot into the LiveUSB environment with the free drivers, I was thinking of installing Manjaro with the free drivers and follow this wiki page. That said, while this seems simple enough to follow, my worry is whether or not whatever is keeping the LiveUSB from booting up with the nonfree drivers will make the full installation unable to boot if I do install the nonfree drivers later.

So, I think those are the biggest things I want to clear up before I commit to the install in (hopefully) a few days. Thanks in advance to whoever decides to give me some explanations and help, especially after the absolute wall of text I just made...ˢᵒʳʳʸ ᵃᵇᵒᵘᵗ ᵗʰᵃᵗ

install with the free drivers to avoid having to deal with the fumblebee nonsense that's causing it not to boot. after you get manjaro installed and after a full update is run you can setup a different optimus solution that uses the nvidia drivers


i suggest optimus-switch or prime because i know they both work reliably, but you decide for yourself

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How the heck did I manage to not find this despite finding a bunch of other guides? Thank you for linking it!

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if you're going to dual boot and will be opening the machine anyway, you could always temporarily remove the windows drive, install linux on the new drive, then plug the windows one back in. This'll keep both installs totally separate from each other and stop MS potentially screwing around with boot options when an update happens. F12 to choose the drive you want to boot from. Just a thought.

I strongly recommend to have a look at the User Guide.

It is a good decission to use a separate disk for Windows and Linux. Create a separate ESP on the Linux disk. In the User Guide you will find an important hint to look twice where your bootloader gets installed, make sure it is the Linux disk (for convenience purposes, so you can remove the other one or don't have to restore Manjaro bootloader (whis is not too difficult though) after an invasive Windows update).

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There's one more thing that I want to ask about, after spending the last couple of days reading up and getting ready to install Manjaro in the weekend. How should I handle the / (root) and /home directories? I was thinking of making separate partitions for them, but I'm worried about the size for /.

I'll be playing games off Steam and Lutris. I know that Steam lets me choose where to install the games and I assume that Lutris also has a similar feature, so those aren't a big worry.
But what about programs that I install through the Package Manager or Terminal? Aren't those installed on / instead of /home?

At first I was considering following the suggestion of some guides and make the root partition 20 or 30GB, but since I plan on installing Krita and some other additional programs (some that I know I'll use and others that I'm gonna be trying out as alternatives to other Windows programs), maybe it's better to settle on about 100GB for / and the remaining space for /home?

This is asking for trouble. Do not move /usr to another partition. This will save you a lot of trouble. Many user use /home on another partition or even drive. This usually is good idea to do.

If you have only one drive and don't plan to often reinstall and have a good backup and restore procedure, you don't really need to use different partitions. Just use / for everything.


Maybe you mean with /user /home, if so it would work.

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i think he was just confused about /home and referring to it as /user

@Arilys if you split / and /home, thats fine. size each the way you see fit. you can also do as @xabbu mentioned and just install everything to / . it's how i have it setup currently, it's user preference

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As @xabbu points out, I assume you mean separate / and /home.

I'd say that 100GB for / is a bit of overkill, but - since you are installing to an SSD - it could really be beneficial in the long run. SSDs like to have plenty of free space to keep running super fast and at optimum disk health. While modern SSDs have less of a requirement for massive over-provisioning, any extra unused space is handy for disk operations. So that's a pretty good plan, IMO.

I personally like having a separate / and /home. If a catastrophe should strike my OS, I could reinstall the / partition and still have my user data, .configs etc intact.

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Yes, I meant /home instead of /user my brain disconnected there for a moment. Thanks for pointing it out, I edited my post to correct it!

While I don't plan on doing distro hopping or reinstall Manjaro too often, and plan on keeping backups, this is also my reasoning for keeping / and /home separate. I just like to be as fool-proof as possible - especially since every now and then I have some big fool moments :B

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Join the club. I'm a charter member. :grin:

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