Do I have to format other drives?

Hi guys. I’m new to Linux. I messed around Manjaro in VM. After created ISO image flash-drive and checked things out with “native” hardware.

I have 3 drive in Windows:

  • 256Gb ssd for Windows 11 and some software
  • 500Gb ssd for games and heavy software
  • 1Tb for other files/junk

While i was playing around “preview” version of OS (where you install it) I noticed that file explorer sees my other drives and I can access files within. I’m planning to install Manjaro to 256Gb ssd with formatting it. I want to use other drives as I use them in Windows, second ssd for games and heavy software and hdd for files. I tried and installed Steam and added 500Gb ssd as Steam GameLibrary Folder. After that games got recognized by steam.

So, here is my question:

  1. Do I have to format my second ssd and 1Tb hard-drive or I can use them like that?
  2. Can I chose where to install software’s for Linux? For example I would like to have Blender on my second ssd.
  3. Can I chose where to install games in Steam (forgot to check it out)

Welcome to the forum!

This is not how UNIX works. In a UNIX system, there is no concept of “drives” as you use them in Windows. Instead, everything is integrated into a single, unified directory hierarchy, of which certain parts can be split off onto other partitions, or even onto other computers in the network.

Applications are not regarded as separate entities but as extensions of the operating system itself. Therefore, there are designated directories (“folders”) for executables, libraries, et al. Each user account also has a designated home directory, which contains their personal configuration settings and data.

Steam is a special case because it’s essentially a GNU/Linux port of software that was initially designed for Windows and that still maintains the Windows paradigm.

GNU/Linux can read from and write to NTFS, but you do have to disable Fast Boot and Windows Hybrid Sleep, because they leave your NTFS filesystems in an open state, which the Linux kernel will see as filesystem damage, upon which it will mount those Windows filesystems as read-only.

Negative. All native software becomes integrated with and an extension of the operating system. Software installed via Steam is the only exception to that rule.

Yes, but this will be in a dedicated Steam folder — usually inside your home directory.

Further reading… :arrow_down:


Theoretically no, but using a file system better supported by Linux, such as exFAT for also keeping support with Windows, is preferable.



Tutorial that you linked is exactly what I needed. Big thanks for that and for you’re answer

Thanks for the answers and links. But I still can’t understand how does file system works. Especially with multiple drives. If I install OS to first ssd and I can’t choose where to install software’s, what would happen if first ssd run’s out of space? Would OS install it to second ssd or hdd? What if I want software to be on hdd or ssd? Could you explain it like I’m a child?

Then you’ll get an error message. :wink:

No. But it is always possible to split off parts of the system onto other partitions/drives. I’ve written a hands-on tutorial about that too, but it’s not for the faint of heart. :stuck_out_tongue:


You cannot split off software from the main system at random because all software is integrated into the operating system itself.

However, an experienced system administrator could install the system in such a way that different parts of the operating system are distributed across multiple partitions/drives, or even to have some of it on a server in the network and imported by every workstation on said network.

To the end-user, it would all still look the same, because /home is always going to be /home, regardless of on what physical medium it exists.

Please take a look at the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, which explains the logic behind the different directories and what they contain.

Also please bear in mind that you are never going to be able to use the system efficiently by holding onto the paradigms of Microsoft Windows. UNIX is a standardized operating system architecture, while Microsoft pretty much created its own island, where things are very different to the rest of the world. :wink:

Yes, but that would take several months. :stuck_out_tongue:

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In a nutshell, I install OS to first ssd and then can split off parts of the system between other ssd and hdd?

If you make room on the other drives for additional partitions — note: they would have to be formatted with a Linux-native filesystem — then you can tell the installer to use those extra partitions as mountpoints, e.g. for /home or /var.

As a practical example, the tutorial I posted above explains how I’ve installed my system here. :arrow_down:

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I see, thanks again for fast reply. Last question regarding you’re system from linked tutorial, does it made with multiple drives?

I have two drives in this system — a 1 TB SSD and an older 750 GB HDD. The system is installed across multiple partitions that all reside on the SSD. I use the HDD only for storing backups that I make with timeshift (in rsync mode).

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