Dual boot on SSD/HDD

Hello! This is my first post in the forum.

My new computer arrived yesterday at home. It has a 250 Gb SSD disk and a 1 Tb HDD. I’ve been using Linux for years, most of the time Debian-based distros, but never had Windows installed alongside Linux and neither two different disks in the PC. So I would like to ask here first for some help.

  1. I guess that first of all I should install Windows (50/100Gb?) because I want GRUB to run the start-up of the computer. I don’t know where I should install Windows, as I will only use this to play some casual games (I prefer to install games via Lutris or Wine) or use some applications. Would you recommend to install it in the SSD or even to split it in two partitions (is it possible?)?

  2. Installing Manjaro. I need to split partitions, so I guess the option ‘Install Manjaro alongside Windows’ will not be suitable. Root (/) should be in the SSD disk and /home in the HDD. And where should I install /boot? Would you recommend other partitions?

I tend to use ext4 format. Is it the best for Manjaro?

Thank you very much!

HI @mendulinho and welcome to the forum!

I have a similar setup so I’ll tell you how I would organize my system, but feel free to disagree with me.
If you intend to use Windows just occasionally I would recommend installing it on the HDD and reserving the faster SSD for Manjaro. I feel like 1Tb of space just for windows is wasted though, so after installing Windows I would split the HDD in half: 500gb for windows and 500gb formatted as you please. This will give you a separate partition easily accessible from both OSs, so maybe you could store large files, or games files or whatever!
My advice is to install windows first, it will be easier and cleaner and it won’t mess your bootloader, otherwise you can run into problems.

I assume your computer is in UEFI mode, but I doubt anyone ships new computers with BIOS as default these days xD.

So, once you installed windows remember to disable the usual stuff: fast boot and secure boot in UEFI settings and hybrid sleep in windows settings and you should be good to go.
Create a live usb with Manjaro and begin the installation process.

Now, someone prefers to pre-partition the drive where you’re gonna install Linux, but in this case, assuming you will use the SSD for Manjaro, I don’t think it’s necessary.
In the installation process you can just select the disk and let Manjaro set the partitions, just remember to select the swap option (if you need it) and be careful to select the option with hibernation (if you plan to use it).
For the boot partition the installer should automatically select the Windows EFI partition so you’ll be able to choose which OS to boot in the GRUB menu. If it doesn’t do that automatically just manually select the EFI partition for /boot, it’s farely easy to do.

There are a lot of tutorials on this forums, so if you want more specific information you can easily find them, I just wanted to tell you how I would do it.
And in fact this is the precise way i installed Linux in dual boot on my brothers laptop!

Finally, ext4 works well with Manjaro, I have never used other file systems so I’ll let more experienced users guide you with that!
Have a great day!

Edit: I would install Windows and Manjaro on separate drives because Windows updates tend to create problems with the Manjaro boot loader or even delete the partition where Linux is installed… you can still do it if you want but be careful when you update Windows and take precautions!


With a GPT-partitioned disk, it doesn’t really matter much where you install it. But given that it’ll be the first system you’re planning on installing, I would recommend creating the GPT partition table first, followed by the creation of an EFI system partition ─ 512 MiB, formatted as vfat (FAT32) and marked with the esp and boot flags ─ and then your Windows partition, in a size to be determined by you.

As for where you install Manjaro, the same more or less applies, i.e. you can install it where you want, and you should create at least a root partition (/) and a /home partition. The root partition should be about 60 to 70 GiB in size, in order to be future-proof. You can use the rest for /home, or have /home as a partition on the HDD. You do not need a separate /boot, but the EFI partition must be mounted at /boot/efi.

As for the filesystem type for Manjaro, ext4 is a good choice ─ not the best choice (if there even is one), but a good choice nevertheless. It has good performance and it’s reliable.

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Hello @mendulinho :wink:

  1. I recommend to install Manjaro and Windows on the same SSD. So that they share one EFI partition. But if you are not familiar with grub, due windows updates like to overwrite it, i would not recommend it.
  2. For Windows10 you should have at least 50GB. For installations of Games, better use the 1TB HDD. Create there a partition with exfat, since it is fully supported on both systems and there are no problems with ACL, for the games and install it there.
  3. First Install Windows and give it at the setup 50-100GB space. The rest of the space is for Manjaro.
  4. For Manjaro I would recommend to put the home directory to the 1TB HDD.
  5. ext4 can be used with grub without problems. In fact it is default today and should be used.
  6. On a efi system there is only one efi partition needed and the root partition. A swapfile is recommend for SSDs today. A boot partition is in my opinion a waste of time nowadays, at least on SSDs and EFI Systems, it makes no sense.
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Thank you so much! All 3 answers were really really helpful. I’m already running my system and it’s working pretty well.

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