How to set up a dual drive system?


I have to drives in my machine a 256ssd and a 1tb hdd I currently have a dual boot setup with 200gb from the hdd going to ubuntu (plan to switch to Manjaro). However this is not ideal due to slow boot times. I want to partion 20 or so gb from my ssd for boot and some essential programs but setup pacman to install the other programs to a folder on the hdd partition.

The main question is how do I make so that if I do “pacman -S some_program” how do I make it write to a folder on the hdd instead of the ssd.


SSD 20~40gb:

  • boot

  • main programs ( browser, editor etc)

HDD 200gb:

  • other not as commonly used programs ( 3D slicer software, necessary bloat etc)
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Welcome to the forum! :slight_smile:

You cannot do that ─ that’s Microsoft Windows logic. GNU/Linux is a UNIX-family operating system and at the filesystem level, application software is integrated with the rest of the operating system.

The UNIX paradigm is that there is no distinction between system and applications. All executables are merely utilities, and applications are just more tools in the toolbox.

What you can however do is split off certain parts of the filesystem hierarchy onto separate partitions, regardless of whether these partitions exist on the same physical drive or not, or even on another computer in the network.

More information on what is possible can be obtained from the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.


Please read this:

Especially the section on “Windows has drives, Linux has a hierarchical file system” (which contains a subset of the documentation @Aragorn is referring to)

And what you want to do is possible but complex and what you need to do is:

  1. Note the directories where what you consider bloat is installed (you cannot move individual files, only directories)
  2. uninstall the bloat you want to move from the SSD
  3. mount the specific directories noted in step #1 to the HDD in your fstab
  4. reinstall the bloat and now they’ll go to the HDD.

I’d put /var on the hdd, set 40 to 64 GB (on the ssd) for root and /home on the hdd. I’d also set the hdd partitions as bcache filesystem, but you need to give up more space on the ssd for that. I’ve been using bcache for a while now. It works preatty well.

Another possibility is to give up at least 32GB in the SSD and set everything on hdd as bcache, but I’ve never set a bcache root. You have info here, though.

For the record, I use bcache for reading and writing and, although the archwiki is centered on btrfs, I never used it. I use ext4. The procedures are the same.


Thank you for the link it will be very helpful

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Thank you, I think this is the advice I was looking for I will follow you suggestion have had a bit of a delay windows doesn’t seem to want to shrink the ssd volume

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Then use the Manjaro USB stick or Gparted live Iso to shrink the partiton of Windows.
But before: backup your data.

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I recommend you AOMEI Partition Assistant. It’s free and very reliable. I used it many times to manipulate Windows partitions. It’s better to defrag and optimize the volume before shrinking it, because Windows always puts a large chunk of undefragable garbage at the end of the partition, and you need continuous space available to properly move that chunk.

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