Installation of Manjaro alongside Windows


I need some information regarding the installation of Manajaro Linux alongside Windows 8.1 OS.

[Questions, prefixed with “Q.)” are asked in BOLD typeface. IMPORTANT Question is about Hard-drive Partition].

Q.) First of all, among the official editions, which version is suitable for low-end hardware systems - XFCE or GNOME, or Plasma?

My system is a Dell Laptop from Inspiron 15 series. The following are the system requirements for my laptop.

Processor: Intel(R) Core™ i3-4005U CPU @ 1.70GHz, 1700 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s) [Intel64 Family 6 Model 69 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~782 Mhz]
Total Physical Memory (RAM): 4,000 MB
Available Physical Memory: 916 MB
Virtual Memory: Max Size: 8,352 MB
Virtual Memory: Available: 2,638 MB
Virtual Memory: In Use: 5,714 MB

Hard Disk drive: 500 GB (approx.). Following is the partition of Harddrive.

|Drive|C:| (WINDOWS Installed)
|File System|NTFS|
|Size| 195.95 GB (210,396,770,304 bytes)|
Free Space: 46.53 GB (49,958,572,032 bytes)

|Drive|D:| (Partition Reserved for Linux OS)
|File System|NTFS|
|Size| 100.39 GB (107,793,608,704 bytes)|
|Free Space| 100.23 GB (107,620,384,768 bytes)|

|Drive|E:| (Partition to be Accessible by both Windows and Manjaro)
|File System| NTFS|
|Size| 169.08 GB (181,547,298,816 bytes)|
|Free Space| 30.84 GB (33,117,814,784 bytes)|

Q.) For the above existing hard-disk partition, if I have to install Manjaro Linux OS alongside Windows 8.1 OS, then which option do I need to select - Install Alongside, Replace Partition, or Manual Partitioning?
I want to install Manjaro Linux OS in the D-partition of my existing hard drive. And, I want the partition “E” to be accessible from both Windows 8.1 and Manjaro Linux.
So, should it be Replace Partition or Manual Partition? If Manual Partition, then, please let me know about the different sizes of partition, bootloader, etc.

Regarding the graphics cards/drivers, I have the following in my system.

|Name|Intel(R) HD Graphics Family|
|Adapter Type|Intel(R) HD Graphics Family, Intel Corporation compatible|
|Adapter Description|Intel(R) HD Graphics Family|
|Adapter RAM|1.00 GB (1,073,741,824 bytes)|
|Driver Version||

Name NVIDIA GeForce 820M
Adapter Type GeForce 820M, NVIDIA compatible
Adapter Description NVIDIA GeForce 820M
Adapter RAM (2,147,483,648) bytes
Driver Version
Bits/Pixel Not Available

Intel Graphics Driver is the Integrated Graphics in the System. Alongside, there is the NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Card also.

Q.) Given the above list of display drivers, while installing Manjaro Linux, when it comes down to installing drivers, which option should I select - Free OR Non-Free? With respect to the above NVIDIA model, selecting FREE drivers will be sufficient, or, should it be Non-Free?

So, any help regarding the above queries is appreciated. Please let me know as early as possible.

The free driver will likely work fine - the nvidia card is barely supported using Nvidia 390 driver

There is the nvidia-390xx-dkms package in the repo and is likely installable with mhwd.

With dkms packages - remember kernel headers

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@linux-aarhus Thanks for your reply. How do I know if, for the installation of Manjaro, I need BIOS Mode or UEFI Mode? Because on restarting the system, it shows BIOS Mode, but UEFI can be shown as BIOS Mode, as well, right?

boot your windows - and run the msinfo utility - note the mode used.

If using bios/mbr then you have to be careful as mbr only supports four primary partitions.

EFI is the recommended as it uses GPT which can hold 128 partitions.

Installing in BIOS/GPT mode is highly depending on the firmware - most modern systems support it but requires special attention in the Calamares installer.

It depends on your existing Windows installation - what is possible …

@linux-aarhus Hi, could you also reply to the question about hard-drive partitioning - Which option to choose given the current hard-drive partitioning present in the system?

Read the linked topic on dual-boot … I won’t recommend one over the other - it is your judgement.

My personal opinion is disable BIOS/MBR mode - boot the live ISO and ditch Windows - dual-boot is something to be avoided - but that’s just me - read my profile - I speak from experience.

You never get to know your new car if you keep driving the old one.

I highly recommend using Ventoy ( to create your bootable USB - because it makes it possible to have multiple iso files on the USB and selectable at boot.

Ventoy makes it easy to go from dealer to dealer and test drive the different cars - expanding the car metaphor.

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Of those three, XFCE is the lightest one, followed by Plasma. GNOME is too heavy for that machine.

However, you can go even lighter than XFCE if you opt for the LXDE or OpenBox community editions.

Replace Partition. Also do keep in mind that GNU/Linux cannot run off of NTFS, because NTFS does not store POSIX permissions and file ownership, which are essential to GNU/Linux.

You need a Linux-native and POSIX-compliant filesystem. For a newbie, ext4 is a good choice; it is robust and fast enough.

The free drivers will give you the least problems because those are in-kernel drivers. The non-free drivers give you more functionality in terms of compositing, but they are a pain in the behind, especially when switching to a different kernel.

One more advice: you have to disable Windows Fast boot and Hybrid Sleep, because when you boot into GNU/Linux after using Windows with those options enabled, then your Windows partitions will be marked as dirty by the kernel, and then you will only be able to read from them but not write to them.

Don’t forget to do a backup (Copy your important home data to external hard drive or USB) before installation of Manjaro.

@Aragorn @linux-aarhus Hi, all, thanks for your replies.
I ran msinfo32 in my win8.1 and got the following results.

|BIOS Version/Date|Dell Inc. A05, 14-Nov-14|
|SMBIOS Version|2.8|
|BIOS Mode|Legacy|
|Secure Boot State|Unsupported|

Also, from Device Manager, on clicking the Properties of Hard-Disk, Select the Volume Tab, and for the (C: Partition, where Windows is Installed), Master Boot Record (MBR) is shown.
Also, this information is corroborated using the DiskPart utility indicating it is NOT GPT.
[Unfortunately, the forum is not letting to attach any media with this post, otherwise I could have shown the relevant screenshots]

Now, the following are my further questions.

Q.) For this system, based on the above info, this is a BIOS/MBR system (and NOT, BIOS/GPT or UEFI/GPT), right? Since BIOS/MBR can do 4 primary partitions, in my case, already 1 primary partition is present, and if Manjaro is installed, then there will be 2 primary partitions out of 4. Is that what it means by 4 primary partitions?

Q.) Regarding the Hard-disk Partitions, once I select “Replace Partition” and choose ext4 file system, do I also need to select space for root, home, and swap memory? Or, will the installer automatically split the (D: partition of 100 GB) and allocate the default space for the root directory, home directory, and swap space? What are the usual memory spaces required for root, swap, and home directory?

Q.) After the installation of Manjaro, from Linux itself (D: partition), I will have access to both C: partition (Windows) and E: partition, right? But, from Windows, I will only have access to the E: partition and C: partition only, but not the D: partition (Linux), right?

Q.) After the installation of Manjaro, if I choose the “FREE” Driver option will the installer automatically install all the essential drivers - display (Intel), Audio (Realtek), Mouse/Touchpad (Dell), USB drivers, etc.? For NVidia also, will it install the appropriate driver for the Nvidia for the above NVIDIA Graphics Card Model ( NVIDIA GeForce 820M)?
Or, do I have to manually install the NVidia driver from the Nvidia-driver link posted in one of the posts, of one of the commenters, earlier?
Also, before the installation, an internet connection is needed. So, in my case, WiFi is connected using a USB-based Wifi Adapter. So, once the adapter is connected, and before the installation of Manajaro, that driver (USB-Wifi Adapter) will automatically be installed by the installer, right?

Q.) For making USB Bootable Device, is Rufus preferred or Ventoy? Because in the installation manual, Rufus is recommended, that’s why I am asking about it.
Now, after making the bootable USB stick, if there is additional space, can I also save any additional user-created files (unrelated to Linux installation) in that USB stick, in addition to the Manjaro installer image file?

Q.) Finally, I want some suggestions on whether it is advisable to install Manjaro XFCE (The latest version) alongside Win 8.1 in my system, having low-end specs. I want to use Manjaro primarily for coding and scientific programming software. But, there is other stuff - some additional software, that is easy to access from the Windows environment. So, in the long run, running two OSs - Win8.1 and Manjaro - will it put a heavy load on the RAM, hard drive, and processor of that system?

That appears to be correct.

Yes, but one of those four primary partitions — if it’s empty — can be made into an extended partition container in which you can create additional logical partitions.

This has nothing to do with GNU/Linux in and of itself, because Windows also supports that, and the concept of an extended partition container was already created in the days of DOS.

Yes, but bear in mind that UNIX systems do not use drive letters. That’s a Microsoft-only thing, which again harks back to the days of early MS-DOS (and CP/M before it), because those machines did not support fixed drives and were run from floppy disks.

This required frequent swapping out of the floppies, and that’s why drive letters were created as part of CP/M — MS-DOS was technically an unauthorized 16-bit rewrite of Digital Research’s CP/M, which was 8-bit.

Free drivers need not be installed — they are already in the kernel. The driver that you download from Nvidia is not a free driver. Yes, it’s freely available for download but it’s a proprietary driver, and nobody knows what it does once it’s loaded. Therefore, it cannot be debugged.

If the installer recognizes that adapter, then the installed system will too.

I don’t know Rufus — as I understand it, that’s a Windows application, and I’m not a Windows user — but Ventoy is supposed to be easy to use.

You won’t be running them at the same time, will you? :wink:

Windows is probably going to be the heaviest on resources. GNU/Linux is very efficient.


Thanks for your replies.
But, could you also reply to the following question, as well?

Q.) Regarding the Hard-disk Partitions, during the installation process, once I select “Replace Partition” and choose ext4 file system, do I also need to select space for root, home, and swap memory? Or, will the installer automatically split the (D: partition of 100 GB) and allocate the default space for the root directory, home directory, and swap space? What are the usual memory spaces required for root, swap, and home directory?

It’s a single partition, so there isn’t going to be a separate /home — it will live on the root filesystem — nor will there be any swap partition. You can however create a swap file instead, but I don’t know whether the installer will do that for you.

On the other hand, you can always create a swap file after installing. The Arch wiki has very good information on that.

@linux-aarhus @Aragorn
So in the case of BIOS/MBR partition, instead of Replace Partition, if I choose the Manual Partition option, then, in that case, the installer will allow modifying the existing (D: partition of 100 GB), into /root, /home, and /swap partitions, right?

Is there any separate /boot or bootloader partition required, or, will it be under /root partition?

Also, may I know the default partition sizes of /swap, /boot, or /root?

Also, could you tell the flags required for /root, /boot, /home, and /swap spaces?

Yes, manual mode allows the user to create whatever layout you want. The only partitions you must have with your setup are / (the main file system) and swap. I dont think any flags are required.

To the orignal question of desktop choice. I have ancient hardware (FX4300 560ti 6GB DDR3) Gnome, and KDE (Plasma) are likely to resource heavy. Xfce would be next, then Mate, then the really light ones like Openbox Lxde, and Lxqt.
Mate is a fork of Gnome 2 and is rock solid.
Openbox may be quite strange to someone new to linux and most of the config is in files from what I remember.
Lxde is no longer being developed as the project now focuses on lxqt
Lxqt is the desktop I use, its very light on resources. Sadly there is no longer an official Manjaro release of the desktop. But I do create a Lxqt spin (unofficial manjaro image) .

MBR partition schema only allows 4 primarry partitions.

So you will not be able to create the partitions you think.

To keep it simple You should only need to create one partition - the linux root partition.

After you have finished your installation - you should create a swapfile inside your root.

Given that your drive is partitioned with an MBR partition table, you will have to indicate that you wish to create an extended partition container for those three, because MBR only supports four primary partitions, one of which can be an extended partition container.

Note 1: /swap is incorrect. The swap partition does not have any mountpoint, nor any filesystem on it. It is accessed by the kernel as raw disk blocks.

Note 2: /root is not the mountpoint for the root filesystem — it is the root user’s home directory. The mountpoint for the root filesystem is /.

With a system that boots in legacy BIOS mode and has an MBR partition table, you do not need a separate partition for the bootloader.

And please note that the UEFI system partition — which you do not need — is not normally mounted at /boot if you use GRUB. /boot is the directory where the kernels and the GRUB configuration file live, and it can be separate or just a directory on the root filesystem. It doesn’t matter, because once the system is running, /boot is never accessed anymore, except during updates.

You’re using all the wrong mountpoints. :stuck_out_tongue:

The swap partition should be about twice the size of your RAM on a machine like yours. The size of the root filesystem depends on how much software you choose to install. About 16 to 20 GiB should be a good size for your purposes. You can use the rest for /home if you like.

These are irrelevant, given that your machine also has Windows on it. Windows needs a partition to be marked with the boot flag, and MBR only supports one boot flag per drive, but GNU/Linux doesn’t care about a boot flag on MBR drives.

@Aragorn @linux-aarhus @Jim.B

Thanks for your replies.

So, Just to confirm, irrespective of whether I choose Manual Partition or Replace Partition, I will make use of the full existing partition of 100 GB (D:) for the / (root) installation ONLY, right?

And, inside the /, there will be the other folders - home, boot, etc., right?

And, there is also NO NEED to provide any flags for the partition in which / is present, right?

In the previous post, it was mentioned that an Extended Partition Container can be done for including partitions other than the root. So, how to do the Extended Partition? Is it using the GPart or using the Installer itself?

And, just a follow-up regarding drivers, once I install Manajaro, all drivers will be installed except for NVIDIA, which will be installed from the NVIDIA website (Nvidia 390 driver), post-installation, right?

And, since there will be NO SWAP Partition, so, which option is better for SWAP File - Static SWAP File of Double-RAM size (, say 8GB, in this case), OR, System-d DYNAMIC SWAP FILE? OR, is it either one is better, OR, Both of them can be Kept simultaneously?

As far as swap goes, I was always told that a swap partition is better because its on a seperate partition than the OS. The only drawback is that once set, its hard to change the size. A swap file has the advantage of easily changing its size. Though resizing partitions isnt that hard.
That being said, if you are using this install as a desktop, and make a swap partition of 8gb I doubt you will need to change it.
The Nvidia 390 driver is in the repository and easily installed with the Manjaro settings manager.

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All correct.

Any partitioning tool should be able to do this, but be advised that if you want that space on your drive to also contain a /home partition and a swap partition in addition to your root partition, then you should limit the size of the root partition, because the amount of space you have available is limited due to the fact that you’ve already got three primary partitions on that drive.

In your case however, given that you’re an absolute newbie, I would skip creating a separate /home partition. All you need is a root partition (mounted at /) and possibly a swap partition, but you can also use a swap file instead.

As stated by @Jim.B, you don’t need to install that driver from the Nvidia site, because it’s available from the Manjaro repository.

Don’t try running before you can walk. :wink:

Just create a static swap file of about 8 GiB and be done with it. You can learn about all of the more complicated stuff — such as all that systemd has to offer — later, when you’ve become more familiar with the system. :wink:

@linux-aarhus @Aragorn @Jim.B

In my Windows 8.1,

I have disabled “Turn on Fast startup”.
“Hibernate” option is also unchecked.
Only Sleep and Lock options are checked.

So, is that setting correct for dual boot - Win and Manjaro.

Also, I have seen in my Bios, that secure boot is disabled, but, Fast Boot option (in BIOS) is ENABLED.

So, do I need to disable that Fast Boot option in Bios, before/after installing Manjaro, alongside Win 8.1?