Installing Manjaro to External HDD

Hi, first let me thank you for manjaro.

Now to the problem, I want to install Manjaro to an external hard drive. Anything bigger than 32gb. My question is how can I do that?
I can install to 32gb usb stick and run it flawlessly but when I try to install the os anything bigger than 32gb (64gb usb or 320gb external hdd) either it stuck somewhere or gives an error and cancels installation by itself.
Can we fix this? Is it possible?

Than you all.

Yes, it is possible.

Did you try the Architect version of Manjaro?
It should give you enough freedom to do that IIRC…

Should not be a problem even if the disk is multiple TB it should work.
I am curious what error your getting since that will perhaps show a light on the why it does not work for you.

Hey @woody

Please find the steps I did to get it working, easy-way and a bit advanced.


Read a this mighty fine thread first how to setup the partitions.

I have created on an external SSD:

  • 512Mb EFI Boot partition
  • 50 Gb Root partition
  • 100 Gb Home partition (personal preference to separate them)


  • Install rEFInd boot manager
  • Reboot into the Live CD of your choice
  • Create new partitions with GParted
  • Install Manjaro by selecting manual partitioning
  • Map the partitions accordingly to what you have created
  • Follow the rest of installer steps
  • Reboot and rEFInd will do it’s magic to detect the new Manjaro installation on the external drive, when it’s connected


  • Reboot into the Live CD of your choice

  • Create new partitions with GParted

  • Install Manjaro by selecting manual partitioning

  • Map the partitions accordingly to what you have created

  • Follow the installer steps

  • DO NOT reboot yet

  • open GParted

  • Select the external drive - it should look something like this

    do not mind the extra 50Gb partition at the end, I just happen to have Multi Linux Boot on that one

  • Note the msftdata flag

  • This flag has to be changed to boot and esp

  • Now you can reboot

  • Use your computer build-in tool to select next boot device to be your external drive (depending on manufacturer it can be F7, F8, F12 etc.)

  • Enjoy Manjaro running on external drive


  • I use names for the partitions, as this makes my life easier in the long run
  • in case of rEFInd - it’s easy to distinguish to what you are about to boot

@SLaItEr I assure you IT IS A PROBLEM. First encryption coudn’t get completed. When I choose not to encrypt something else happened but I ddnt look what it was…
@CyberOto I really thank you for the answer. I’m going to try those instruction in a few hours but first I have something else to take care of.

@Chhkuot Thanks
@TriMoon No I didn’t try the architect version. I think if I go that road --even if i succeed-- I would find much more problems.


I understand that there is an installation issue in your case, that’s why I asked about the error your getting. Mind that I did say “should not be”

Sorry it was just a momentary stress.

I encountered two problems
There is no mtsfdata flag, am I going to write it manually?
or boot, esp not together like yours
what should I write to mount points (there is no /root part but there is /home)

Hey @woody,

I omitted one prerequisite - I’m using GPT as partition table. My SSD was connected via USB-C cable using UGREEN enclosure.


Root partition should be mapped to / mount point and that is /dev/sda2 in my case

Please find additional details:

Hope that makes it more clear.

Thank you @CyberOto
I did almost same things as you (my hard drive is not ssd, it is good old sata 5400rpm) and also I separate 8gb for swap
I did mount point for boot /boot, /boot/efi (wrote this manually), there was a boot legacy option
root is /
It is installing successfully now BUT not boot this time it says,
Rebout and select proper boot device
or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key

I want to mention again. with 32gb flash drive i never get these problems

well maybe I should add my external drive to my usb installed system, is there a topic for that? :thinking: : D

You cannot install to a removable device using the default Calamares installer.

The installer do no support the necessary configuration of the bootloader to be able to mix the running system with the newly installed system.

To get a grip on how to do such USB installation you could read this topic.

USB connected drives/devices are not created equal - depending on how the device identifies itself - the installer reacts differently. Normally it is not possible to use Calamares to install using a removable deivice - probably because the Calamares developers are aware of the implications involved with installing to removable devices.

This brings us to the core of this topic - you want to do something which is not supported - and doing what is not supportee requires extended knowledge of what needs to be taken into consideration. You will need to account for the boot loader installation which - when using GRUB requires you to specify the target - your usb device and to specifiy the --removable argument and subsequently a verification that the removable installation does not contain references to the system in use when installing to the removable device.

@linux-aarhus Thank you for your answer but it didn’t work for me or maybe I was not able do the instructions right.
You know this is what I don’t like about linux. I’m a simple maybe slightly better than a simple computer user. I don’t want to sink all those codes etc… I can’t understand why it’s not supported. How hard would it be to support it…
Whatever, whatever, whatever… (TIRED!)
Thank you and thank you all for your supports.
Good night.

After 3 days I did what @CyberOto replied and it’s successfully installed. I must say I did exactly same thing last time too. The problem whatever it was is a mistery. : D Thank you all

This topic was automatically closed 15 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.