Legacy BIOS setup -- Manjaro & WinXP


I’m new here. For starters, altho, I’ve use Linux almost exclusively for over 15 years, I’m ashamed to say I’m still not very clever working with it. Also, it’s been a few years since I’ve done a fresh install.

My hope is to install Manjaro on an existing system that now boots either WinP or Linux, replacing existing Linux partitions with Manjaro.

Actually, as setup now, my box can boot to either a RPM-based or DEB-based Linux . . . or WinXP – a triple-boot setup. It uses BIOS and GRUB. The only time I boot into XP is to access old XP software required for importing/exporting samples and midi files, or for altering a few of the old audio hardware internals. I seldom need XP, except when I do, and I hope to keep it available.

Summary of (old) system where Manjaro will be installed:

GIGABYTE GA-MA78G-DS3H motherboard
onboard AMD 780G chipset (Itergrated ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics)
onboard audio chipset: Realteck ALC 889A
BIOS release date: 04/18/2008
Memory: 4GB DDR2 SDRAM (3.6 GB system memory and the rest dedicated to onboard graphics)

How is Manjaro for dealing with legacy BIOS setups? From reading the User Guide, if I switch out one (or both) Linux distro/s for Manjaro, on install, I need to choose not to install boot loader, right? Manjaro will then use the existing boot loader and XP will remain an option from the GRUB menu when I reboot, is that correct? Arch-based systems are new to me. I’d like this to go as smooth as possible. What should I watch out for? Any foreseeable problems?



It’s pretty simple.

  1. Optionally you could prepare the partitions of your msdos parted disk(s) with MBR for the envisaged use, e.g. for /, /home and swap.
  2. Boot into LIVE ISO in BIOS mode. If you have a hybrid firmware capable for both UEFI and BIOS mode, select the non-“UEFI” entry from your firmware to make sure you boot the stick in BIOS mode.
  3. If you have prepared your partitions upfront - just assign them, otherwise create them with Calamares.
  4. Follow the menu of Calarmares and make sure to select MBR as location for the boot loader.
  5. It could be required to run “sudo update-grub” after first boot to generate the boot menu entries for the other OS, For this make sure “GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=false” is set in your /etc/default/grub.
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