I’ve been playing around with Manjaro for a few months though it is only recently that my SSD with my Windows OS died. So now I have decided to use Manjaro as my daily driver. I am by no means an expert and considering this is a rolling distro, I would like some guidance on safe update practices so that I don’t break the system.
In the past when Manjaro wasn’t my daily driver, I’ve done updates that broke the system.
As of now, I do have scheduled Timeshift backups on an external dedicated drive. What are some other safe practices that I should follow? Or if there is already a thread for this, please refer me.
Please stop scaring people away from pacman.
I never use pamac unless trying to reproduce an issue while helping someone.
And the system has not suffered for it.
One could make the argument that the opposite advice has more consistent and historic evidence for its premise, but thats not really my point either.
Make sure you have a LTS kernel (like 5.10 and/or 5.4) so you don’t have to follow the kernels life cycle. If you installed recently you probably have a kernel that will get dropped soon from repositories as only the LTS kernels have long life cycle. Only keep LTS kernel and you don’t have to worry about it and manage it. If you use latest kernels (non LTS), then make sure to check announcement threads for when they become EOL (End Of Life).
Make a TimeShift snapshot manually before a big update (no need for the scheduled snapshots it is waste of time/resources or not good enough depending on how you configured it).
Read the known issues and solution in second post of update announcements before you update in case you spot something relevant to your system, or just to know what some people experienced after the update.
You can also subscribe to the Stable (or other branch) announcement forum, click the bell icon on the link above, and click Watch First Post so you get a forum notification when a new update is announced.
Have a USB stick with Manjaro ISO on it (with Ventoy, so you can still use the remaining space as normal USB stick instead of dedicating this USB stick for a Manjaro ISO) in case of extreme breakage, and familiarize yourself with how to chroot and work on your system from live USB session, before the day you would need to do it.
-) use matray: setup it to notify you at least about Stable updates;
-) better to update not in GUI, but in text terminal - you can see a lot of info there, sometimes you can see more valuable descriptions of events there and it is easier to copy the suspected event text from it. Also useful to copy several lines in order to show the event sequence to you and other readers if you post it;
-) do not be in a hurry to reboot if you saw suspicious warnings. May be it will be harder to recover, cause need to load liveCD environment. Search it may be someone already reported it earlier and if you can’t recognize the event and it’s severity, post it;
-) as was said earlier: always have manjaro livecd. Update the images list there from time to time and have a 2-3 recent image versions just in case if most recent one will fail (ventoy can help you to store several images of any type with your user data on the same storage).
-) after an image download before to burn image/copy image to a drive check a hash sum (currntly of sha-X types) to make you sure that the image was not corrupted between creation moment and the moment of making your copy (during storing on server, downloading, your hardware usage).
-) in case of hard failures for example of a hardware, better to do a backups.
And… constant/lifetime task:
from time to time learn something new about instruments you use: that makes you more powerful user after each case learned, a person, who can solve problems easier, faster and even to improve a packages by having and using abilities to properly (fully, precise, with good debug data) report of a package issues. That will brings more comfort while app usage to you and any other user.