Questions about dual booting Windows after installing Manjaro

Hi, I have some questions about how to dual boot Windows 10 after you have installed Manjaro, as I have downloaded Manjaro because I did not have a windows key and was tired of my Computer breaking after every update. I have seen many guides on how to install Manjaro alongside Windows but I have never seen a detailed guide to dual boot Windows after Manjaro. I would also like to point out that I’m quite new to Linux and these questions may seem to be very simple :blush:.

  • I have a 1tb nvme drive and was hoping to partion the drive so that my windows install will have around 256GB. I have never partitioned a drive before and was wondering what application to use and if there is any risk to harming the drive.
  • I have seen that Windows has a tendency of deleting your Linux Partion. Is this true or just a meme. If it is, is there a way of avoiding it?
  • After creating the partion I would just have to boot into BIOS and select the windows install media and choose the partion to put it on.
  • Is there anyway to create a backup in case something goes wrong, as I would not like to lose any of my files or data on my Linux System.

Also here is my system info, sorry about the Manjaro logo…

β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ dhilan@computer
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ OS: Manjaro 21.0 Ornara
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Kernel: x86_64 Linux 5.11.6-1-MANJARO
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Uptime: 2h 3m
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Packages: 1382
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Shell: bash 5.1.0
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Resolution: 1920x1080
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ DE: KDE 5.80.0 / Plasma 5.21.3
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ WM: KWin
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ GTK Theme: Breath-Dark [GTK2/3]
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Icon Theme: candy-icons
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Disk: 139G / 909G (17%)
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core @ 16x 3.6GHz
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (NAVI10, DRM 3.40.0, 5.11.6-1-MANJARO, LLVM 11.1.0)
RAM: 6248MiB / 15994MiB

Every has a bit of different experiences with dual booting as the process may vary on different computers.

  • It is advised to dual boot with Windows on a different drive and that is how I set it. This way there is no direct interaction between systems and no conflicts. If Windows is on the same drive, in theory it shouldn’t mess with other partitions but in some cases it did delete them, but that’s a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, having a backup is a good thing.

  • By default, timeshift is the best backup tool, but in case of quick restoring partitions, CloneZilla is the answer. If you have enough space on external drives, you can have both type of backups. Timeshift lets you access files and create incremental snapshots that don’t take so much space. Clonezilla preserves whole partitions, so you can move them between various hardware and restore fully (an image of the whole drive, so if the hardware matches with the OS settings, it’s easy and quick to restore it).

  • You can approach it in various ways. You can pre-partition the drive with some external tools on USB or simply do it during installation, meaning: you can let the system installer to do the work, or before you start installer, launch partitioning program (usually gparted, if it’s not available, you can install it on a live system), create proper partitions and then start installer and point to proper partitions. Sometimes there are some issues with OS installations and installator shows errors or hangs. In this case you can change some formatting settings on the installer or use the partition app and try again. At some point it should work. If you have no partition knowledge, it’s better to let the installer to do the job, because you may set partitions wrong, forget to set proper flags, choose wrong partitions or partition table, etc. If you choose wrong settings, the system may install seemingly correctly but won’t work. That is why pre-configured settings in the OS installer are a friendly way to begin. However, if you know you need some extra partitions for Windows already, doing it manually is necessary.

  • Since you are a novice and there is no working Windows, don’t worry about mistakes, you can re-try installing OS till you succeed :wink: . As far I know, there is no danger of destroying the drive, only the danger to lose the data, but since you don’t have any, you are free to experiment and do mistakes. In fact, there is a high chance you will break your system once or twice in the process of learning it ;). That’s perfectly normal, we all did it :smiley: .

  • As to the installation process, it is now advised to use GPT table to use UEFI installation. This allows for better separation between various systems and it lessens the possibility of Windows messing with the partitions that don’t belong to it. The con of UEFI is that it may look different on different computers. There are no standards here and that makes the process more complicated. For example, some computers require for you to create UEFI boot and give the path to EFI partition manually, others will do that for you. Some will automatically set the Manajaro UEFI boot after install, some won’t, and you have to choose it in UEFI settings. The only hint I can give you is: use the same boot mode for creating live USB, meaning, if you plan to install in UEFI mode, prepare live USB for UEFI mode and choose EFI partition and so on. Installer will let you choose legacy, but if you created USB for UEFI, it’s possible that legacy install won’t work correctly. Or at least that was the case a few years ago.

Since my system is stable and is 4 years old, I don’t know how dual boot may look right now. Maybe others will point you towards more fresh info about it.

P.S. Remember to set proper flags on EFI partition. You can have the same EFI partition for Linux and Windows. There is no conflict because both systems keep the boot files in different folders.

Hello @Kunfuzzle :wink:

I completely agree with @michaldybczak, but with one thing I would not agree:

I theory it is this way and it should work, but i had 2 updates, where windows just reformatted the efi partition. I was so pissed about that. However… to be really sure, use a efi partition for windows and for linux, even each OS since grub versions between linux distros can destroy it to (Manjaro has a highly customized grub and is not compatible with the grub of Ubuntu for example). Grub is able to search the efi partitions and add the OS’s to the boot menu. So don’t worry about that.

and yes that’s true:

Windows likes to install itself on the β€œC” drive, i.e. the first partition, failure to do this will I believe cause trouble.

Hey! Sorry for the delay, I’ve been pretty busy with finals and couldn’t find the time to respond :upside_down_face:. Thanks for the through response, I’ve taken a look at your response and have come to the conclusion that it may just be simpler to just suck it up and order a basic sata drive, since the only reason I was interested in windows was so that I could play games with my friends. I would rather spend the $50 to do it the safe way then risk losing my data :pleading_face:, actually I did’nt even know you could have two OS’s on two different drives with the system so thanks for that! :+1:.

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In UEFI boot, the easiest way for me is to:

  1. In a LiveISO, delete the /boot/efi partition for Manjaro via GParted
  2. Make the amount of room on your HDD/SSD you want for your Windows partition via GParted
  3. Boot into Windows ISO, and go to manual partitioning
  4. Select that empty partition, and Windows will create all of it’s own partitions including a boot partition
  5. Finish installation
  6. Boot into Manjaro Architect (or a regular LiveISO and use Architect, all of our LiveISOs have Architect)
  7. Mount the Windows boot partition to /boot/efi
  8. Go to System Rescue and to reinstall and fix your boot manager

Here are visual instructions that I made a bit ago for fixing/changing boot managers. This mentions refind but you can just select grub instead in System Rescue


  1. Get a new HDD/SSD
  2. Delete the /boot/efi partition, then absorb the whole partition into Manjaro / (or /home or whatever you want)
  3. Boot into Windows ISO, go to manual partitioning
  4. Select that whole new HDD/SSD for Windows
  5. Continue from step 5 above

Or… you can skip the deleting the /boot/efi and just have 2 different boot partitions (which to me is a waste of space). Just make sure you set your Manjaro boot manager in your BIOS to be first to boot.

Some people like to unplug their Manjaro HDD/SSD before installing Windows, but… I never had any issues before.

I don’t have an answer for legacy boot.