Setup Manjaro with multiple Hard drives

Hello everybody, and thank you for clicking on the topic.

I use Manjaro on my laptop for i think a half year now, and want to use Manjaro on my main PC too now. The thing is, i'm not sure, how to set it up correctly, because i have multiple HDDs and SSDs in my build, for different purposes.

First of, a list of the components of my PC with their current purpose:
CPU: AMD R5 3600
GPU: AMD R9 280X
Generic CD/DVD Drive

  • A SSD 120GB (OS and little programs)
  • B SSD 500GB (new/demanding Games/Programs)
  • C HDD 1TB (Stuff and old/less demanding Games/Programs)
  • D HDD 2TB (Stuff)

Coming from Windows, where that all is to achieve quite simple, i would really like to keep that kind of order. Maybe i would install Windows on B as a Dual Boot, but i'm not too sure about that.

I don't have experience in installing Manjaro on a not 1 HD Setting. What would be your general recommendations? Or what would be some ressource for me to read?

Is there a way to tell pacman where to install a program? I'm new to the Linux file hierarchy and up to now i know that it doesn't work like Windows (or DOS i guess?).

What about wine? I bet there is somewhere where i can read how to tell it, where to install a program, especially Windows Programs and Games tend to be larger. Maybe someone has a ressource or some good keywords for me to google.

I don't expect a "how to" in it's full detail, some links for me to read, and some advices would help me a lot though, and of course if someone wants to write a full on tutorial i won't say No to that :smiley:

I searched a bit for "setup" and "configure" in the Tutorials section, but it all didn't quite meet my problem sadly.

Thank you very much in advance, and i wish you, the reader, a good day :slight_smile:

I'm gonna assume that you're gonna use uefi.
512/1024mb /boot/efi fat32
50gb / ext4
70gb /home ext4
With so many ram i would make a swap partition, later if you needed always can make a spaw file instead.
1gb boot/efi
whatever you want por win ntfs
the rest games etc ntfs
Install first win, even in other disk, is the easy way.
When you installed both system, choose in bios order manjaro disk to boot. Once manjaro started run in terminal sudo update-grub. This will add your win entry to the grub.

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Would it make more sense to put /home on one of the HDD, since /home mainly consists of low latency demanding stuff? (Music, Documents, configs etc)?

It's that your way of doing things, yes, but I read that you have a hdd for all those files, so / home will stored only your apps, that's also my way so sdd will have a lot less read/write

I think you may need to understand how linux handles multiple disks in a system, first.

It is not like Windows, labeling each one, C:, D:, E:, etc...

You know the file system layout, and the 'root' is /

then you home is /home/USER

well, an 'extra' disk gets 'mounted' at a directory in the existing file system, and you can chose where that is.

ed. I have a large disk I use for all my 'user data'. I mount that at /home/data

so all the data on that drive, is accessed by the path: /home/data -> root of that disk.

So, after you do your 'install', and you can select some drives and mount points, you will probably have some of your drives not mounted, and you'll need to add them in after.

Read about 'fstab' (the file /etc/fstab). That controls all the drive mounts.

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can you tell what you need to keep on C & D ,
there is data / documents / backup important here or not

Okay, so in fstab i can say where to mount what device just by changing the "dir" path?

I think, i prefer to create links to the drive and folders, that look like the standard (documents, music, pictures) and mount that drives at startup. I don't like, having to click too many times for my desired location.

So, i would put Documents, Pictures and Videos on C, and Downloads and Music on D. Backups i would make on D, i presume, but i also have an external 1TB drive i would be willing to use for backups.

In general, every file is important, and losing any of them is not a pleasure, but the most important would be Pictures and Documents.

so for documents , pictures , videos on C
still to be in Ntfs or you will reformat these disk ?

Musiks on D
still to be in Ntfs or you will reformat these disk ?

and for Games ?

A FS where i can use these files on Windows and Linux would be preferred, so i guess ntfs it is, but i am open for other suggestions. For Games, sometimes drive B, sometimes drive C or D, depends how space and performance demanding the program or game is.

No need for reformating, Just use symbolic links for folders/drives,
But I think /home should also be on ssd, as configuration files are placed in /home,usually these files don't require much space
let /home be 12-20GiB on ssd.
And make symbolic links to documents, downloads, music etc on the HDDs

Yes, that was also what i had in mind, as i used this before on dual booting with windows.

But my main concern remains, how do i tell pacman where to install things. Wine should be relativly easy, as i can open a Wine Bottle on the different HDs for the different programs.

Also, i think i will buy just another 120gb SSD for 20 bucks for either Manjaro or Windows as the second OS drive.

Yes, that's the idea.

And you could 'mount' your drives anywhere you choose, even:


or even:


and then have 'links' to them from your 'home' dir.

I don't know about games, how or where they are installed, and their data. So I can't help you there.

My understanding is, you can't change/choose 'where' apps get installed, but maybe someone else can give a better answer.

Sharing a drive with Windows - it will need to be FAT32, ntfs, etc... but that can be done, no problem.

So look into 'fstab', mounting drives and symbolic links.

I will probably set it all up with btrfs, and use WinBtrfs for the shared drives. Wine doesn't work with NTFS drives.

Yes, the way programs are installed in linux makes me not too optimistic on that matter...

It may be that you just make a start, try doing it, and as you learn how it works, you can change the way you configure/mount the drives.

Also, try explaining the setup that your aiming for, like:

A dual boot Linux/Windows 10 system.

Each OS on it's own drive.

Install Windows games on my Windows system drive, or data drive.

Login to Manjaro and play the Windows games with Wine.

Maybe then, someone (else) can tell you, I did it this way, or that way...

Yeah, i will just have to start, but i still have to make some thoughts beforehands.

My flatmate had an idea that miiiight work, for installing linux programs seperatly on the different hds, but we are not sure. Can Pacman install programs for specific users? And would it be possible to create a user for every Disk? So the program would be installed into the home directories of the users on the different Disks.
Is it possible to then use these programs, installed for other users, with my man User account?

Make a package. :grin:


Yes, but this seems unlikely to be of benefit. :grin:

Trying to install stuff in weird places is not a good idea. It will very likely cause problems, and it will create a lot of manual work.

The question is why do you want to do this?

You can mount partitions in various places though. ie /opt or /usr

I don't think my reason for that is no that unreasonable :smiley:
Disk space is limited, especially on my OS Drive, and instead of fully upgrading the disk, adding one is easier and does not replace, but add space.

I wrote it above what my setup is, and what the different purposes of the disks are. I'm actually pretty surprised, that this is such a complicated thing, or at least a thing, that is not much in discussion?

I see where the whole reason for this comes from, but shouldn't it be possible to work around that? Is there maybe a distro where i can use my setup easier under the circumstances?

That's because you don't yet fully comprehend the differences or the options. You can put programs on other partitions, just not the way you seem to want to do it. :slight_smile:

It has little value, makes things more complicated and it requires more knowledge and better planning, but it can be done. :slight_smile:

As already stated, you can mount partitions in various places. :slight_smile:

Not that I know of. Since they're all made to work with linux they unsurprisingly do things the linux way, if you want the windows way then there's windows.

However you're just thinking about things in the wrong way. :slight_smile:

Linux is not windows, but your system is designed solely for windows, you need a system designed for windows and linux. Essentially keep windows and linux separate, just have an ntfs partition or two mounted in linux for shared data.

Here's my suggestion based on your original post:

120GB or larger SSD
/boot/efi 100MB
/ 40GB-80GB Depends on how much you want to install
/home the rest

120GB or larger SSD
Windows system disk, I don't use windows so you or others can figure that out, or just use what you've got.

Depending on free space, you may be able to use A for linux and B for windows + new/demanding (windows) games/programs. You could use D for (windows) games + programs, and C for data (or "stuff" :slight_smile:, which can be shared between linux and windows), or vice versa.

The easiest way is to buy a new SSD for linux, that way you don't have to touch your existing partitions. :slight_smile:

If necessary, mount C and/or D in linux, the mount points are just suggestions:
C mounted to /home/$USER/C
D mounted to /home/$USER/D.

For games played through wine (not something I've done), presumably you can have a partition using a suitable filesystem mounted somewhere convenient.

Native filesystems are better in all cases except for when sharing with windows (or an embedded device such as a tv) is needed. You don't need to share everything.

There are some differences between Arch and Manjaro, but Arch does have a pretty good wiki. -Notice they don't mention separating /opt or /usr which are the places programs are installed to.

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