[SOLVED] Win10 on second SSD? Completely separate from Manjaro...?



Hi all. Second post. First was my newbie intro. So here goes.

I’ve got one workaday laptop. It’s got two internal SSDs. The main one, /sda, has my well-running and don’t-want-to-mess-with Manjaro installation. It’s an entire 1TB, which goes a long way. I’ve got my multimedia elsewhere on my network, so I don’t have a ton of space sucked up by music & video. It’s just Manjaro, the several DE’s I’m tinkering with (I know the caveats to this), and a bunch of assorted miscellaneous apps.

Sitting along side it, technically /sdb (although it’s not mounted) is another 512MB SSD. It’s currently empty. I really don’t need 1.5TB of storage on my Linux laptop. But you know how those sale prices are…

Anyway, what I’d really like to do is this:

  • Install Win10 on the second drive, completely separate from Manjaro. NOT dual-booting. I know that can be a painful proposition.

Can I do this? Install Win10 from a bootable USB stick and point it at empty /sdb? How will I handle boot management? I’ve had systems built with multiple Linux distros in separate partitions before, and GRUB handled it fine.

I’m looking to (re)install Win10 on this machine for two reasons… 1) I can only update the BIOS on this laptop with a Windows utility, and 2) I wouldn’t mind playing a few Steam games now and then (I already tried the Steam Play Wine-like emulator - no luck for what I want to play).

This laptop is an Intel Core i5 with hybrid Intel/NVIDIA graphics, 16GB RAM, and MUST boot in Legacy mode.

Can anyone lend some sage advice on how to do this? I’m concerned that even if I try to install Windows on /sdb, it’s going to jam its own bootloader onto my /sda, making it a lot more difficult to boot Manjaro.

I’ve searched the forums, the M wiki and the Arch wiki, and can’t find a clear answer. I have no clue which sub-section of Stack Overflow this question would belong in (plus those folks can be kinda rude).

There’s the project. If anyone can help, I’d be quite happy indeed.



Disconnect disk with manjaro, install windows on the other one, connect manjaro disk, then choose disk to boot from bios?


Yeah, I could see how & why that would work… using F12 to choose the BIOS boot device is kind of… inelegant, but it would work.

Is there any kind of GRUB-like utility that could accomplish this? I can run the systems pretty well, but low-level stuff like bootloaders is beyond me.


GRUB should work. Doesn’t matter if the operating systems are on different hard drives.

I use rEFInd myself though.


If you want both Manjaro and Windows installed but only able to boot into one of them at any time then this will be set in BIOS boot order.

Simply select the bootloader you wish to boot from … either Manjaro’s grub on sda or Windows bootloader on sdb.

Not sure why you would want to do that though.

I think a better way is to run sudo update-grub from your Manjaro install, which will run os-prober, find your Windows OS, and add an entry into your grub menu.


yes, it most likely will. safer to do what @lojze and @sueridgepipe said. remove manjaro ssd, install windoze :sleeping:, put manjaro ssd back in and boot and sudo update-grub

it would still be dual boot, just using separate drives.


Isn’t rEFInd several years unmaintained? You still vouch for it, though?

Would you recommend @lojze’s suggestion of physically disconnecting /sda before installing Windows? And then reconnecting it and let os-prober go probing and find it?

I realize this sounds simple, but I don’t trust Windows not to muck with my existing system. But at the same time, I don’t feel like getting out the screwdrivers to take out a drive. There may be some way to disable it in the BIOS, perhaps…


Several years? No. It’s still maintained. They released a new version on 11/12/18. The website has also been last updated on 11/12/18.

I also made a nice theme for mines too:


Hunh. I could swear I read it had gone dusty. It seems I’m wrong. I believe I used it a few years ago on my old (now dead) MacBook.

And that’s a hell of a theme. Looks great.

/me adds rEFInd to his to-do list


that looks really really nice. any downsides to rEFInd compared to grub? effect boot time?


The creator can explain it better than me in this post:

I find dealing with rEFInd A LOT easier than grub. rEFInd scans for all bootloaders and kernels at boot. Meanwhile, grub has to have the OS’ in a file to list it, created with update-grub.


Yeah, no rEFInd for me… this laptop is a Windows laptop and won’t boot Linux in EFI mode, only BIOS mode.

I guess it’s Grub for me.


where did you read that?


So windows owns your laptop? LOL , by now you could have solved your “issue” 5 times …


In my BIOS, basically. :grin:

I have to have boot mode set to “Legacy” (BIOS) in order to turn off Secure Boot Mode… otherwise, no joy and no Linux.

I read it when I was shopping for this laptop… it’s not exactly high-end.


what i understand from reading the link @realmain posted, rEFInd can boot both uefi and legacy bios. i have not tried refind yet but i plan on trying it out in a little while.

edit: installed from manjaro repo and then sudo refind-install done. that was so much simpler than i thought it would be. works great and it also provides the option to boot the already installed grub so even if it wont boot something that grub will you still have grub to fall back on.:+1:


I’ll do a little more digging, too. This laptop (an Acer) really does seem to have been designed with Windows in mind. As I said, they do have BIOS update utilities, but they only provide them for Windows. Combine that with the boot situation and you get proof that this is a 100% mid-low-end consumer-grade web-browsing and mild-gaming Windows laptop. I’m stretching it about as far as it can go.


Yep, it sounds a bit tedious, but hopefully a one-time setup:




I have the same configuration like you: One SSD (sda) with Manjaro (i moved from Ubuntu to Manjaro a few weeks ago) and another SSD (sdb) with Win10. When i had newly installed Win10, i removed the first SSD with Manjaro (Manjaro was my first installation). Thats all. Everything went fine and works well.:+1:


funny how you dont need to remove windows drive when installing manjaro but if you have something else installed before installing windows you need to safeguard everything else around it.

@bundito you could remove the drive if you want to but if your able to disable the manjaro drive in bios and windows shouldnt be able to see/destroy it anyway.