Transitioning Kernel and Boot to New Drive

Hello forum community. I’m currently running Manjaro on my Thinkpad T520, and was looking at purchasing a new mSATA drive to host my system’s kernel, boot directory, and filesystem, while keeping my /home partition on my hard drive. Is there any way to transfer everything but my /home directory over to the new drive without reinstalling Manjaro, or do I have to reinstall it?

Hello Joel,
I had the same situation some time ago. I ended up getting a new hard disk for my home partition. I set my home partition to that new disk, and copied my personal files over …
Then I erased the home partition on the old drive.

It is safer to move personal files than to move system files.

When your /home folder is already mounted from a separate partition on your HDD and you want to keep it then it’s pretty easy to make a new installation on the new mSATA drive and only to assign the existing /home partition during installation with Calamares, make sure the formatting checkbox is unchecked for that partition to avoid it to be formmated. Nevertheless, best make a backup of all valuable data upfront.

You dont have to reinstall, but it may be easier. You could copy over all your system files (everything except home) and then reinstall grub pointing it to your new drive. Then edit the /etc/fstab file (on the new drive) to mount the / file system on the new drive and the old partition that holds home to the new drive.
It all depends on how much you have customized the install. If you have made lots of changes to the system and dont want to recreate all that work the above will save time. If its just a vanilla install outside of home just reinstall.

Most customization is stored in /home, so a new installation will be easier and safer in most cases. It could be required more than changing /etc/fstab when only copying over files. Just think about swap and hibernation options etc.

That may be true for the most part, but its not always the case. One such situation is if you have lots of AUR packages, especially large ones. Building 10 or more large AUR packages will take a lot longer. Then there is a case of you have lots of network shares (like me) and dont want to setup NFS with sharing rules all over again. The list is endless.

Yes, but this is all speculation, there have been no indications in this direction by OP.

Asking if it would be better to move than reinstall indicates they may have a reason to move instead of reinstall. In any event its best to give options imho.

@joel.dowell, to end our speculations, maybe you can share some reasons why thinking about alternatives to re-installation.

Wow just use TimeShift (I never used it though) or BackInTime snapshot to restore everything except /home/*
I used the latter a number of times when I was having fun trying different layouts: LVM on LUKS, LUKS on LVM, btrfs on LUKS, f2fs and so on. All one needs to worry about is making sure that kernel cmdline and fstab / crypttab options are correct before rebooting, but anyway chroot is the way to go in order to install grub and regenerate initrd(s) so…

I was thinking about not going through the installation process again because I just didn’t want to go through re-installing some applications and the like. But I think I’ll just back all my files up onto an external device and then reinstall after the new drive gets here.