Windows 11 Laptop. Can I boot Manjaro from a USB drive?

I am thinking of buying a Windows 11 laptop. I know it would have to have secure boot enabled to boot Win11. From what I read I have to disable secure boot in order to boot a Manjaro installation from a USB drive. My computer could use 2 different operating systems but not at the same time this way. I read that on some Windows updates it could mess up my Manjaro installation if the USB was plugged in. Is this true? Are there other things I should be aware of. I read about WSL and it looked like that could create a whole mess of problems and the installation would not be that flexible. Manjaro running in the Virtual machine could have its problems also. Running Manjaro on an external USB by itself has worked out very well for me in the past.

My condolences. :grin:



I would advise you to run Windows inside the virtual machine ─ virtualbox works very well ─ with Manjaro as the host. Much safer. :wink:


I see this advice everywhere. Not all people can do it. Windows 11 has a minimum RAM requirement of 4GB and you can barely run a VM of Windows on even an 8GB machine. That said, it would be the best solution if one could do it.

I’ve heard that you can disable secure boot on Windows 11 after you’re done installing it. That should allow installation of Arch-based distros, but I’m not too sure.

:duck::duck::walking_man: is your friend. :wink:

Thanks for all the suggestions. Presently I have Manjaro running on a Win10 computer (I set up as a legacy) off of an external usb drive. By doing that I ended up losing many of the file features. I started researching the WSL. I was reading the WSL document from MS. With WSL Microsoft supplies the Kernel and updates the Kernel through its Windows update. The rest of the update is done through the repositories. When I update Manjaro I got used to using : sudo pacman -Syyuu . There are a lot of updates sometimes like I did when using the GUI. In both cases for WSL manjaro update I would have to manually eliminate the Kernel updates which when there are a lot of updates I could easily miss. One of the things that can get updated with the command line prompt or the gui if I am not careful would be the Kernel which I am not supposed to update in Manjaro. This could be a big problem that could screw up any setup I have. I decided to buy the laptop. When Windows 11 is all set I need to get rid of secure boot. I need to set up my boot order to have the USB Manjaro disk be the first item to boot and not the C drive. If I want to use Windows I can simply manually pull the plug on the Manjaro disk instead of going into the boot menu with the keyboard. If there is no USB Disk to boot into it will boot into the Windows which is the next boot device and cannot mess up the disconnected Manjaro boot / system / home disk because it has been disconnected. Hopefully this will work because, to me, this is the easiest (idiot proof) approach to the problem.

I hope you don’t mind if I just throw in the following train of thought for interest’s sake: Does it really have to be a dual boot on a new Windows 11 computer, with all the problems that such a dual boot can entail? Microsoft will support Windows 10 until October 2025, as far as I know. Until then, you should be able to continue using your Windows 10 machine without any problems. So if you absolutely need Windows, but you don’t want to give up your Manjaro, why not keep using your Windows 10 machine and additionally buy a device from a manufacturer that provides Linux-compatible hardware out of the box? There are even manufacturers where you can get computers with a pre-installed Manjaro.

That’s what I did, the very rare occasion I boot into windows 11 it works fine with secure boot disabled.

I never used the dual boot. I always installed Linux on an entirely different drive and did the boot off that drive so that it was like two different computers running out of the same box. I am glad to see the reply by NGr. I just have the problem with regard to circumstance that during a Windows update, Windows is doing its own thing. I read that there is the possibility it could possibly trash my Manjaro installation on a different drive, which is why I want to pull it off line physically when I am using Windows. I know it doesn’t happen every time but once would be one time too much. As far as the WSL making Windows update in charge of the kernel update etc. I get a bad feeling. When I use Linuxmint my upgrade notification is a few packages and very easy to go through the short list to screen the packages. I might be comfortable with updating the kernel through Windows Update with LinuxMint or Ubuntu as a result. With Manjaro being a rolling release I have had over a hundred packages (Maybe my imagination, but too many) sometimes needing upgrading. If the Kernel is in that list I could easily miss it or something related to it. I am sure that I will mess up on an update if that is the case. The Kernel maintenance should run the same as the rest of the updates through the repositories for a distro like Manjaro. Without that design built into WSL it is a landmine which I know eventually I will step on. Also without loading Windows (4GB) that probably means more memory for Manjaro. I have used USB2.0 and had enough speed for the drive to run Linux. USB 3.0 is a different world as far as speed is concerned. I may try to get a swap file on the 512 Gb SSD of about 12 Gb. I really appreciate the people who have given me replies. This Windows 11 / WSL is really a different world to me.

I installed on a separate USB drive the Manjaro. I was not able to change the boot order but I could summon up the boot menu with F12 on my startup on the new Dell Inspiron 3000 (12 Gb Ram, AMD 5 and Ryzen Graphics 512Gb SSD). What I don’t like about the whole setup is with EFI I couldn’t find a way to separate the Home from the rest of the installation in case something went wrong and I had to re-install the whole setup. Setting up a /home partition separately (Bios install) allowed me to keep all my data and just install the system on a different partition. To do that I would have had to drop back to Legacy. I went with just another EFI drive and I will see what I can do later. I have to find out if there is a way that I can protect the Manjaro setup from being destroyed by the Windows update in the case I might not have it disconnected.

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