The firmware is a crucial part of your system as it controls aspects on how the Linux kernel will interact with your the hardware. Some system firmware is setup in such a way that a Linux system does not recognize disk devices.
Some systems require the user to set a firmware password before more advanced options becomes available.
Computers with preinstalled Windows (Windows 10) is computers using UEFI firmware.
However your system may be configured to allow BIOS boot also labeled as Legacy, CSM(Compatibility Mode) or BIOS/MBR.
The main difference is partition layout schema used.
This is the original schema which has limitations on modern systems. The most notable limitation is the number of partitions which is 4 primary partitions compared to GPT which allows for 128 partitions.
An EFI based system uses GPT partition schema and using GRUB boot loader it is also possible to use GPT while still using the older BIOS boot method.
It is very important to choose the correct combination - otherwise Calamares installer will fail in the end when reaching the boot loader stage of the installation.
This requires a separate partition flagged as boot. The partition must be formatted using FAT32 and is usually mounted to /boot/efi.
If you choose to install a system using BIOS boot mechanism you must boot the system in BIOS mode you must select manual partitioning in Calamares. Besides the usual root and possibly home you must create 32MB unformatted partition - which must be flagged as bios-boot - do not format the partition. When asked for the boot loader location - select this unformatted partition as target for the bootloader.
The next parts of this section is all executed inside your current Windows installation.
Linux is picky when it comes the Windows filesystem. Any inconsistencies in the filesystem and Linux will mount the filesystem read-only. The Windows command to fix the file system is
chkdsk c: /F
Configure your Windows installation to use UTC. This is done best with a registry import file.
Create a new file using Notepad with this content (e.g.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation] "RealTimeIsUniversal"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient] "Enabled"=dword:00000000
Open a command prompt and navigate to your desktop folder and rename the file to
C:\Users\**username**> cd Desktop C:\Users\**username**\Desktop> move utc.txt utc.reg
You can now import the file into the registry by double clicking the filename - accept the disclaimer to import the keys.
Do you plan on doing read/write on your Windows partition? Disable Windows options like
Windows Hybrid Sleep defaults to enabled on desktop computers and disabled for laptop computers.
Why should I do that? When Windows uses the above options the filesystem is tainted which causes the system to mount the file system read-only, effectively blocking you from making changes to your files on the Windows partition. To disable Windows Fast Startup you need to access the Windows Control Panel. You find it by clicking on Windows Start button → type control → select Control Panel desktop app.
In the Control Panel app
If for any reason you want to turn off hibernation completely
If you are like most users, your system came with Windows and your system has since been upgraded to Windows 10 (which leaves the old system behind). Major version upgrades - like 1804 - also leaves the old system behind and therefore a tremendous amount of dead data on your system that needs to be cleaned.
This should be an obvious step. Backup any data you might want to keep to an external location of any kind.
If you have experimented a lot and/or had a failed installation and/or you have a messy partition scheme you will have to manually delete those extra partitions with the Windows Disk Manager tool. Be careful that you do not delete partitions required by Windows or by an OEM recovery tool.
Use Windows disk tool to make room for a secondary Linux installation because Windows is the best tool to release space.
When you are done you are ready for the Manjaro installation.
Some of the choices presented here can be argued and the following two points I would like to address beforehand.
Some will argue that one should select the auto partition in the Disk preparation section of the installer.
The strategy described here ensures no messing with the Windows EFI partition and therefore no problems with Windows rewriting the $esp.
Separation of the system root and the home folder is not required but is another benefit of using manual partitioning.
The separation of your personal data from the system - using a designated partition for the system's home folder makes it a bit easier to maintain your system. It is no secure replacement for a backup strategy it is just a handy solution should you decide to reinstall your system.
One pitfall here is making the root partition too small - using the recommended minimum size requires you to do regular system maintenance to avoid the system disk running full and thus making your system very hard to boot.
Other considerations is application distribution methods such as snap and flatpak both of which requires a considerable amounts a disk estate.
Depending on your available disk space your system root could be from 32-64GB. The remaining is assigned to your personal data.
The number mentioned is just examples - they will work if you are just getting your fet wet and needs a gentle hand holding.
Setting a swap partition is the better choice because a little swap is - in most cases - better than none.
The chosen size depends on your system, available RAM and disk type. Use the suggested size of 2 GiB or\ research and adjust accordingly to system, taste and need.
If you plan on using hibernation ensure the swap can hold both system and graphics memory.
Now that you have partition sizes defined let start and the numbers are MB which is the unit Calamares makes use of