Installing ArchLabs with another existing GNU/Linux distro

So I had Manjaro installed and I have Windows 7 installed as well. I don’t like Manjaro due to its performance issues and wifi adapter bugs so I wanted to give this distro a go.

So I am going to boot into this ArchLabs, and I am going to wipe out the Manjaro distro. What would happen to the bootloader? Would it get replaced or something? Sorry I don’t understand much of how this stuff works.

Hi @anon37670755

Do you know if your system is UEFI or not?

If UEFI, your drive should already have a small separate partition specifically for that purpose and the installer will recognize it as such. The UEFI partition does need to be flagged with both ‘boot’ and ‘esp’. When prompted by installer do not format this partition or you’ll lose the ability to boot windows if it requires it. The installer will simply add AL.

If using BIOS, grub will be written to MBR (master boot record) and does not require a dedicated partition for boot (although, you’re given that option by the installer) If you simply wish to have grub installed to MBR and not a partition of your choice, select ‘none’ at that point.

^ Windows 7 - most likely not UEFI.

Where did you install the Manjaro boot loader, and what is the actual set up?

Usually, the ArchLabs grub install will overwrite the Manjaro grub install.

Probably not but I’m not assuming anything anymore.

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Run this command from Arch & Manjaro to test if you are booted in UEFI mode:

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo UEFI || echo non-UEFI

Or simply try the efibootmgr command, it will only produce output in a UEFI system :wink:


@Head_on_a_Stick Thank you, that’s a great idea which I’m writing down for future reference.

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One of my computer does, the other one doesn’t and I am planning to install on both, the non-UEFI computer is the one that has Windows 7 and Manjaro installed on it.

Is the MBR a partition, is it stored on the drive?

Thanks for your help :slight_smile:

To be honest I am not too sure.

Thanks for that.

It’s a boot sector at the beginning of the drive. It’s the default location for the OS to install it’s boot files in a legacy BIOS system. You probably installed grub there when you installed Manjaro.

Windows 7 was showing in the grub menu wasn’t it? No hassles booting Win 7?

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Master Boot Record (MBR) is normally located on the first sector of the drive not partition. The Archlabs installer will give you the option of installing grub to a partition of your choice, if you don’t select any or ‘none’, it will write grub to the MBR.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, AL installer does exactly that the graphical installer for manjaro does only not dressed in pretty graphics and more precisely. When you boot the live system on your particular machine and start the installer, it will know whether you booted UEFI or BIOS and direct you accordingly. Make sure to follow each step before moving on to the next and if your in doubt about an option, use the default. Set / on the partition of your choice, the installer will pick up swap, you simply confirm that. Go with the default when asked for mount option (although, I always use noatime) and when asked about a boot partition, enter ‘none’ or skip for grub on MBR -OR- if you prefer another partition for boot, select that.

I should say, I have installed using the new installer multiple times on different machines with both UEFI and Legacy-BIOS and haven’t had a single problem but when prompted for a boot partition (where grub will be installed) I elected on my Legacy-BIOS installations to install grub to a small 20gb ext4 partition because at the time, I was unaware that by simply skipping or selecting ‘none’ would write grub to the MBR. Windows 7 will be on your MBR, if you wish to continue to use it, install grub to MBR not another partition. Hope I haven’t comfused you, posting from my phone.

I see thanks for clearing that up for me.

I thought the UEFI is a replacement to the BIOS, so how can it exactly be a partition?

UEFI is a replacement but afaik, uses a partition because a partition contains a file system and perhaps because of size but not sure about that.

Is it ok if I can ask you additional questions to do with BIOS and UEFI?

When the user turns on their computer, does the computer FIRST look at the BIOS/UEFI, and is the BIOS/UEFI a chip?

I thought UEFI/BIOS is not at all written to the Drive as it is completely separate to the Drive?

@anon37670755 Joe? focus please Joe.

You’ve got five open topics, three of which are support related with exactly zero resolution to any of them :thinking:

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions Joe but you need pause occasionally and actually read and apply the answers to a possible solution.

Now, I don’t know if you noticed but I took some time last night (while on my phone, no less… because of bad weather here) to help you.

Have you or have you not, resolved the original issue of this topic?


Sorry, I didn’t realise that it was night in your time zone (as it was morning over here).

Thanks for taking the time.

I have to still install it I can’t do it at the moment until I am completly free.

Joe, you just opened a 6th topic. We (users of this forum) would appreciate you resolve an issue, particularly when asked in support before moving on to the next. Doing so shows an acknowledgment to those helping you that our continued help is appreciated and being utilized but more importantly, helps other users looking for a solution to their own problem.

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Sorry about that.

I will keep that in mind and only ask one question at a time.

Thank you.

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No problem