Yesterday I did something very foolish, which you should not emulate: I did hard disk partition surgery on my main computer without backing up any data. Yes, I saw that wince.

For context: my most powerful computer remains the laptop I bought in 2015 to take to university. It has a ~1TB spinning rust hard drive and 8GB of RAM, and came with Windows 8.1. I of course immediately installed Linux Mint on a new partition, but I made a crucial mistake: assuming I would still use Windows to play games, I left most of the space on the Windows side.

Five years later and I hadn’t used the Windows partition in years, and meanwhile it had been almost as long since the Linux Mint had been refreshed—and it was running out of space. I could have done another refresh, but I was not feeling terribly rational.

Instead I simply replaced the entire windows partition with a new Linux, going with (because it’s my computer and I can do what I want) Manjaro i3 edition. I’ll not go in to detail about i3 and why I like it today, but suffice to say it’s a keyboard based desktop environment, and the version that comes from the Manjaro community is probably the sleekest. Some Linux aficionados might find it odd that I use these “beginners” OSes despite using weird things like i3: I like to have a solid foundation on which to build my ridiculousness.

This worked, after a few early hitches, and didn’t wipe the data anywhere I didn’t want it to. It even recognised the existing swap partition, which is something it didn’t do when I installed it somewhere else earlier in the week.

Overall, I really like Manjaro. If you don’t know, Manjaro is designed to make the notoriously finicky Linux distro Arch easier to handle. It works really well out of the box, while still allowing easy access to all of Arch’s packages. It does have some weird bluetooth issues I need to diagnose, and it didn’t have the nonfree graphics drivers installed by default (hot tip: sudo mhwd -a pci nonfree 0300, and reboot).

Meanwhile, I’m yet to see any problems from ditching Windows…