I have for the past few days been trying to install Arch Linux. I have some experience with Debian and Ubuntu and I thought that Arch Linux would be fun to try out.

Since I use Windows as a daily driver I want to dual boot Arch Linux. I have two identical Kingston SSDs that are 120 GB each. One has Windows 8 installed on it and the other one I just finished installing Arch on to.

While I was installing arch the SSD with Windows on it was unplugged to make sure that I don't break any of the windows files. After I finished installing Arch I restarted the computer and made sure that Arch worked as it is supposed to. Then I shut down the computer again and connected the Windows SSD. After doing that Arch won't boot and says something like "ntfs is an unknown file format". The SSDs are recognised as P1:SV300S37A and P2:SV300S37A in the BIOS. I'm using SysLinux as the boot loader.

Obviously Arch tries to boot but finds the Windows files instead and then shuts down. How can I make it so that Arch can tell the difference between the two drives? Is it even possible to do so?

  • Edit: Just did lsblk and found out that the windows SSD take the /dev/sda slot instead of the linux SSD. I will reinstall the linux partition on the /dev/sdb drive instead and the if it solves the problem
    – jsson
    Oct 22, 2015 at 19:31
  • I think you sould try syslinux-install_update -i -a -m to update your syslinux configuration files. See wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Syslinux#Automatic_Install
    – To Do
    Oct 22, 2015 at 20:14
  • No need to reinstall, it's a two minute fix. See my answer. Oct 22, 2015 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


You're using variable block names (/dev/sdX) and when you attach the second drive, your original drive's name changes. The solution is simple, just use persistent block names (by UUID) in your kernel boot parameters and in /etc/fstab.

PS. Welcome to Arch, you won't switch back... I recommend checking out Yaourt for the full community experience. Honestly, the community repository and the incredible wiki have made Arch the most user-friendly distro for me, despite its reputation.


I am not sure about it, but to give you a hint: Maybe you need to let the windows drive attached while installing arch? Because you install syslinux with the arch system so maybe syslinux needs to detect the installed operating systems?

  • Yes i will try it tomorrow thx for quick answer :)
    – jsson
    Oct 22, 2015 at 19:47
  • Any results? I am curious on this one in general, because I am thinking of using arch too.
    – Thorian93
    Oct 23, 2015 at 19:40

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