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How To Switch Kernels In Manjaro Linux

One of the benefits of Manjaro Linux is it’s ability to use and install multiple versions of the Linux kernel at one time. Switching through various versions of Linux on the fly is a great way to ensure that your devices are always running at their best. Manjaro Linux does a really great job of taking Arch Linux and simplifying it for normal users.  It often builds stellar GUI tools around an otherwise complex command-line solution. Swapping the kernel is no different. If users want to upgrade (or even downgrade) to any version of Linux, the easiest way is to switch kernels in Majaro is to use the GUI tool. Here’s how it works.

Start off by pressing the windows key on your keyboard to open up the Manjaro menu. Inside of the search box, search for “Manjaro Settings Manager” and launch it.

Note: If you’re using a community version of Manjaro Linux, rather than the traditional release, look through the settings and launch “Manjaro Settings Manager”.

Inside of the settings manager, there are a few options to choose from. Forget the rest of the options, as the only one that matters in this guide, is “Kernel”. Click on the penguin icon to open up the GUI kernel management tool.

Switch Kernels Via GUI

The Manjaro kernel management tool has a lot of different Linux kernels to choose from; both new and outdated. As of January, 2018, it is running the latest stable release of Linux (aka version 4.14).

For most users, version 4.14 is perfect. However, if you’re a power user and you’re looking to get a little more out of your Manjaro Linux PC, you’ve got the option to install an unstable kernel. Alternatively, if your devices work better with older kernels, that option is also available.

Upgrading Kernels In Manjaro

To install an unstable kernel, look for any release that has “.r” after it and click the “install” button. For example, to run the latest 4.15 Linux release candidate, you’d click the install button after “Linux 4.15.r180118.gdd”

Downgrading Kernels In Manjaro

Generally speaking, it’s silly to downgrade to versions of Linux. With each new release, security patches are introduced as well as new drivers. Still, sometimes with Linux releases, trouble can happen (for whatever reason). If you feel your machine was working better on an earlier version of Linux, the Manjaro kernel tool makes it very easy to roll back, and even install multiple Kernel versions at one time.

To install an older kernel, click “install” next to any versions of Linux under version 4.14. After clicking the install button, you’ll be prompted to enter your password. Do so, and the installation will begin.

When the installation finishes, reboot your PC, and select the version you installed at the boot screen.

Note: old versions of Linux go back as far as 3.16 on Manjaro.

Uninstalling Old Kernels

Removing an old kernel from Manjaro works the same way as installing a new one. To start off, open up the Manjaro Settings Manager, and click on the penguin icon. From here, scroll down and select the installed Linux kernel that you want to uninstall. Click the “uninstall” button to start the removal process.

What follows is the system asking for a password. Enter it correctly, and Manjaro will purge the kernel from Grub, and the rest of the system. Keep in mind, that you cannot uninstall a version of the Linux kernel from Manjaro if you’re using it. You must switch to a different kernel first.

Switch Kernels Via Terminal

Along with installing Kernels via the Manjaro Linux kernel management tool, users can also install (and uninstall) different versions of the Linux kernel via the terminal, and pacman package manager. To find versions of the Linux kernel, open up a terminal and use this search pattern:

pacman -Ss linux4* | grep "kernel and modules"

Want a version of Linux for Manjaro Linux that is under version 4.x? If so, try this search pattern instead. Please understand that this search pattern isn’t perfect.

pacman -Ss linux3* | grep "kernel and modules"

By using a *, the package manager will list any and all Linux packages with 3.x, or 4.x. When you’ve figured out the exact version of the kernel you’d like to install, the process is as simple as installing any other program via pacman in the terminal. For example: to install the 4.12 version of the kernel, you’d do:

sudo pacman -S linux412

Removing Kernels In Manjaro Via Terminal

Purging old, or alternative kernels installed on Manjaro can be managed quite nicely in right in terminal via the package manager. To do this, first combine the pacman tool with a filter, to find the exact name of the kernel package to remove.

pacman -Ss linux4* | grep "installed"

Once again, to filter out installed kernels that start with 3, rather than 4, try using this pattern instead:

pacman -Ss linux3* | grep "installed"

This method isn’t perfect, but it will highlight most (if not all) Linux kernels currently installed inside of Manjaro. From here, take note of the package name, and use the package manager tool to remove it from the system.

sudo pacman -R linux412

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