The Linux philosophy is ‘Laugh in the face of danger’. Oops. Wrong One. ‘Do it yourself’. Yes, that’s it! -Linus Torvalds
Arch Linux! I will give the reasons why should one choose Arch Linux over an other distro. Installing Arch Linux is pretty difficult task when you atempt to do it for your first time if you are not familiar with command line and basics of linux. But I would suggest you to install Arch Linux as you will gain a very good insight on how linux works. Arch linux is a minimal, bleeding-edge distro and you won’t have unnecessary packages/drivers or whatever preinstalled. You shape your OS as it suits your needs. Let’s get started!
Before getting started
Make sure you’ve downloaded the arch dual_iso (Arch ISO is dual arch meaning you can install either 32 bit or 64 bit version of Arch using the same media) from here and dd it. If you got no idea what dd is, arch ain’t for you friend! Please be sure you are connected to wifi or plug-in an ethernet cable. If you’ve got UEFI motheboard, the procedure is pretty same but you gotta do some tweaks with grub, which I will explain later, as I experienced the UEFI pain.
Step 1 : Partitioning
Boot your iso and choose your architecture.
This will get you the list of previously made partitions. Let us start partitioning.
Hover to the partition where we gotta install arch and use right/left arrow keys to delete it. You should see the free space left and here we will be installing arch.
BIOS-GPT requires BIOS Boot Partition at the beginning of the disk. The Free Space is already selected then
Hit New -> Enter First Sector -> Enter Size in Sector -> 1007KiB -> Enter Hex Code of GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300) -> ef02 ->Enter Enter partition name – > Enter
You will notice a 1007.0 KiB BIOS boot partition has been created.
Use keyboard to select the free space
Hit New -> Enter First Sector -> Enter Now it will ask you how much space you want to allocate to that partition. In my case I will give root over 40GB Size in Sector -> 40GB -> Enter Hex Code of GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300) -> Enter Enter partition name – > Enter
I’ve got a 500GB hard drive and chose root partition to be 40GB. Choose accordingly.
If you use suspend/hibernate, you need swap. Depending on your need, you can create swap. Let it be same as the size of your RAM. Use keyboard and select Free Space
Hit New -> Enter First Sector -> Enter Now it will ask you how much space you want to allocate to that partition. I would give 4GB for swap (check what’s recommended) Size in Sector -> 4GB -> Enter Hex Code of GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300) -> Enter Enter partition name – > swap
Swap has been created.
Let the rest of the space be alloted to home. Use keyboard and select Free Space
New -> Enter First Sector -> Enter Now it will ask you how much space you want to allocate to that partition. Here I am giving the remaining space to home. Size in Sector -> 200GB -> Enter Hex Code of GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300) -> Enter Enter partition name – > home -> Enter
If everything looks good select ‘Write‘, which will ask you to confirm if you want to write the changes. Type ‘yes‘ if you are sure. Once done select ‘Quit‘.
This will get you the info of your current partition layout.
Step 2 : Creating Filesystem
In my case, the partitions were
sda1 – BIOS Boot sda2 – root sda3 – swap sda4 – home
We will format’em all with ext4 file system
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2 mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda4
mkswap /dev/sda3 swapon /dev/sda3
Make sure you select appropriate partitions instead of sda3
Check it again,
Step 3 : Mounting
Mount the root partition and then create home directory.
mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
Create and mount home directory
mkdir /mnt/home mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/home
Step 4 : Installing base
Let us install base packages for the system. Make sure about your internet connection by running
and select your access point. And then,
pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel
Step 5 : Creating fstab
genfstab -U -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
Run the above command only once even if there are any issues.
In case of any errors, configure it manually
Let us chroot into the system
Step 6 : Setting up language, location and timezone
Choose the language that you use. To set the language, run the following command:
By default every entry in locale.gen file is commented out and we need to uncomment the languages we want. Uncomment,
Ctrl-X and type Y to save and exit
locale-gen echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
Let us setup the timezone
.. will list you the timezones. Mine is Asia/Kolkata
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Asia/Kolkata /etc/localtime
Step 7 : Configuring hardware clock and network
If you are planning to use only linux, run this
hwclock --systohc --utc
If alongside with windows, run this
hwclock --systohc --localtime
In case you are connected to wifi, install the wifi tools and enable wireless service
pacman -S wireless_tools wpa_supplicant wpa_actiond dialog wifi-menu systemctl enable net-auto-wireless.service
In-case of ethernet,
systemctl enable firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 8 : Setting-up accounts
Create root password,
And add user
useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/bash dolftax
Replace dolftax by your username
Password for you,
Umm! Installing and configuring sudo, by
pacman -S sudo EDITOR=nano visudo
%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
Ctrl-X and type Y to save and exit
Step 9 : Time for grub
Install grub2 by following command and don’t forget to replace ‘sda’ with your relevant hard disk. If you’ve got UEFI motherboard, disable it while booting up. It should work, if not configure your bootloader here
pacman -S grub-bios grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda cp /usr/share/locale/en\@quot/LC_MESSAGES/grub.mo /boot/grub/locale/en.mo
Install os-prober and configure grub
pacman -S os-prober grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
Now if you have installed 64 bit Arch we need to add the multilib repo to pacman’s repo list. Here’s how you do it
Go to “Repositories” section of the configuration file and add the following at the bottom
[multilib] Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
Ctrl+X, and they Y to save and exit.It’s time to exit from the chroot
Unmount the root partition
Step 10 : Installing X and drivers
Let the X server be installed,
pacman -S xorg-server xorg-server-utils xorg-xinit
And mesa for 3D-support
pacman -S mesa
Install appropriate video driver by following the instructions here.
Install Synaptics driver, (in case of laptop)
pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics
Let us set-up the default environment,
pacman -S xorg-twm xorg-xclock xterm
If everything went perfect, x window will be displayed. Yay! Type, exit.
Step 11 : Installing Desktop Environment
I would prefer xfce. Install the following packages
sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies alsa-utils pulseaudio dbus slim
Install the correct driver for your graphics card. These are the likely options
pacman -S xf86-video-intel
Replace intel with the options mentioned above, according to your graphics card
systemctl enable NetworkManager
Let us configure Slim which is a login manager.
cp /etc/skel/.xinitrc ~/.xinitrc cp /etc/skel/.xsession ~/.xsession
And then, run
sudo nano ~/.xinitrc
Uncomment the line
## exec startxfce4
So that it looks like,
Restart the slim service
systemctl enable slim.service
You made it!
If you face any error, ‘duck duck go’ it, even if you couldn’t resolve, comment below!
Installing packages from AUR
If a package couldn’t be found by pacman, you can install it from AUR (Arch User Repository) . Guidelines to install packages from AUR is here. Aura, another multilingual package manager would build and install the package for you. Find more about Aura here - https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Aura. You can now search for packages from AUR by
sudo aura -A 'package_name'
as this would resolve all the dependencies, make the package and install it.
Network Manager issues
In case of any network manager error, go here . To get list of networks and connect to them through terminal, you could run
Update: Ater publishing this post, a vivid discussion took place on Hacker News - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9332978