In order to boot Arch Linux, you must install a Linux-capable boot loader to the Master Boot Record or the GUID Partition Table. The boot loader is the first piece of software started by the BIOS or UEFI. It is responsible for loading the kernel with the wanted kernel parameters, and initial RAM disk before initiating the boot process. See below for boot loaders available.
- Boot loaders only need to support the file system on which kernel and initramfs reside (the file system on which
- As GPT is part of the UEFI specification, all UEFI boot loaders support GPT disks. GPT on BIOS systems is possible, using either "hybrid booting", or the new GPT-only protocol. This protocol may however cause issues with certain BIOS implementations; see rodsbooks for details.
- Encryption mentioned in file system support is filesystem-level encryption, it has no bearing on block-level encryption.
|GRUB||Yes||Yes||Yes||without zstd compression||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||On BIOS/GPT configuration requires a BIOS boot partition.|
|systemd-boot||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||ESP only||No||Cannot launch binaries from partitions other than ESP.|
|Syslinux||Yes||Partial||Partial||without: multi-device volumes, compression, encryption||without encryption||No||Yes||v4 on MBR only||No support for certain file system features |
|rEFInd||No||Yes||Yes||without: encryption, zstd compression||without encryption||without tail-packing feature||Yes||No||Supports auto-detecting kernels and parameters without explicit configuration.|
|Clover||emulates UEFI||Yes||Yes||No||Unknown||No||Yes||No||Main target audience is Hackintosh users.|
|LILO||Yes||No||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||MBR only ||Deprecated. Does not support GUID Partition Table.|
|GRUB Legacy||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||v4 only||Deprecated. Does not support GUID Partition Table.|