Installation guide

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This document is a guide for installing Arch Linux from the live system booted with the official installation image. Before installing, it would be advised to view the FAQ. For conventions used in this document, see Help:Reading.

For more detailed instructions, see the respective ArchWiki articles (accessible from the installation environment with ELinks), or the various programs' man pages; see archlinux(7) for an overview of the configuration. For interactive help, the IRC channel and the forums are also available.


Arch Linux should run on any i686 compatible machine with a minimum of 256 MB RAM. A basic installation with all packages from the base group should take less than 800 MB of disk space.

Download and boot the installation medium as explained in Category:Getting and installing Arch. You will be logged in as the root user, and presented with a Zsh shell prompt; common commands such as systemctl(1) can be tab-completed.

To edit configuration files, nano, vi and vim are available.

The installation process needs to retrieve packages from a remote repository, therefore a working internet connection is required.

Verify the boot mode

As instructions differ for UEFI systems, verify the boot mode by checking efivars:

# ls /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

Set the keyboard layout

The default console keymap is US. Available choices can be listed with ls /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/**/*.map.gz.

The layout can be changed with loadkeys(1), appending a file name (path and file extension can be omitted). For example:

# loadkeys de-latin1

Console fonts are located in /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts/, and can likewise be set with setfont(8).

Connect to the Internet

Internet service via dhcpcd is enabled on boot for supported wired devices; check the connection using a tool such as ping.

If a different network configuration tool is needed, systemd-networkd and netctl are available. See and netctl.profile(5) for examples. When using either service, stop dhcpcd@interface.service first.

Update the system clock

Use timedatectl(1) to ensure the system clock is accurate:

# timedatectl set-ntp true

To check the service status, use timedatectl status.

Partition the disks

To modify and print partition tables, use fdisk or parted for both MBR and GPT, or gdisk for GPT only.

At least one partition must be available for the / directory. UEFI systems additionally require an EFI System Partition. Other partitions may be needed, such as a GRUB BIOS boot partition.

If wanting to create any stacked block devices for LVM, disk encryption or RAID, do it now.

Format the partitions

File systems are created using mkfs(8), or mkswap(8) in case of the swap area. See File systems#Create a file system for details.

Mount the partitions

mount(8) the root partition on /mnt. After that, create directories for and mount any other partitions (/mnt/boot, /mnt/home, ...) and activate your swap partition with swapon(8), if you want them to be detected later by genfstab.


Select the mirrors

Edit /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist and select a download mirror(s). Regional mirrors usually work best; however, other criteria may be necessary to discern, read more on Mirrors.

This file will later be copied to the new system by pacstrap, so it is worth getting right.

Install the base packages

Use the pacstrap script to install the base package group:

# pacstrap /mnt base

The group does not include all tools from the live installation, such as btrfs-progs or specific wireless firmware; see packages.both for comparison.

To install other packages or groups to the new system, append their names to pacstrap (space separated) or to individual pacman(8) commands after the #Chroot step.

Configure the system


Generate an fstab file (use -U or -L to define by UUID or labels):

# genfstab -U -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Check the resulting file in /mnt/etc/fstab afterwards, and edit it in case of errors.


Change root into the new system:

# arch-chroot /mnt

Time zone

Set the time zone:

# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/zone/subzone /etc/localtime

Run hwclock(8) to generate /etc/adjtime. If the hardware clock is set to UTC, other operating systems should be configured accordingly.

# hwclock --systohc --utc


Uncomment the needed locales in /etc/locale.gen, then generate them with:

# locale-gen

Add LANG=your_locale to locale.conf(5), and if required, console keymap and font to vconsole.conf(5).


Create an entry for your hostname in /etc/hostname:

# echo myhostname > /etc/hostname

A matching entry in /etc/hosts is recommended, see Network configuration#Set the hostname.

Network configuration

Configure the network for the newly installed environment: see Network configuration.

For Wireless configuration, install the iw, wpa_supplicant, and dialog packages, as well as needed firmware packages.


When making configuration changes to mkinitcpio.conf, create a new initial RAM disk with:

# mkinitcpio -p linux

Root password

Set the root password:

# passwd

Boot loader

See Category:Boot loaders for available choices and configurations. Choices include GRUB (BIOS/UEFI), systemd-boot (UEFI) and syslinux (BIOS).

If you have an Intel CPU, in addition to installing a boot loader, install the intel-ucode package and enable microcode updates.


Exit the chroot environment by typing exit or pressing Ctrl+D.

Optionally manually unmount all the partitions with umount -R /mnt: this allows noticing any "busy" partitions, and finding the cause with fuser(1).

Finally, restart the machine by typing reboot: any partitions still mounted will be automatically unmounted by systemd. Remember to remove the installation media and then login into the new system with the root account.


See General recommendations for system management directions and post-installation tutorials (like setting up a graphical user interface, sound or a touchpad).

For a list of applications that may be of interest, see List of applications.