Arch Handbook

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This handbook has only just been started. It's currently a rather bare outline. Please edit it and make it better! Look at the FreeBSD Handbook as a style guide.

Most sections should be a summary, with a link to the main article on the subject.

Getting Started


Arch linux is a lightweight and flexible linux distribution that tries to Keep It Simple. There are official packages optimized for the i686 and x86-64 architectures. There is also a community-operated package repository. See the pages in this category

Installing Arch Linux

The full install guide is here and the install CDs are available here. If you would like a more detailed installation guide, please see the Beginners' Guide.

Linux Basics

A few basics on the file system and command line, for people starting Unix/Linux with Arch.

How to change directory:

cd /name/of/directory


cd /etc/pacman.d

How to make a directory:

mkdir /path/to/new/directory


mkdir /home/archuser/newfolder

How to remove an (empty) directory:

rmdir /path/to/empty/directory

How to remove a non-empty directory:

rmdir --ignore-fail-on-non-empty /path/to/non_empty/directory

How to list files in a directory:

All files: (except hidden files)


All files: (including hidden files)

ls -a

All files, hidden files and their properties:

ls -la

Files with the .avi file extension only:

ls *.avi

How to move a file:

mv /path/to/old/file.ext /path/to/new/file.ext


mv /home/archuser/ /home/archuser/myfiles/

How to copy a file:

cp /path/to/file.txt /path/to/copied/file.txt

How to remove a file:

rm /path/to/file.txt


rm /home/archuser/file.txt

How to show the contents of a file:

cat /path/to/file.txt

How to make a file executable:

chmod +x /path/to/

How to (search the entire filesystem for) a file called euwfh.avi

cd /
find -name euwfh.avi

How to mount a partition:

mount /dev/sdX1 /media/mountpoint


mount /dev/sda1 /media/folder

How to show how much space is left/used on (all mounted) partitions:

df -h

How to show all running processes:

ps -A

How to stop an annoying process called "EvilTrojan":

killall EvilTrojan

How to show an unintelligible manual for a program "ultracompressor"

man ultracompressor

Installing, removing, updating and managing software: pacman

See pacman.

Graphical Desktop Environments

Template:Graphical user interface overview

Common Tasks

Desktop Applications

Web browsers, office suites, etc.


Video players, music jukeboxes, photo management, how to get codecs.


CUPS installation and configuration, finding drivers.

System Administration

Configuration and Tuning

A lot of the configuration of Arch is done in /etc/rc.conf. This may sound daunting , but it is well commented and allows you to set modules for auto-loading and blacklisting, along with daemons and some network configuration. Details on some common configuration (init, cron).

Users and Basic Account Management

Creating and managing users with command-line utilities.

Users are created with useradd. See Users and Groups for more information.


Network Configuration

How networks are set up in Arch.


Mail, web, SSH server installation and configuration.


See Firewalls, iptables, Simple Stateful Firewall.