Difference between revisions of "Beginners' Guide/Post-Installation"

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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch (English)]] [[Category:About Arch (English)]]
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{{i18n|Beginners' Guide/Post-Installation}}
{{i18n|Beginners' Guide/Post-Installation}}
{{Note|This is part of a multi-page article for The Beginners' Guide. '''[[Beginners' Guide|Click here]]''' if you would rather read the guide in it's entirety.}}
{{Note|This is part of a multi-page article for The Beginners' Guide. '''[[Beginners' Guide|Click here]]''' if you would rather read the guide in it's entirety.}}

Revision as of 15:16, 1 March 2011

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Note: This is part of a multi-page article for The Beginners' Guide. Click here if you would rather read the guide in it's entirety.


Congratulations, and welcome to your new Arch Linux base system!

This section will cover various must-do procedures after installation such as updating your new system and adding a regular, non-root user.


Your new Arch Linux base system is now a functional GNU/Linux environment ready for customization. From here, you may build this elegant set of tools into whatever you wish or require for your purposes.

Login with the root account. We will configure pacman and update the system as root.

Note: Virtual consoles 1-6 are available. You may switch between them with <ALT>+F1...F6

Configure the network (if necessary)

If you properly configured your system, you should have a working network. Try to ping www.google.com to verify: Template:Command

If you have successfully established a network connection, continue with Update, Sync, and Upgrade the system with pacman.

If, after trying to ping www.google.com, an "unknown host" error is received, you may conclude that your network is not properly configured. You may choose to double-check the following files for integrity and proper settings:

Template:Filename - Specifically, check your HOSTNAME and NETWORKING section for typos and errors.

Template:Filename - Double-check for format, typos, and errors.

Template:Filename - If you are using a static IP. If you are using DHCP, this file will be dynamically created and destroyed by default.

Tip: Advanced instructions for configuring the network can be found in the Network article.
Wired LAN

Check your Ethernet with

# ifconfig -a

All interfaces will be listed. You should see an entry for eth0, or perhaps eth1. These examples will use eth0.

Static IP

If required, you can set a new static IP with:

# ifconfig eth0 <ip address> netmask <netmask> up

and the default gateway with

# route add default gw <ip address of the gateway>

Verify that Template:Filename contains your DNS server and add it if it is missing. Check your network again with ping -c 3 www.google.com. If everything is working now, adjust Template:Filename as described above for static IP.


If you have a DHCP server/router in your network try:

# dhcpcd eth0

If this is working, adjust Template:Filename as described above, for dynamic IP.

Wireless LAN

Please see Wireless Quickstart For the Live Environment for details on connecting to a wireless network. Although you are no longer running off the installation media, the commands are the same as long as you installed all related wireless packages during package selection. Remember, your wireless device may need firmware in order to operate. For troubleshooting, check the detailed Wireless Setup page.

Proxy Server

If you are behind a proxy server, edit Template:Filename and set http_proxy and ftp_proxy in it.

Analog Modem, ISDN, and DSL (PPPoE)

See Internet Access for detailed instructions.

Update, Sync, and Upgrade the system with pacman

Now we will update the system using pacman. Pacman is the package manager of Arch Linux. It manages your entire package system and handles installation, removal, package downgrade (through cache), custom compiled package handling, automatic dependency resolution, remote and local searches and much more. Pacman will now be used to download software packages from remote repositories and install them onto your system.

Note: If you installed via a Netinstall, many, if not all, of your packages will already be up to date. However, it is still advisable to run through this update process.

pacman will attempt to read Template:Filename each time it is invoked. This configuration file is divided into sections, or repositories. Each section defines a package repository that pacman can use when searching for packages. The exception to this is the options section, which defines global options.

Note: The defaults should work, so modifying at this point may be unnecessary, but verification is always recommended. Further info available in the Mirrors article.
# nano /etc/pacman.conf

Repositories are described below; enable all desired repositories by removing the # in front of the 'Include =' and '[repository]' lines.

Note: When choosing repos, be sure to uncomment both the repository header lines in [brackets] as well as the 'Include =' lines. Failure to do so will result in the selected repository being omitted! This is a very common error.
Package Repositories

A software repository is a storage location from which software packages may be retrieved and installed on a computer. Arch Linux package maintainers (developers and Trusted Users) maintain a number of official repositories containing software packages for essential and popular software, readily accessible via pacman. This article outlines those officially-supported repositories. See Official Repositories for more information including details about the purpose of each repository.

Most people will want to use [core], [extra] and [community]. If you want to run 32-bit applications on Arch x86_64, enable the [multilib] repository by adding the lines below to /etc/pacman.conf:

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

The AUR also contains the unsupported branch, which cannot be accessed directly by pacman*. AUR [unsupported] does not contain binary packages. Rather, it provides more than sixteen thousand PKGBUILD scripts for building packages from source, that may be unavailable through the other repos. When an AUR unsupported package acquires enough popular votes, it may be moved to the AUR [community] binary repo, if a TU is willing to adopt and maintain it there.

  • TU maintained
  • All PKGBUILD bash build scripts
  • Not pacman accessible by default

* pacman wrappers (AUR Helpers) can help you seamlessly access AUR.


Defines pacman repository mirrors and priorities.

Open Template:Filename in an editor and uncomment (remove the '#' in front) a server close to you. Then issue a complete package refresh:

# pacman -Syy

Passing two --refresh or -y flags forces pacman to refresh all package lists even if they are considered to be up to date. Issuing pacman -Syy whenever a mirror is changed, is good practice and will avoid possible headaches.


Alternatively, you can use rankmirrors. rankmirrors is a bash script which will attempt to detect uncommented mirrors specified in Template:Filename which are closest to the installation machine based on latency. Faster mirrors will dramatically improve pacman performance, and the overall Arch Linux experience. This script may be run periodically, especially if the chosen mirrors provide inconsistent throughput and/or updates. Note that rankmirrors does not test for throughput. Tools such as wget or rsync may be used to effectively test for mirror throughput after a new Template:Filename has been generated.

Issue the following command to completely refresh package database, upgrade and install curl:

# pacman -Syyu curl
  • If you get an error at this step, use the command "nano /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist" and uncomment a server that suits you.

cd to the Template:Filename directory:

# cd /etc/pacman.d

Backup the existing Template:Filename:

# cp mirrorlist mirrorlist.backup

Edit mirrorlist.backup and uncomment all mirrors on the same continent or within geographical proximity to test with rankmirrors.

# nano mirrorlist.backup

Run the script against the mirrorlist.backup with the -n switch and redirect output to a new /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist file:

# rankmirrors -n 6 mirrorlist.backup > mirrorlist

-n 6: rank the 6 closest mirrors

Force pacman to refresh all package lists with the new mirrorlist in place:

# pacman -Syy
Mirrorcheck for up-to-date packages

Since rankmirrors does not take into account how up-to-date a mirror's package list is, it's important to note that one or more of the mirrors it selects as fastest may still be out-of-date. ArchLinux Mirrorcheck reports various aspects about the mirrors such as network problems with mirrors, data collection problems, the last time mirrors have been synced, etc. One may wish to manually inspect Template:Filename, ensuring that the file contains only up-to-date mirrors if having the latest package versions is a priority.

Alternatively, the Mirrorlist Generator can automatically rank mirrors close to your location by how up-to-date they are.

Get familiar with pacman

pacman is the Arch user's best friend. It is highly recommended to study and learn how to use the pacman(8) tool. Try:

$ man pacman

For more information, have a look at the pacman wiki entry at your own leisure, or check out the pacman rosetta entry for a comparison to other popular package managers.

Update the System

You are now ready to upgrade your entire system. Before you do, read through the news (and optionally the announce mailing list). Often the developers will provide important information about required configurations and modifications for known issues. Consulting these pages before any upgrade is good practice.

Sync, refresh, and upgrade your entire new system with:

# pacman -Syu


# pacman --sync --refresh --sysupgrade

pacman will now download a fresh copy of the master package list from the server(s) defined in Template:Filename and perform all available upgrades. You may be prompted to upgrade pacman itself at this point. If so, say yes, and then reissue the pacman -Syu command when finished.

Reboot if a kernel upgrade has occurred.

Note: Occasionally, configuration changes may take place requiring user action during an update; read pacman's output for any pertinent information.

Pacman output is saved in Template:Filename.

See Package Management FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions regarding updating and managing your packages.

Ignoring Packages

After executing the command pacman -Syu, the entire system will be updated. It is possible to prevent a package from being upgraded. A typical scenario would be a package for which an upgrade may prove problematic for the system. In this case, there are two options; indicate the package(s) to skip in the pacman command line using the --ignore switch (pacman -S --help for details) or permanently indicate the package(s) to skip in the /etc/pacman.conf file in the IgnorePkg array. For more information, please see the pacman wiki entry.

Please note that the power user is expected to keep the system up to date with pacman -Syu, rather than selectively upgrading packages. You may diverge from this typical usage as you wish; just be warned that there is a greater chance that things will not work as intended and that it could break your system. The majority of complaints happen when selective upgrading, unusual compilation or improper software installation is performed. Use of IgnorePkg in /etc/pacman.conf is therefore discouraged, and should only be used sparingly, if you know what you are doing.

The Arch rolling release model

Keep in mind that Arch is a rolling release distribution. This means there is never a reason to reinstall or perform elaborate system rebuilds to upgrade to the newest version. Simply issuing pacman -Syu periodically keeps your entire system up-to-date and on the bleeding edge. At the end of this upgrade, your system is completely current. Remember to reboot if a kernel upgrade has occurred.

Adding a User

Note: Before adding your users, consider hardening your system by switching from md5 password hashes to sha512 password hashes. See the [SHA_password_hashes] wiki article for more.

Linux is a multi-user environment. You should not do your everyday work using the root account. It is more than poor practice; it is dangerous. Root is for administrative tasks. Instead, add a normal, non-root, user account using the /usr/sbin/useradd program.

# useradd -m -g [initial_group] -G [additional_groups] -s [login_shell] [username]
  • -m Creates user home directory as /home/username. Within their home directory, a user can write files, delete them, install programs, etc. Users' home directories shall contain their data and personal configuration files, the so-called 'dot files' (their name is preceded by a dot), which are 'hidden'. (To view dotfiles, enable the appropriate option in your file manager or run ls with the -a switch.) If there is a conflict between user (under /home/username) and global configuration files, (usually under /etc/) the settings in the user file will prevail. Dotfiles likely to be altered by the end user include .xinitrc and .bashrc files. The configuration files for xinit and Bash respectively. They allow the user the ability to change the window manager to be started upon login and also aliases, user-specified commands and environment variables respectively. When a user is created, their dotfiles shall be taken from the /etc/skel directory where system sample files reside.
  • -g The group name or number of the user's initial login group. The group name must exist. If a group number is provided, it must refer to an already existing group. If not specified, the behavior of useradd will depend on the USERGROUPS_ENAB variable contained in /etc/login.defs.
  • -G A list of supplementary groups which the user is also a member of. Each group is separated from the next by a comma, with no intervening spaces. The default is for the user to belong only to the initial group.
  • -s The path and filename of the user´s default login shell. Arch Linux init scripts use Bash. After the boot process is complete, the default login shell is user-specified. (Ensure the chosen shell package is installed if choosing something other than Bash).

Useful groups for your non-root user include:

  • audio - for tasks involving sound card and related software
  • floppy - for access to a floppy if applicable
  • lp - for managing printing tasks
  • optical - for managing tasks pertaining to the optical drive(s)
  • storage - for managing storage devices
  • video - for video tasks and hardware acceleration
  • wheel - for using sudo
  • games - needed for write permission for games in the games group
  • power - used w/ power options (e.g.: shutdown with power button)
  • scanner - for using a scanner

A typical desktop system example, adding a user named "archie" specifying bash as the login shell:

# useradd -m -g users -G audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,games,power,scanner -s /bin/bash archie

Next, add a password for your new user using /usr/bin/passwd.

An example for our user, 'archie':

# passwd archie

(You will be prompted to provide the new password.)

Your new non-root user has now been created, complete with a home directory and a login password.

Deleting the user account:

In the event of error, or if you wish to delete this user account in favor of a different name or for any other reason, use /usr/sbin/userdel:

# userdel -r [username]
  • -r Files in the user´s home directory will be removed along with the home directory itself and the user´s mail spool.

If you want to change the name of your user or any existing user, see the Change username page of the Arch wiki and/or the Groups and User Management articles for further information. You may also check the man pages for usermod(8) and gpasswd(8).

Install and setup Sudo (Optional)

Install Sudo:

# pacman -S sudo

To add a user as a sudo user (a "sudoer"), the visudo command must be run as root.

By default, the visudo command uses the editor vi. If you do not know how to use vi, you may set the EDITOR environment variable to the editor of your choice, such as in this example with the editor "nano":

# EDITOR=nano visudo
Note: Please note that you are setting the variable and starting visudo on the same line at the same time. This will not work properly as two separated commands.

If you are comfortable using vi, issue the visudo command without the EDITOR=nano variable:

# visudo

This will open the file /etc/sudoers in a special session of vi. visudo copies the file to be edited to a temporary file, edits it with an editor, (vi by default), and subsequently runs a sanity check. If it passes, the temporary file overwrites the original with the correct permissions.

Warning: Do not edit /etc/sudoers directly with an editor; Errors in syntax can cause annoyances (like rendering the root account unusable). You must use the visudo command to edit /etc/sudoers.

In the previous section we added your user to the "wheel" group. To give users in the wheel group full root privileges when they precede a command with "sudo", uncomment the following line:

%wheel	ALL=(ALL) ALL

Now you can give any user access to the sudo command by simply adding them to the wheel group.

For more information, such as sudoer <TAB> completion, see Sudo.


You should now have a completely functional Arch system which will act as a suitable base for you to build upon based on your needs. However, most people are interested in a desktop system, complete with sound and graphics. This part of the guide will give a quick run down to getting these extras working.


If you want sound, proceed to Advanced Linux Sound Architecture for instructions. Alternatively, proceed to the next section (installing a GUI) first, and set up sound later (it usually works out of the box, so you'll just need to unmute it).

The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) is included with the kernel and it's recommended to try it first. However, if it doesn't work or you aren't satisfied with the quality, the Open Sound System is a viable alternative. OSSv4 has been released under a free license and is generally considered a significant improvement over the older OSSv3 which was replaced by ALSA. Instructions can be found in the OSS article.

If you have advanced audio requirements, take a look at Sound for an overview of various articles.

Graphical User Interface

Install X

The X Window System (commonly X11, or X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Note: If you're installing Arch in a Virtualbox guest, you need a different way to complete X installation. See Running Arch Linux as a guest, then skip the A,B,C steps below.

Now we will install the base Xorg packages using pacman. This is the first step in building a GUI.

Install the base packages:

# pacman -S xorg

Install mesa for 3D support:

# pacman -S mesa

The 3D utilities glxgears and glxinfo are included in the mesa-demos package, install if needed:

# pacman -S mesa-demos

Install video driver

Next, you should install a driver for your graphics card.

You will need knowledge of which video chipset your machine has. If you do not know, use the /usr/sbin/lspci program:

$ lspci
Note: The vesa driver is the most generic, and should work with almost any modern video chipset. If you cannot find a suitable driver for your video chipset, vesa should work with any video card, but it offers only slow 2D.

For a complete list of all open-source video drivers, search the package database:

$ pacman -Ss xf86-video | less
Note: Proprietary drivers for NVIDIA and ATI are covered in the next sections. If you plan on doing heavy 3D processing such as gaming, consider using these.

Use pacman to install the appropriate video driver for your video card/onboard video. Example for the Savage driver:

# pacman -S xf86-video-savage
Tip: For some Intel graphics cards, configuration may be necessary to get proper 2D or 3D performance, see Intel for more information.
NVIDIA Graphics Cards

NVIDIA users have three options for drivers (in addition to the vesa driver):

  • The open-source nouveau driver, which offers fast 2d acceleration and experimental 3d support which is good enough for basic compositing (note: does not fully support powersaving yet). Feature Matrix.
  • The open-source (but obfuscated) nv driver, which is very slow and only has 2d support.
  • The proprietary nvidia drivers, which offer good 3d performance and powersaving. Even if you plan on using the proprietary drivers, it is recommended to start with nouveau and then switch to the binary driver after you have X set up and working. Nouveau often works out-of-the-box, while nvidia will require configuration and likely some troubleshooting. See NVIDIA for more information.

The open-source nouveau driver should be good enough for most users and is recommended:

# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau

Or, for 3D support (experimental):

# pacman -S nouveau-dri

Create the file Template:Filename, and input the following contents:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "n"
    Driver "nouveau"

This is required to ensure that nouveau driver is loaded. Xorg does not yet autoload nouveau.

Tip: For advanced instructions, see Nouveau.
ATI Graphics Cards

ATI owners have two options for drivers (in addition to the vesa driver):

  • The open source radeon driver provided by the xf86-video-ati package. See the radeon feature matrix for details.
  • The proprietary fglrx driver provided by the catalyst package located in the AUR. It supports only newer devices (HD2xxx and newer). It was once a package offered by Arch in the extra repository, but as of March 2009, official support has been dropped because of dissatisfaction with the quality and speed of development of the proprietary driver. See ATI Catalyst for more information.

The open-source driver is the recommended choice. Install the radeon ATI Driver:

# pacman -S xf86-video-ati
Tip: For advanced instructions, see ATI.

Install input drivers

Udev should be capable of detecting your hardware without problems and evdev (xf86-input-evdev) is the modern, hotplugging input driver for almost all devices so in most cases, installing input drivers is not needed. At this point, evdev has already been installed as a dependency of Xorg.

If evdev does not support your device, install the needed driver from the xorg-input-drivers group.

For a complete list of available input drivers, invoke a pacman search:

# pacman -Ss xf86-input | less
Note: You only need xf86-input-keyboard or xf86-input-mouse if you plan on disabling hotplugging, otherwise, evdev will act as the input driver.

Laptop users (or users with a touchscreen) will also need the synaptics package to allow X to configure the touchpad/touchscreen:

# pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics
Tip: For instructions on fine tuning or troubleshooting touchpad settings, see the Touchpad Synaptics article.

Configure X (Optional)

Warning: Proprietary drivers usually require a reboot after installation along with configuration. See NVIDIA or ATI Catalyst for details.

X Server features auto-configuration and therefore can function without an xorg.conf. If you still wish to manually configure X Server, please see the Xorg wiki page.

Non-US keyboard

If you do not use a standard US keyboard you need to set the keyboard layout in Template:Filename:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "evdev keyboard catchall"
    MatchIsKeyboard "on"
    MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
    Driver "evdev"
    Option "XkbLayout" "be"
Note: The XkbLayout key may differ from the keymap code you used with the km or loadkeys command. For instance, the uk layout corresponds to the key: gb.

Testing X

This section will explain how to start the very basic graphical environment included with in the xorg group in order to test it. This uses the simple default X window manager, twm.

The default X environment is rather bare. This section below will deal with installing a desktop environment or window manager of your choice to supplement X.

If you installed Xorg before creating your regular user, there will be an empty .xinitrc file in your $HOME that you need to either delete or edit in order for X to start properly. If you do not do this X will show a blank screen with what appears to be no errors in your Template:Filename. Simply deleting it will get it running with a default X environment.

$ rm ~/.xinitrc
Message bus
Note: dbus is likely required for many of your applications to work properly, if you know you don't need it, skip this section.

Install dbus:

# pacman -S dbus

To start automatically on boot, you should add dbus to your DAEMONS array in Template:Filename:

DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus network crond)

If you need to start dbus without rebooting, run

# /etc/rc.d/dbus start
Start X
Note: The Ctrl-Alt-Backspace shortcut traditionally used to kill X has been deprecated and will not work to exit out of this test. You can enable Ctrl-Alt-Backspace by editing xorg.conf, as described here.

Finally, start Xorg:

$ startx


$ xinit -- /usr/bin/X -nolisten tcp

A few movable windows should show up, and your mouse should work. Once you are satisfied that X installation was a success, you may exit out of X by issuing the exit command into the prompts until you return to the console.

If the screen goes black, you may still attempt to switch to a different virtual console (CTRL-Alt-F2, for example), and login blindly as root, followed by <Enter>, followed by root's password followed by <Enter>.

You can attempt to kill the X server with /usr/bin/pkill (note the capital letter X):

# pkill X

If pkill does not work, reboot blindly with:

# reboot
In case of errors

If a problem occurs, then look for errors in Template:Filename. Be on the lookout for any lines beginning with Template:Codeline which represent errors, and also Template:Codeline which are warnings that could indicate other issues.

$ grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log

Errors may also be searched for in the console output of the virtual console from which X was started.

See the Xorg article for detailed instructions and troubleshooting.

Need Help?

If you are still having trouble after consulting the Xorg article and need assistance via the Arch forums, be sure to install and use wgetpaste:

# pacman -S wgetpaste

Use wgetpaste and provide links for the following files when asking for help in your forum post:

  • ~/.xinitrc
  • /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  • /var/log/Xorg.0.log
  • /var/log/Xorg.0.log.old

Use wgetpaste like so:

$ wgetpaste </path/to/file>

Post the corresponding links given within your forum post. Be sure to provide appropriate hardware and driver information as well.

Warning: It is very important to provide detail when troubleshooting X. Please provide all pertinent information as detailed above when asking for assistance on the Arch forums.

Install Fonts

At this point, you may wish to save time by installing visually pleasing, true type fonts, before installing a desktop environment/window manager. DejaVu is a set of high quality, general-purpose fonts.

Install with:

# pacman -S ttf-dejavu

Refer to Font Configuration for how to configure font rendering and Fonts for font suggestions and installation instructions.

Choose and install a graphical interface

The X Window System provides the basic framework for building a graphical user interface (GUI).

Note: Choosing your DE or WM is a very subjective and personal decision. Choose the best environment for your needs.
Window Manager (WM) 
Controls the placement and appearance of application windows in conjunction with the X Window System. See Window managers for more information.
Desktop Environment (DE)
Works atop and in conjunction with X, to provide a completely functional and dynamic GUI. A DE typically provides a window manager, icons, applets, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, a suite of applications and abilities like drag and drop.See Desktop environments for more information.
Note: You can build your own DE by using a WM and the applications of your choice.

After installing a graphical interface, you may wish to continue with General Recommendations for post-installation instructions.

Methods for starting your Graphical Environment


You might prefer to start X manually from your terminal rather than booting straight into the desktop. For DE-specific commands, please see the wiki page corrosponding to your DE for more information. For more generic X commands, please see the section on the Xorg page.


You might prefer to have the desktop start automatically during boot instead of starting X manually. See Display Manager for instructions on using a login manager or Start X at Boot for two lightweight methods that don't rely on a display manager.

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