Beginners' guide/Preparation

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Revision as of 06:25, 5 August 2012 by PMay (talk | contribs) (*nix method)
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zh-CN:Beginners' Guide/Preparation

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


Note: If you wish to install to another partition from within an existing GNU/Linux distribution or LiveCD, please see this wiki article for steps to do this. This can be useful particularly if you plan to install Arch via VNC or SSH remotely. The following assumes installation by conventional means.

Obtain the latest installation media

You can obtain Arch's official installation media from here. The latest version is 2012.08.04 and this guide pertains to the current release.

Pre-release images are also available and can be downloaded here. These are not official releases and so are not officially supported.

Check the integrity of the downloaded file

cd to the directory where the downloaded files have been placed, and invoke sha1sum:

$ sha1sum --check name_of_checksum_file.txt

This should give you an "OK" for the one you have (simply ignore other lines). If not, download it again.

The md5sum check works the same way.

CD installer

Burn the .iso image file to a CD or DVD media with your preferred CD/DVD burner drive and software, and continue with Boot Arch Linux installer.

Note: The quality of optical drives, as well as the CD media itself, vary greatly. Generally, using a slow burn speed is recommended for reliable burns; Some users recommend speeds as low as 4x or 2x. If you are experiencing unexpected behavior from the CD, try burning at the minimum speed supported by your system.

Flash memory device or USB stick

See USB Installation Media for more detailed instructions. You can use any type of flash media from which your BIOS will let you boot, be it a card reader or USB port.

*nix method
Warning: Be very careful where you send the image ISO, as dd will obediently write to any target you point to, even if that is your hard disk (which could lead to potential data loss and/or filesystem corruption).

Insert an empty or expendable flash device, determine its path, and write the .iso to the device with the dd program:

# dd if=archlinux-2012.08.04-dual.iso of=/dev/sdx bs=4M

where if= is the path to the .iso file and of= is your flash device. Make sure to use /dev/sdx and not /dev/sdx1. You will need a flash memory device large enough to accommodate the image.

To verify that the image was successfully written to the flash device, make a note of the number of records (blocks) read in and written out, then perform the following check:

# dd if=/dev/sdx count=<number of records> bs=4M status=noxfer | sha1sum

The sha1sum returned should match the original sha1sum of the downloaded archlinux image file from the mirror distribution site (2012.08.04). A typical run will look like this:

Write .iso to drive:

# dd if=archlinux-2012.08.04-dual.iso of=/dev/sdc bs=4M
96+0 records in
96+0 records out
402653184 bytes (403 MB) copied, 105,791 s, 3,8 MB/s

Verify integrity:

# dd if=/dev/sdc count=96 bs=4M status=noxfer | sha1sum
96+0 records in
96+0 records out
d5fb2364f9967e458984b8050724c749213152b2  -

Continue with Boot Arch Linux Installation Media.

Microsoft Windows method

Download Disk Imager from here. Insert flash media. Start the Disk Imager and select the image file (Disk Imager accepts only *.img files, so you will have to put *.iso in file open dialog to select Arch snapshot). Select the drive letter associated with the flash drive. Click Write.

There are also other solutions to writing bootable ISO images to USB sticks. If you have problems with USB sticks disconnecting, try using different USB port and/or cable.

Afterwards continue with Boot Arch Linux Installation Media.

Install over the network

Instead of writing the boot media to a disc or USB drive, you may alternatively boot the .iso image over the network. This works well when you already have a server set up. Please see this article for more information, and then continue to Boot Arch Linux Installation Media.

Install on a virtual machine

Installing on a virtual machine is a good way to become familiar with Arch Linux and its installation procedure without leaving your current operating system and repartitioning the hard drive. It will also let you keep this Beginners' Guide open in your browser throughout the installation. Some users may find it advantageous to have an independent Arch Linux system on a virtual drive for testing purposes.

Examples of virtualization software are VirtualBox, VMware, QEMU, Xen, Varch, Parallels.

The exact procedure for preparing a virtual machine depends on the software, but will generally follow these steps:

  1. Create the virtual disk image that will host the operating system.
  2. Properly configure the virtual machine parameters.
  3. Boot the downloaded .iso image with a virtual CD drive.
  4. Continue with Boot Arch Linux Installation Media.

The following articles may be helpful:

Boot Arch Linux Installation Media

Tip: The memory requirement for a basic install is 64MB of RAM.
Tip: During the process, the automatic screen blanker may come on. If it does, you can simply press the Alt key to safely obtain the normal display.

Boot from the media

Insert the CD or flash media you prepared and boot from it. You may have to change the boot order in your computer's BIOS. To do this, you have to press a key (usually Template:Keypress, Template:Keypress, Template:Keypress, Template:Keypress or Template:Keypress) during the POST (Power On Self-Test) phase.

Main Menu: The main menu should be displayed at this point. Select the preferred choice by using the arrow keys to highlight your choice, and then by pressing Template:Keypress. Menus vary slightly among the different ISO images.

System start

Select "Boot Arch Linux" from the Main Menu and press Template:Keypress in order to begin with the installation. The system will now load and present a shell prompt. You will be automatically logged in as root.

Note: Users seeking to perform the Arch Linux installation remotely via an SSH connection are encouraged to make a few tweaks at this point to enable SSH connections directly to the live CD environment. If interested, see the Install from SSH article.
Troubleshooting boot problems

If using an Intel video chipset and the screen goes blank during the boot process, the problem is likely an issue with Kernel Mode Setting (KMS). A possible workaround may be achieved by rebooting and pressing Template:Keypress at the GRUB Legacy menu to enter kernel options. At the end of the kernel line, append the following:


Alternatively, append:


which (if it works) will not disable kernel mode setting. See the Intel article for more information.

If the screen does not go blank and the boot process gets stuck while trying to load kernel, press Template:Keypress to edit the kernel line and append the following:


When done making any changes to any menu command, simply press Template:Keypress to boot with the changes made. Template:Beginners' Guide navigation