Beginners' guide/Preparation

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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.

This document will guide you through the process of installing Arch Linux using the Arch Install Scripts. Before installing, you are advised to skim over the FAQ.

The community-maintained ArchWiki is the primary resource that should be consulted if issues arise. The IRC channel (irc:// and the forums are also excellent resources if an answer cannot be found elsewhere. In accordance with the Arch Way, you are encouraged to type man command to read the man page of any command you are unfamiliar with.


Note: If you wish to install from an existing GNU/Linux distribution, please see this article. This can be useful particularly if you plan to install Arch via VNC or SSH remotely. Users seeking to perform the Arch Linux installation remotely via an SSH connection should read Install from SSH for additional tips.

System requirements

Arch Linux should run on any i686 compatible machine with a minimum of 64 MB RAM. A basic installation with all packages from the base group should take about 500 MB of disk space. If you are working with limited space, this can be trimmed down considerably, but you will have to know what your doing.

Burn or write the latest installation medium

The latest release of the installation media can be obtained from the Download page. Note that the single ISO image supports both 32 and 64-bit architectures. A new ISO image is released about once every month and it is highly recommended to always use the latest ISO image.

  • Burn the ISO image on a CD or DVD with your preferred software.
Note: The quality of optical drives and the discs themselves varies greatly. Generally, using a slow burn speed is recommended for reliable burns. If you are experiencing unexpected behaviour from the disc, try burning at the lowest speed supported by your burner.

Installing over the network

Instead of writing the boot media to a disc or USB stick, 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 the installation medium.

Installing 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 storage drive. It will also let you keep this Beginners' Guide open in your browser throughout the installation. Some users may find it beneficial 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 the installation medium.

The following articles may be helpful:

Boot the installation medium

First, 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. Then, select "Boot Arch Linux" from the menu and press Template:Keypress in order to begin with the installation.

Once you have booted into the live environment, your shell is Zsh; this will provide you advanced Tab completion, and other features as part of the grml config.

Testing if you are booted into UEFI mode

In case you have a UEFI motherboard and UEFI Boot mode is enabled (and is preferred over BIOS/Legacy mode), the CD/USB will automatically launch Arch Linux kernel (EFISTUB via Gummiboot Boot Manager). To test if you have booted into UEFI mode check if directory /sys/firmware/efi has been created:

# ls -1 /sys/firmware/efi

Troubleshooting boot problems

  • If you are using an Intel video chipset and the screen goes blank during the boot process, the problem is likely an issue with Kernel Mode Setting. A possible workaround may be achieved by rebooting and pressing Template:Keypress over the entry that you are trying to boot (i686 or x86_64). At the end of the string type nomodeset and press Template:Keypress. Alternatively, try video=SVIDEO-1:d 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 the kernel, press Template:Keypress while hovering over the menu entry, type acpi=off at the end of the string and press Template:Keypress.

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