Building a Live CD

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Motivation - Why?

Having a bootable version of Arch Linux running totally off of a CD is useful in many ways. It can be used to rescue your system, test new machines and check if the hardware is Linux compatible, keep an updated installer with the latest packages, make a demo CD to show your projects, and much more.

Instructions - How

There are currently two well-developed and documented tools available for creating your own Arch Linux-based live media: Archiso and larch. Please refer to the respective article for detailed information, this article is meant only as an overview.

Decide what you want the CD to do, what programs and what DE/WM you want to run. Read Beginners' Guide and Start X at Boot articles, then find a live CD creation tool that works for you (see next section). They are all available in the AUR.


Archiso is the official tool used to build Arch Linux release images. It strongly follows the KISS principle and is easy to use. If you want to build your own updated Arch Linux live installation images, this tool will get you to your goal quickly, as the Git repository contains the exact profile used to generate these installation images. However, it can also be used for completely customizing your live medium. It relies on an Arch Linux host system.



larch aims to provide a more desktop-based approach, and it does not require an Arch Linux host system.



It is a very simple live CD creator. It uses just a Makefile to build live CD images, and uses pacman to install base and additional packages to the live CD. You can choose your packages and build them into a live CD. Moreover, it uses GRUB to boot the live CD in order to add more flexibility. This means that it is much easier to make a live USB stick without formating it. For that, you just need to install GRUB into your USB pen drive and copy the files in the ISO to your root directory in the pen drive. It relies on an Arch Linux host system and pacman.



It supports aufs among other things, making it an option for live CDs.


Note: As of version 2.6.39, the vanilla kernel no longer supports aufs, making a custom kernel a necessity.

See Also