General recommendations

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Revision as of 21:47, 20 December 2009 by Pwd (talk | contribs) (NumLock activation at boot: uh, match the style)
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This page is currently under construction. The final result will be a merged Post Installation Tips and Beginners' Guide Appendix. See Talk:Post Installation Tips#Duplication of effort (merge?) for details.

The intended style is that of an "index" of popular or otherwise frequently-sought information. This page should contain no real "content", but rather short introductions/descriptions of a problem/application followed by a suitable wiki link for interested parties.

That said, please keep headings alphabetical.

Recommended reading

This section is probably unnecessary...

ABS, AUR, FHS, makepkg, pacman, Xorg, CUPS


This section contains frequently-sought "eye candy" tweaks for an aesthetically pleasing Arch experience. For more, please see Category:Eye candy (English).

Colored output

Even though a number of applications have built-in color capabilities, installing a general-purpose, colorizing wrapper such as Template:Package AUR is another route. To install Template:Codeline using yaourt or another AUR helper:

$ yaourt -S cope

Or for the frequently updated git version:

$ yaourt -S cope-git

Console prompt

The console prompt (PS1) can be customized to a great extent. See the What's your PS1? forum thread for ideas, also see Color Bash Prompt if using Bash or Zsh#Prompts if using Zsh.

Emacs shell

Emacs is known for featuring options beyond the duties of regular text editing, one of these being a full shell replacement. Consult Emacs#Colored output issues for a fix regarding garbled characters that may result from enabling colored output.


Beyond aesthetics, Template:Codeline color output is immensely useful for learning Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline's functionality.

To add it, write the following entry to Template:Filename:

export GREP_COLOR="1;33"
alias grep='grep --color=auto'

The variable GREP_COLOR is used to specify the output color, in this example a light yellow color.

Although the man page of Template:Codeline states that Template:Codeline is deprecated and that Template:Codeline is preferable, this variable will not work (as of grep version 2.5.4) so continue to use Template:Codeline for now.


File Template:Filename should already have the following entry copied from Template:Filename:

alias ls='ls --color=auto'

The next step will further enhance the colored Template:Codeline output; for example, broken (orphan) symlinks will show in red, etc. Add the following to Template:Filename and relogin, or source the file:

eval `dircolors -b`
Note: These are not single quotes/apostrophes; these are backquotes/backticks/grave accents.

Man pages

Man pages (or manual pages) are one of the most useful resources available to GNU/Linux users. To aid readability, the pager can be configured to render colored text; see Man Page#Colored man pages.


A plethora of information on the subject of fonts can be found in the Fonts and Font Configuration articles.

Console fonts

If spending a significant amount of time working from the virtual console (i.e. outside an X server), users may wish to change the console font to improve readability; see Fonts#Console fonts.

LCD filtered fonts

Font rendering software can be patched to provide smoother fonts on LCD monitors by taking advantage of sub-pixel elements; see Font Configuration#LCD filter patched packages.


This section contains information pertaining to the boot process. An overview of the Arch boot process can be found at Arch Boot Process. For more, please see Category:Boot process (English).

Backgrounding daemons

Daemons are programs that run in the background, and are typically started during boot. In order to speed up the boot process, certain daemons can be backgrounded, allowing the boot process to continue whilst the daemon loads. See Daemon for a complete explanation.

Hardware auto-recognition

hwdetect informs of what modules are needed for a particular device.

# pacman -S hwdetect

Template:Package AUR is an alternative available in the AUR. To install it with yaourt or another AUR helper:

$ yaourt -S lshwd

LILO speed improvement

Besides GRUB, LILO is the most widely known Linux boot loader, legacy or not. Follow instructions shown in LILO#Sample setup for making the most out of its features.

NumLock activation at boot

NumLock is a toggle key found in most keyboards. For activating NumLock's number key-assignment during startup, see Activating Numlock on Bootup.

Retaining boot messages

After the boot process, the screen is cleared and the login prompt appears, leaving users unable to read init output and error messages. This default behavior may be modified in a few ways:

Using flow control:

For a more permanent change, add one of the following to the bottom of Template:Filename:

  • Wait for a keypress before clearing the screen:
 read -n1
  • Wait for at most 5 seconds or until a keypress occurs:
 read -t5 -n1


  • Remove the first 3 characters in Template:Filename, which form a "clear screen" escape code. This will also stop the screen from being cleared after logging out from regular sessions in addition to not clearing the screen after booting.
  • Run Template:Codeline from the shell prompt to display all the boot messages generated by the kernel.
  • Comment out the agetty instance that runs on Template:Codeline in Template:Filename:
#c1:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 38400 vc/1 linux

Start X at boot

If utilizing an X server to provide a graphical user interface, users may wish to start this server during the boot process rather than starting it manually after login. See Display Manager if desiring a graphical login or Start X at boot for methods that do not involve a display manager.

Console improvements


Bash completion

Compressed files

Browsing compressed files

Extracting compressed files

Control echo

History search

Mouse support


Adjusting mouse scroll wheel (depreciated?)

Configure all mouse buttons

Keyboard layouts

Laptop touchpads



CPU frequency scaling


Laptop mode


Disable IPv6

DNS speed improvement

Package management


Arch Build System

Arch User Repository

AUR helpers


System services (and maintenance?)


Local mail delivery

su and sudo