Install from SSH

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Template:Temporary i18n


This article is intended to show users how to install Arch remotely via an SSH connection. Consider this approach over the standard one in scenarios such the following:

Setting up Arch on...

  • HTPC without a proper monitor (i.e. an SDTV).
  • A PC located in another city, state, country (friend's house, parent's house, etc.)
  • A PC that you would rather setup remotely, for example from the comfort of one's own workstation with copy/paste abilities from the Arch Wiki.
Note: The first two steps require physical access to the machine. Obviously, if physically located elsewhere, this will need to be coordinated with another person!

Boot from Media

Boot into a live Arch environment via the live CD/USB image and log in as root.

Setup the Live Environment to use SSH

Note: The following commands should be executed as the root user. The # prompt has intentionally been omitted from the code lines to allow for a trivial copy/paste into the target box.

One should be presented with the root prompt [root@archiso ~]# at this point.

Firstly, setup the network on the target machine:

 aif -p partial-configure-network

It will present you with a list of known interface; type in the interface you would like to use (eg: eth0 for wired Ethernet interface)

Secondly, sync the live environment to a mirror, install the openssh package, and start it:

Note: This is not required. The install media already comes with openssh installed
pacman -Syy openssh
rc.d start sshd
Note: Depending on the age of the install media, pacman may complain that it should be upgraded first. Since the goal is to simply install the openssh package, it s recommended to deny this request and simply install the single package.

Finally, setup a root password which is needed for an ssh connection; the default arch password for root is empty.


Connect to the Target PC via SSH

Connect to the target machine via the following command:

$ ssh

From here one is presented with live environment's the welcome message and is able to administer the target machine as-if sitting at the physical keyboard.

ssh root@
root@'s password: 
Last login: Thu Dec 23 08:33:02 2010 from
* To begin installation, run /arch/setup                     *
* You can find documentation at                              *
*  /usr/share/aif/docs/official_installation_guide_en        *
*                                                            *
* i18n: Use the 'km' utility to change your keyboard layout  *
*       and console font.                                    *
*                                                            *
* If you are looking to install Arch on something more       *
* exotic, such as your kerosene-powered cheese grater,       *
* please consult                  *
*                                                            *
[root@archiso ~]#


  • If the target machine is behind a firewall/router, the default ssh port of 22 will obviously need to be forward to the target machine's LAN IP address. The use of port forwarding is not covered in this guide.
  • One can edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config on the live environment prior to starting the daemon for example to run on a non-standard port if desired.

Next Steps

The sky is the limit. If the intent is to simply install Arch from the live media, run /arch/setup. If the intent is to edit an existing Linux install that got broken, follow the Install from Existing Linux wiki article.

Want grub2 or the ability to use GPT hardrives?

  • Manually partition the target HDD/SDD using the gdisk utility installed via pacman -S gdisk before starting the arch installer and when presented with the option to install a boot loader in the installation framework, simply answer no and drop back to the live environment's root prompt.
  • Installation of grub2 is trivial at this point. Simply chroot into the fresh arch install (default pre-mounted if coming out of the installer) then install and setup grub2:
cd /mnt
rm console ; mknod -m 600 console c 5 1
rm null ; mknod -m 666 null c 1 3
rm zero ; mknod -m 666 zero c 1 5
mount -t proc proc /mnt/proc
mount -t sysfs sys /mnt/sys
mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
chroot /mnt /bin/bash

Now inside the fresh Arch chroot:

pacman -S grub2
grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab

Edit /etc/default/grub to your liking. Install grub and generate a grub.cfg

grub-install /dev/sdX --no-floppy
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
Note: The above assumes that if the user intends to boot from a GPT disk, the user has fully read and understood the aforementioned wiki articles and has made a 1M partition ef02 for grub2.

When ready to reboot into the new Arch install, exit the chroot and unmount the partitions prior to a reboot of the system.

umount /mnt/boot   # if mounted this or any other separate partitions
umount /mnt/{proc,sys,dev}
umount /mnt