Installation guide

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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. See Beginners' Guide for a highly detailed, explanatory installation guide.

The community-maintained Arch wiki is an excellent resource and should be consulted for issues first. The IRC channel (irc://irc.freenode.net/#archlinux), and the forums are also available if the answer cannot be found elsewhere. Also, be sure to check out the man pages for any command you are unfamiliar with; this can usually be invoked with man command.

Download

Download the new Arch Linux ISO from the Arch Linux download page.

  • A single image is provided which can be booted into an i686 and x86_64 live system to install Arch Linux over the network. Media containing the [core] repository are no longer provided.
  • Install images are signed and it is highly recommend to verify their signature before use: this can be done by downloading the .sig file from the download page (or one of the mirrors listed there) to the same directory as the .iso file and then using pacman-key -v iso-file.sig.
  • The image can be burned to a CD, mounted as an ISO file, or directly written to a USB stick. It is intended for new installations only; an existing Arch Linux system can always be updated with pacman -Syu.

Installation

Keyboard layout

For many countries and keyboard types appropriate keymaps are available already, and a command like loadkeys uk might do what you want. More available keymap files can be found in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/ (you can omit the keymap path and file extension when using loadkeys).

Partition disks

See partitioning for details.

If you want to create any stacked block devices for LVM, disk encryption or RAID, do it now.

Format the partitions

See File Systems for details.

If you are using (U)EFI you will most probably need another partition to host the UEFI System partition. Read Create an UEFI System Partition in Linux.

Mount the partitions

We now must mount the root partition on /mnt. You should also create directories for and mount any other partitions (/mnt/boot, /mnt/home, ...) and mount your swap partition if you want them to be detected by genfstab.

Connect to the internet

A DHCP service is already enabled for all available devices. If you need to setup a static IP or use management tools such as Netctl, you should stop this service first: systemctl stop dhcpcd.service. For more information read configuring network.

Wireless

Run wifi-menu to set up your wireless network. For details, see Wireless Setup and Netctl.

Install the base system

Before installing, you may want to edit /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist such that your preferred mirror is first. This copy of the mirrorlist will be installed on your new system by pacstrap as well, so it's worth getting it right.

Using the pacstrap script we install the base system.

# pacstrap /mnt base

Other packages can be installed by appending their names to the above command (space seperated), including the bootloader if you want.

Configure the system

  • Generate an fstab with the following command (if you prefer to use UUIDs or labels, add the -U or -L option, respectively):
# genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
  • chroot into our newly installed system:
# arch-chroot /mnt
  • Write your hostname to /etc/hostname.
  • Symlink /etc/localtime to /usr/share/zoneinfo/Zone/SubZone. Replace Zone and Subzone to your liking. For example:
# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Athens /etc/localtime
  • Uncomment the selected locale in /etc/locale.gen and generate it with locale-gen.
  • Set locale preferences in /etc/locale.conf.
  • Add console keymap and font preferences in /etc/vconsole.conf
  • Configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf as needed (see mkinitcpio) and create an initial RAM disk with:
# mkinitcpio -p linux

Install and configure a bootloader

You can choose between GRUB or Syslinux.

Unmount and reboot

If you are still in the chroot environment type exit or press Ctrl+D in order to exit. Earlier we mounted the partitions under /mnt. In this step we will unmount them:

# umount /mnt/{boot,home,}

Now reboot and then login into the new system with the root account.

Post-installation

User management

Add any user accounts you require besides root, as described in User management. It is not good practice to use the root account for regular use, or expose it via SSH on a server. The root account should only be used for administrative tasks.

Package management

See pacman and FAQ#Package Management for answers regarding installing, updating, and managing packages.

Service management

Arch Linux uses systemd as init, which is a system and service manager for Linux. For maintaining your Arch Linux installation, it is a good idea to learn the basics about it. Interaction with systemd is done through the systemctl command. Read systemd#Basic systemctl usage for more information.

Sound

ALSA usually works out-of-the-box. It just needs to be unmuted. Install alsa-utils (which contains alsamixer) and follow these instructions.

ALSA is included with the kernel and it is recommended. If it does not work, OSS is a viable alternative. If you have advanced audio requirements, take a look at Sound system for an overview of various articles.

Video driver

The Linux kernel includes open-source video drivers and support for hardware accelerated framebuffers. However, userland support is required for OpenGL and 2D acceleration in X11.

If you don't know which video chipset is available on your machine, run:

$ lspci | grep VGA

For a complete list of open-source video drivers, search the package database:

$ pacman -Ss xf86-video | less

The vesa driver is a generic mode-setting driver that will work with almost every GPU, but will not provide any 2D or 3D acceleration. If a better driver cannot be found or fails to load, Xorg will fall back to vesa. To install it:

# pacman -S xf86-video-vesa

In order for video acceleration to work, and often to expose all the modes that the GPU can set, a proper video driver is required:

Brand Type Driver Multilib Package
(for 32-bit applications on Arch x86_64)
Documentation
AMD/ATI Open source xf86-video-ati lib32-ati-dri ATI
Proprietary catalyst-dkms lib32-catalyst-utils AMD Catalyst
Intel Open source xf86-video-intel lib32-intel-dri Intel Graphics
Nvidia Open source xf86-video-nouveau lib32-nouveau-dri Nouveau
xf86-video-nv (legacy driver)
Proprietary nvidia lib32-nvidia-utils NVIDIA
nvidia-304xx lib32-nvidia-304xx-utils

Display server

The X Window System (commonly X11, or X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. It is the de-facto standard for implementating graphical user interfaces. See the Xorg article for details.

Wayland is a new display server protocol and the Weston reference implementation is available. There is very little support for it from applications at this early stage of development.

Fonts

You may wish to install a set of TrueType fonts, as only unscalable bitmap fonts are included by default. DejaVu is a set of high quality, general-purpose fonts with good Unicode coverage:

# pacman -S ttf-dejavu

Refer to Font Configuration for how to configure font rendering and Fonts for font suggestions and installation instructions.

Appendix

For a list of applications that may be of interest, see List of Applications.

See General Recommendations for post-installation tutorials like setting up a touchpad or font rendering.