Difference between revisions of "USB flash installation media"

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[[es:USB Installation Media]]
 
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[[ro:Instalare prin USB]]
 
[[ru:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[ru:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[tr:USB_ile_kurulum]]
 
[[tr:USB_ile_kurulum]]
 
[[zh-CN:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[zh-CN:USB Installation Media]]
This page discusses how to put Arch installation media onto a USB key (or "flash drive"). The result will be a LiveCD-like system that will discard all changes when it is shut down. If you would like to install and run Arch Linux on a USB key (ie. with persistent settings), see [[Installing Arch Linux on a USB key]].
+
{{Article summary start}}
 +
{{Article summary text|Mutiplatform instructions on creating a bootable USB stick which can be used for installing Arch Linux, system maintenance or for recovery purposes.}}
 +
{{Article summary heading|Related}}
 +
{{Article summary wiki|CD Burning}}
 +
{{Article summary end}}
 +
 
 +
This page discusses various methods on how to write an Arch Linux release to a USB drive (also referred to as ''"flash drive", "USB stick", "USB key"'', etc). The result will be a LiveCD-like system (''"LiveUSB"'', if you will) that, because of the nature of [[Wikipedia:SquashFS|SquashFS]], will discard all changes once the computer shuts down.
 +
 
 +
If you would like to run a full install of Arch Linux from a USB drive (i.e. with persistent settings), see [[Installing Arch Linux on a USB key]].
 +
 
 +
{{Note|For [[UEFI]] boot, create a bootable USB stick by following [[UEFI#Create_UEFI_bootable_USB_from_ISO|these]] instructions.}}
  
 
== On GNU/Linux ==
 
== On GNU/Linux ==
  
 
=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
 
=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
 
First, make sure that the USB device is '''unmounted''' and then issue the following command:
 
  
 
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/sdx}}.}}
 
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/sdx}}.}}
 +
{{Note|This method does not work with UEFI boot.}}
  
{{Warning|Make sure to use {{ic|/dev/sdx}} and NOT {{ic|/dev/sdx1}}. '''This is a very common error!'''}}
+
{{Note|Check with {{ic|lsblk}} that the USB device is '''not''' mounted, and use {{ic|/dev/sdx}} instead of {{ic|/dev/sdx1}}. '''These are very common mistakes!'''}}
 
+
# dd if=archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx
+
  
{{Tip|You can also add {{ic|1=bs=4M}} to speed up the process. [http://sprunge.us/SGIY (*)]}}
+
# dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx
  
 
==== How to restore the USB drive ====
 
==== How to restore the USB drive ====
  
Because the ISO image is a hybrid which can either be burned to a disc or directly written to a USB drive, it doesn't include a standard partition table.  
+
Because the ISO image is a hybrid which can either be burned to a disc or directly written to a USB drive, it doesn't include a standard partition table.
  
 
After you install Arch Linux and you're done with the USB drive, you should zero out its first 512 bytes ''(meaning the boot code from the MBR and the non-standard partition table)'' if you want to restore it to full capacity:
 
After you install Arch Linux and you're done with the USB drive, you should zero out its first 512 bytes ''(meaning the boot code from the MBR and the non-standard partition table)'' if you want to restore it to full capacity:
Line 31: Line 40:
 
  # dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx
 
  # dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx
  
Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using tools such as GParted, cfdisk, etc.
+
Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using {{Pkg|gparted}}, or from a terminal:
  
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
+
* For EXT2/3/4 (adjust accordingly), it would be:
  
This method is slightly more complicated than writing the image directly with {{ic|dd}}, but it does keep the drive usable for data storage. Before you begin, make sure that your USB device is formatted as either FAT32, EXT2/3/4 or BTRFS. For interoperability with other operating systems, you probably want to use FAT32. Also, make sure you have the ''syslinux'' package (version 4.04 or newer) installed.
+
: {{bc|<nowiki>
 +
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
 +
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdx1
 +
# e2label /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
 +
 
 +
* For FAT32, install the {{Pkg|dosfstools}} package and run:
 +
 
 +
: {{bc|<nowiki>
 +
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
 +
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdx1
 +
# dosfslabel /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
 +
 
 +
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
  
'''1.''' Copy the "arch" folder from the ISO to the USB drive. For example:
+
This method is slightly more complicated than writing the image directly with {{ic|dd}}, but it does keep the drive usable for data storage. Before you begin, make sure that your USB device is formatted as either FAT32, EXT2/3/4 or Btrfs. For [[UEFI]] boot and/or interoperability with other operating systems you should use FAT32. Also, make sure that you have the ''syslinux'' package (version 4.04 or newer) installed.
  
$ sudo su -
+
'''1.''' Extract the {{ic|arch}} folder from the ISO to the USB drive. For UEFI motherboards follow [[UEFI#Create_UEFI_bootable_USB_from_ISO|these]] instructions.
# mkdir /mnt/usb
+
# mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/usb
+
# mkdir /mnt/iso
+
# mount -o loop /media/Storage/Torrents/archlinux-*.iso /mnt/iso
+
# cp -r /mnt/iso/arch /mnt/usb
+
  
'''2.''' Install the Syslinux bootloader to the USB drive, along with the boot code installed to the MBR, and make the first partition active:
+
'''2.''' Install the Syslinux bootloader:
  
{{Warning|Be very careful where you point {{ic|dd}} and please use the drive '''itself''' in the following commands, '''not''' the first partition. This is a very common error.}}
+
{{Warning|Be very careful where you point {{ic|dd}} and please use the drive '''itself''' in the following commands, '''not''' the first partition. This is a very common mistake.}}
  
 
{{Note|On some distributions the {{ic|mbr.bin}} file may be available as {{ic|/usr/'''share'''/syslinux/mbr.bin}}.}}
 
{{Note|On some distributions the {{ic|mbr.bin}} file may be available as {{ic|/usr/'''share'''/syslinux/mbr.bin}}.}}
  
  # extlinux --install /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux
+
  $ cd /media/''somefolder''/arch/boot/syslinux   #The USB drive's mount point. Do not skip this step.
 +
# extlinux --install .                      #Type it exactly as you see it, including the dot.
 
  # dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdx
 
  # dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdx
 
  # parted /dev/sdx toggle 1 boot
 
  # parted /dev/sdx toggle 1 boot
  
'''3.''' Adjust the boot configuration files:
+
'''3.''' Adjust the configuration files:
  
{{Note|While you ''could'' label your USB drive "{{ic|ARCH_201207}}", perhaps an even better approach is to use the [[UUID]] (this way you can re-label it whatever you want later without having to worry about it, or you could just leave it blank). Failing to do either '''will''' get you the famous '''30 seconds error'''.}}
+
{{Note|While you ''could'' label the drive "{{ic|ARCH_2012XX}}" (with the appropriate release month), perhaps an even better approach is to use the [[UUID]] ''(this way you can re-label it whatever you want later without having to worry about it, or you could just leave it blank)''. Failing to do either '''will''' get you the famous '''30 seconds error'''.}}
  
Here's how you can replace the {{ic|1=archisolabel=ARCH_201207}} part with your equivalent of {{ic|1=archiso'''device'''=/dev/disk/by-uuid/47FA-4071}} for both config files at the same time, using a single command:
+
Here's how you can replace the {{ic|1=archisolabel=ARCH_2012XX}} part with your equivalent of {{ic|1=archiso'''device'''=/dev/disk/by-uuid/47FA-4071}} for both config files at the same time, using a single command:
  
# sed -i "s|label=ARCH_201207|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(blkid -s UUID -o value /dev/sdx1)|" /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/archiso_sys{32,64}.cfg
+
{{Note|Adjust {{ic|/dev/sdx1}} before running it, else it will become blank (since drive {{ic|sdx}} doesn't exist).}}
  
Obviously substitute {{ic|/dev/sdx1}}. And in case you skipped {{ic|sudo su -}} from the first step, run it with root privileges so that {{ic|blkid}} can return the value.
+
$ sed -i "s|label=ARCH_2012.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(lsblk -no UUID /dev/sdx1)|" archiso_sys{32,64}.cfg
  
'''4.''' As a workaround for '''FAT32''' filesystems (unnecessary for EXT4), until Syslinux 4.06[http://www.syslinux.org/archives/2012-June/017752.html (*)] is released, the {{ic|APPEND}} line should also be replaced:
+
If the ''syslinux'' package on your distribution is older than version 4.06, as a workaround for FAT32 filesystems (unnecessary for EXT4), the {{ic|APPEND}} line from {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} should also be replaced:
  
  # sed -i "s|\.\./\.\./|/arch|" /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg
+
  $ sed -i "s|../../|/arch|" syslinux.cfg
  
 
== On Mac OS X ==
 
== On Mac OS X ==
Line 95: Line 112:
 
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
 
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
  
Download win32 disk imager from http://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer. Run the program. Select the arch image-file and usb stick. The Win32 Disk Imager's file browser assumes image files end with .img, so if the image-file you have selected ends with .iso, you will have to type its name in manually; this difference in suffixes is simply cosmetic however, the image will be written fine regardless. Click on the write button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.
+
Download the program from http://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer and run it. Select the arch image-file and usb stick. The Win32 Disk Imager's file browser assumes image files end with .img, so if the image-file you have selected ends with .iso, you will have to type its name in manually; this difference in suffixes is simply cosmetic however, the image will be written fine regardless. Click on the write button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.
  
 
=== Linux Live USB Creator ===
 
=== Linux Live USB Creator ===
 +
 +
{{warning|This method is broken on the dual architecture iso}}
  
 
[http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ Linux Live USB Creator] can be used to create a bootable USB key for Arch either using a manually downloaded iso or automatically downloading the iso itself. It also supports automatic installation of VirtualBox on the USB key which can be used to boot Arch inside Windows. Visit [http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ home page] for more info.
 
[http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ Linux Live USB Creator] can be used to create a bootable USB key for Arch either using a manually downloaded iso or automatically downloading the iso itself. It also supports automatic installation of VirtualBox on the USB key which can be used to boot Arch inside Windows. Visit [http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ home page] for more info.
  
 
=== The Universal USB Installer ===
 
=== The Universal USB Installer ===
 +
 
[http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ Universal USB Installer] is a Live Linux USB Creator that allows you to choose from a selection of Linux Distributions to put on your USB Flash Drive.
 
[http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ Universal USB Installer] is a Live Linux USB Creator that allows you to choose from a selection of Linux Distributions to put on your USB Flash Drive.
 +
 +
=== UNetbootin ===
 +
 +
{{Warning|DO NOT USE UNETBOOTIN. This program writes over the default {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} and breaks the loading process. Please use a different program or method.}}
  
 
=== The Flashnul Way ===
 
=== The Flashnul Way ===
 +
 
[http://shounen.ru/soft/flashnul/ flashnul] is an utility to verify the functionality and maintenance of Flash-Memory (USB-Flash, IDE-Flash, SecureDigital, MMC, MemoryStick, SmartMedia, XD, CompactFlash etc).
 
[http://shounen.ru/soft/flashnul/ flashnul] is an utility to verify the functionality and maintenance of Flash-Memory (USB-Flash, IDE-Flash, SecureDigital, MMC, MemoryStick, SmartMedia, XD, CompactFlash etc).
  
From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with -p, and determine which device index is your USB drive. For example, my output looks like this:
+
From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with -p, and determine which device index is your USB drive. For example, my output looks like this:
  
 
  C:\>flashnul -p
 
  C:\>flashnul -p
Line 119: Line 144:
 
In my case, it is drive E:
 
In my case, it is drive E:
  
When you have determined which device is the correct one, you can write the image to your drive, by invoking flashnul with the device index, -L, and the path to your image. In my case, it would be
+
When you have determined which device is the correct one, you can write the image to your drive, by invoking flashnul with the device index, -L, and the path to your image. In my case, it would be
  
 
  C:\>flashnul E: -L path\to\arch.iso
 
  C:\>flashnul E: -L path\to\arch.iso
  
As long as you are really sure you want to write the data, type yes, then wait a bit for it to write. If you get an access denied error, close any Explorer windows you have open.
+
As long as you are really sure you want to write the data, type yes, then wait a bit for it to write. If you get an access denied error, close any Explorer windows you have open.
  
 
If under Vista or Win7, you should open the console as administrator, or else flashnul will fail to open the stick as a block device and will only be able to write via the drive handle windows provides
 
If under Vista or Win7, you should open the console as administrator, or else flashnul will fail to open the stick as a block device and will only be able to write via the drive handle windows provides
Line 131: Line 156:
 
=== The Cygwin Way ===
 
=== The Cygwin Way ===
  
Make sure your [http://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin] installation contains the dd package.
+
Make sure your [http://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin] installation contains the dd package. Or if you do not want to install Cygwin, you can simply download dd for windows from http://www.chrysocome.net/dd.
Or if you do not want to install Cygwin, you can simply download dd for windows from http://www.chrysocome.net/dd.
+
  
 
Place your image file in your home directory, in my case it is:
 
Place your image file in your home directory, in my case it is:
Line 144: Line 168:
 
where image.iso is the path to the iso-image file within the cygwin directory and \\.\[x]: is your USB device where x is the windows designated letter, in my case "\\.\d:".
 
where image.iso is the path to the iso-image file within the cygwin directory and \\.\[x]: is your USB device where x is the windows designated letter, in my case "\\.\d:".
  
On cygwin 6.0 find out the correct partition with  
+
On cygwin 6.0 find out the correct partition with
  
 
  cat /proc/partitions
 
  cat /proc/partitions
Line 153: Line 177:
  
 
  dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb
 
  dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb
 +
 +
=== dd for Windows ===
 +
 +
A GPL licensed dd version for Windows is available at http://www.chrysocome.net/dd. The advantage of this over Cygwin is smaller download. Use it as shown in instructions for Cygwin above.
  
 
=== Boot the entire ISO from RAM ===
 
=== Boot the entire ISO from RAM ===
Line 164: Line 192:
 
  X:\Boot\Settings
 
  X:\Boot\Settings
  
'''2.''' Copy the ISO you'd like to boot to the "ISOs" folder (e.g. ''archlinux-2012.07.15-netinstall-dual.iso''), and from the '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ latest release]''' (e.g. ''syslinux-4.05.zip''), copy:
+
'''2.''' Copy the ISO you'd like to boot to the "ISOs" folder (e.g. ''archlinux-2012.08.04-dual.iso''), and extract from the '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ latest release]''' (e.g. ''syslinux-4.05.zip''):
  
:{{ic|./win32/syslinux.exe}} to the desktop, or wherever you want.
+
* {{ic|./win32/syslinux.exe}} to the desktop, or wherever you want.
  
:{{ic|./memdisk/memdisk}} to the Settings folder. And while you're in this folder, create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file with the following contents:
+
* {{ic|./memdisk/memdisk}} to the "Settings" folder.
  
DEFAULT arch_iso
+
And while you're in this folder, create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file:
+
LABEL arch_iso
+
        MENU LABEL Arch Setup
+
        LINUX memdisk
+
        INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2012.07.15-netinstall-dual.iso
+
        APPEND iso
+
  
{{Tip|If you want to add more distributions ''(Debian and Parted Magic were tested)'' you can edit this file. Refer to the [[Syslinux]] wiki.}}
+
{{hc|X:\Boot\Settings\syslinux.cfg|2=
 +
DEFAULT arch_iso
  
'''3.''' Finally, create a *.bat (or *.cmd) file where {{ic|syslinux.exe}} is located and run it:
+
LABEL arch_iso
@echo off
+
        MENU LABEL Arch Setup
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:
+
        LINUX memdisk
 +
        INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2012.11.01-dual.iso
 +
        APPEND iso}}
 +
 
 +
{{Tip|If you want to add more distributions ''(Debian and Parted Magic were tested)'' you can edit this file. Maybe even give it a nice menu and a background image, instead of defaulting to the Arch Linux ISO. Refer to the [[Syslinux]] wiki.}}
 +
 
 +
'''3.''' Finally, create a {{ic|*.bat}} file where {{ic|syslinux.exe}} is located and run it ("Run as administrator" if you're on Vista or Windows 7):
 +
 
 +
{{hc|C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\install.bat|
 +
@echo off
 +
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:}}
  
 
Done.
 
Done.
  
{{Note|If you get the famous '''30 seconds error''' trying to boot the i686 version, press the {{Keypress|Tab}} key when the menu shows up and add {{ic|vmalloc&#61;448M}} at the end, or, add it to the {{ic|APPEND}} line from {{ic|X:\Boot\Settings\syslinux.cfg}}. This only applies to the MEMDISK method. For reference: ''If your image is bigger than 128MiB and you have a 32-bit OS, then you have to increase the maximum memory usage of vmalloc''. [http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK#-_memdiskfind_in_combination_with_phram_and_mtdblock (*)]}}
+
{{Note|If you get the famous '''30 seconds error''' trying to boot the i686 version, press the {{Keypress|Tab}} key over the {{ic|Boot Arch Linux (i686)}} entry and add {{ic|vmalloc&#61;448M}} at the end. This only applies to the MEMDISK method. For reference: ''If your image is bigger than 128MiB and you have a 32-bit OS, then you have to increase the maximum memory usage of vmalloc''. [http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK#-_memdiskfind_in_combination_with_phram_and_mtdblock (*)]}}
 +
 
 +
== See Also ==
 +
 
 +
* [http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/liveusb.xml Gentoo liveusb document]

Revision as of 21:44, 10 December 2012

Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end

This page discusses various methods on how to write an Arch Linux release to a USB drive (also referred to as "flash drive", "USB stick", "USB key", etc). The result will be a LiveCD-like system ("LiveUSB", if you will) that, because of the nature of SquashFS, will discard all changes once the computer shuts down.

If you would like to run a full install of Arch Linux from a USB drive (i.e. with persistent settings), see Installing Arch Linux on a USB key.

Note: For UEFI boot, create a bootable USB stick by following these instructions.

On GNU/Linux

Overwrite the USB drive

Warning: This will irrevocably destroy all data on /dev/sdx.
Note: This method does not work with UEFI boot.
Note: Check with lsblk that the USB device is not mounted, and use /dev/sdx instead of /dev/sdx1. These are very common mistakes!
# dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx

How to restore the USB drive

Because the ISO image is a hybrid which can either be burned to a disc or directly written to a USB drive, it doesn't include a standard partition table.

After you install Arch Linux and you're done with the USB drive, you should zero out its first 512 bytes (meaning the boot code from the MBR and the non-standard partition table) if you want to restore it to full capacity:

# dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx

Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using gparted, or from a terminal:

  • For EXT2/3/4 (adjust accordingly), it would be:
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdx1
# e2label /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK
  • For FAT32, install the dosfstools package and run:
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdx1
# dosfslabel /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK

Without overwriting the USB drive

This method is slightly more complicated than writing the image directly with dd, but it does keep the drive usable for data storage. Before you begin, make sure that your USB device is formatted as either FAT32, EXT2/3/4 or Btrfs. For UEFI boot and/or interoperability with other operating systems you should use FAT32. Also, make sure that you have the syslinux package (version 4.04 or newer) installed.

1. Extract the arch folder from the ISO to the USB drive. For UEFI motherboards follow these instructions.

2. Install the Syslinux bootloader:

Warning: Be very careful where you point dd and please use the drive itself in the following commands, not the first partition. This is a very common mistake.
Note: On some distributions the mbr.bin file may be available as /usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin.
$ cd /media/somefolder/arch/boot/syslinux    #The USB drive's mount point. Do not skip this step.
# extlinux --install .                       #Type it exactly as you see it, including the dot.
# dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdx
# parted /dev/sdx toggle 1 boot

3. Adjust the configuration files:

Note: While you could label the drive "ARCH_2012XX" (with the appropriate release month), perhaps an even better approach is to use the UUID (this way you can re-label it whatever you want later without having to worry about it, or you could just leave it blank). Failing to do either will get you the famous 30 seconds error.

Here's how you can replace the archisolabel=ARCH_2012XX part with your equivalent of archisodevice=/dev/disk/by-uuid/47FA-4071 for both config files at the same time, using a single command:

Note: Adjust /dev/sdx1 before running it, else it will become blank (since drive sdx doesn't exist).
$ sed -i "s|label=ARCH_2012.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(lsblk -no UUID /dev/sdx1)|" archiso_sys{32,64}.cfg

If the syslinux package on your distribution is older than version 4.06, as a workaround for FAT32 filesystems (unnecessary for EXT4), the APPEND line from syslinux.cfg should also be replaced:

$ sed -i "s|../../|/arch|" syslinux.cfg

On Mac OS X

To be able to use dd on your usb device on a Mac you have to do some special maneuvers. First of all insert your usb device, OS X will automount it, and run

 diskutil list

in Terminal.app. Figure out what your usb device is called - mine was called /dev/disk1. (Just use the `mount` command or `sudo dmesg | tail`.) Now you run

 diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1

to unmount the partitions on the device (i.e., /dev/disk1s1) while keeping the device proper (i.e., /dev/disk1). Now we can continue in accordance with the Linux instructions above (but use bs=8192 if you are using the OS X dd, the number comes from 1024*8).

 dd if=image.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192
 20480+0 records in
 20480+0 records out
 167772160 bytes transferred in 220.016918 secs (762542 bytes/sec)

it is probably a good idea to eject your drive before physical removal at this point.

 diskutil eject /dev/disk1

On Windows

Image Writer for Windows

Download the program from http://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer and run it. Select the arch image-file and usb stick. The Win32 Disk Imager's file browser assumes image files end with .img, so if the image-file you have selected ends with .iso, you will have to type its name in manually; this difference in suffixes is simply cosmetic however, the image will be written fine regardless. Click on the write button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.

Linux Live USB Creator

Warning: This method is broken on the dual architecture iso

Linux Live USB Creator can be used to create a bootable USB key for Arch either using a manually downloaded iso or automatically downloading the iso itself. It also supports automatic installation of VirtualBox on the USB key which can be used to boot Arch inside Windows. Visit home page for more info.

The Universal USB Installer

Universal USB Installer is a Live Linux USB Creator that allows you to choose from a selection of Linux Distributions to put on your USB Flash Drive.

UNetbootin

Warning: DO NOT USE UNETBOOTIN. This program writes over the default syslinux.cfg and breaks the loading process. Please use a different program or method.

The Flashnul Way

flashnul is an utility to verify the functionality and maintenance of Flash-Memory (USB-Flash, IDE-Flash, SecureDigital, MMC, MemoryStick, SmartMedia, XD, CompactFlash etc).

From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with -p, and determine which device index is your USB drive. For example, my output looks like this:

C:\>flashnul -p

Avaible physical drives:
Avaible logical disks:
C:\
D:\
E:\

In my case, it is drive E:

When you have determined which device is the correct one, you can write the image to your drive, by invoking flashnul with the device index, -L, and the path to your image. In my case, it would be

C:\>flashnul E: -L path\to\arch.iso

As long as you are really sure you want to write the data, type yes, then wait a bit for it to write. If you get an access denied error, close any Explorer windows you have open.

If under Vista or Win7, you should open the console as administrator, or else flashnul will fail to open the stick as a block device and will only be able to write via the drive handle windows provides

Note: Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64. -bgalakazam

The Cygwin Way

Make sure your Cygwin installation contains the dd package. Or if you do not want to install Cygwin, you can simply download dd for windows from http://www.chrysocome.net/dd.

Place your image file in your home directory, in my case it is:

C:\cygwin\home\John\

Run cygwin as administrator (required for cygwin to access hardware). To write to your USB drive use the following command:

dd if=image.iso of=\\.\[x]:

where image.iso is the path to the iso-image file within the cygwin directory and \\.\[x]: is your USB device where x is the windows designated letter, in my case "\\.\d:".

On cygwin 6.0 find out the correct partition with

cat /proc/partitions

and write the ISO image with the information from the output. Example:

Warning: This will irrevocably delete all files on your USB stick, so make sure you do not have any important files on the stick before doing this.
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb

dd for Windows

A GPL licensed dd version for Windows is available at http://www.chrysocome.net/dd. The advantage of this over Cygwin is smaller download. Use it as shown in instructions for Cygwin above.

Boot the entire ISO from RAM

This method uses Syslinux and MEMDISK to load the entire ISO image in RAM, so make sure you have enough RAM to hold it. Once it's done loading and you see the graphical menu you can simply remove the USB stick and maybe even use it on a different machine to start the process all over again. It also allows booting and installing Arch from (and to) the same USB stick.

1. Format the USB stick as FAT32 and create the following folders:

X:\Boot
X:\Boot\ISOs
X:\Boot\Settings

2. Copy the ISO you'd like to boot to the "ISOs" folder (e.g. archlinux-2012.08.04-dual.iso), and extract from the latest release (e.g. syslinux-4.05.zip):

  • ./win32/syslinux.exe to the desktop, or wherever you want.
  • ./memdisk/memdisk to the "Settings" folder.

And while you're in this folder, create a syslinux.cfg file:

X:\Boot\Settings\syslinux.cfg
DEFAULT arch_iso

LABEL arch_iso
        MENU LABEL Arch Setup
        LINUX memdisk
        INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2012.11.01-dual.iso
        APPEND iso
Tip: If you want to add more distributions (Debian and Parted Magic were tested) you can edit this file. Maybe even give it a nice menu and a background image, instead of defaulting to the Arch Linux ISO. Refer to the Syslinux wiki.

3. Finally, create a *.bat file where syslinux.exe is located and run it ("Run as administrator" if you're on Vista or Windows 7):

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\install.bat
@echo off
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:

Done.

Note: If you get the famous 30 seconds error trying to boot the i686 version, press the Template:Keypress key over the Boot Arch Linux (i686) entry and add vmalloc=448M at the end. This only applies to the MEMDISK method. For reference: If your image is bigger than 128MiB and you have a 32-bit OS, then you have to increase the maximum memory usage of vmalloc. (*)

See Also