Difference between revisions of "USB flash installation media"

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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch]]
 
[[Category:Getting and installing Arch]]
 +
[[ar:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[bg:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[bg:USB Installation Media]]
 
[[de:Installation von einem USB-Stick]]
 
[[de:Installation von einem USB-Stick]]
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=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
 
=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
  
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/sdx}}.}}
+
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/sd'''x'''}}.}}
 
{{Note|This method does not work with UEFI boot.}}
 
{{Note|This method does not work with UEFI boot.}}
  
{{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!'''}}
+
{{Note|Check with {{ic|lsblk}} that the USB device is '''not''' mounted, and use {{ic|/dev/sd'''x'''}} instead of {{ic|/dev/sd'''x1'''}}. '''These are very common mistakes!'''}}
  
  # dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx
+
  # dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sd'''x'''
  
 
{{Note|Some older firmware does not understand the isohybrid hack where start of fake partition offset is 0. See https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/32189 for a fix involving isohybrid.pl.}}
 
{{Note|Some older firmware does not understand the isohybrid hack where start of fake partition offset is 0. See https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/32189 for a fix involving isohybrid.pl.}}
Line 41: Line 42:
 
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:
  
  # dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx
+
  # dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sd'''x'''
  
 
Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using {{Pkg|gparted}}, or from a terminal:
 
Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using {{Pkg|gparted}}, or from a terminal:
Line 47: Line 48:
 
* For EXT2/3/4 (adjust accordingly), it would be:
 
* For EXT2/3/4 (adjust accordingly), it would be:
  
: {{bc|<nowiki>
+
# cfdisk /dev/sd'''x'''
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
+
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sd'''x1'''
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdx1
+
# e2label /dev/sd'''x1''' USB_STICK
# e2label /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
+
  
 
* For FAT32, install the {{Pkg|dosfstools}} package and run:
 
* For FAT32, install the {{Pkg|dosfstools}} package and run:
  
: {{bc|<nowiki>
+
# cfdisk /dev/sd'''x'''
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
+
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sd'''x1'''
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdx1
+
# dosfslabel /dev/sd'''x1''' USB_STICK
# dosfslabel /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
+
  
 
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
 
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
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{{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.}}
 
{{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 {{ic|mbr.bin}} may be available as {{ic|/usr/'''share'''/syslinux/mbr.bin}}.}}
  
  $ cd /media/''somefolder''/arch/boot/syslinux   #Where ''somefolder'' is the USB drive's mount point. Do not skip this step.
+
  $ cd /''path/to/folder''/arch/boot/syslinux #Where ''path/to/folder'' is the USB drive's mount point
  # extlinux --install .                      #Type it exactly as you see it, including the dot.
+
  # 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/sd'''x'''
  # parted /dev/sdx toggle 1 boot
+
  # parted /dev/sd'''x''' toggle 1 boot
  
 
'''3.''' Adjust the configuration files:
 
'''3.''' Adjust the configuration files:
  
{{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'''.}}
+
{{Warning|Failure to label the drive "{{ic|ARCH_2013XX}}" (with the appropriate release month) or to use an [[UUID]] (to re-label it to whatever you like) '''will''' get you the infamous "30 seconds" error.}}
  
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:
+
Here's how you can replace the {{ic|1=archisolabel=ARCH_2013XX}} 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:
  
{{Note|Adjust {{ic|/dev/sdx1}} before running it, else it will become blank (since drive {{ic|sdx}} doesn't exist).}}
+
{{Note|Adjust {{ic|/dev/sd'''x1'''}} before running it, else it will become blank (since drive {{ic|sd'''x'''}} doesn't exist).}}
  
  $ sed -i "s|label=ARCH_2012.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(lsblk -no UUID /dev/sdx1)|" archiso_sys{32,64}.cfg
+
  $ sed -i "s|label=ARCH_.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(blkid -o value -s UUID /dev/sd'''x1''')|" 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 {{ic|APPEND}} line from {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} 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:
Line 90: Line 89:
 
  $ sed -i "s|../../|/arch|" syslinux.cfg
 
  $ sed -i "s|../../|/arch|" syslinux.cfg
  
== On Mac OS X ==
+
====Using UNetbootin====
 +
UNetbootin can be used on any Linux distribution or Windows to copy your iso to a USB device. However, Unetbootin overwrites syslinux.cfg, so it creates a USB device that does not boot properly. For this reason, '''Unetbootin is not recommended''' -- please use {{ic|dd}} or one of the other methods discussed in this topic.
 +
{{Warning|UNetbootin writes over the default {{ic|syslinux.cfg}}; this must be restored before the USB device will boot properly.}}
  
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
+
Edit {{ic|syslinux.cfg}}:
  
  diskutil list
+
{{hc|sysconfig.cfg|2=
 +
default menu.c32
 +
prompt 0
 +
menu title Archlinux Installer
 +
timeout 100
  
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
+
label unetbootindefault
 +
menu label Archlinux_x86_64
 +
kernel /arch/boot/x86_64/vmlinuz
 +
append initrd=/arch/boot/x86_64/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sd'''x1''' ../../
  
  diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
+
label ubnentry0
 +
menu label Archlinux_i686
 +
kernel /arch/boot/i686/vmlinuz
 +
append initrd=/arch/boot/i686/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sd'''x1''' ../../
 +
}}
  
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).
+
In {{ic|/dev/sd'''x1'''}} you must replace '''x''' with the first free letter after the last letter in use on the system where you are installing Arch Linux (e.g. if you have two hard drives, use {{ic|c}}.). You can make this change during the first phase of boot by pressing {{ic|Tab}} when the menu is shown.
  
  dd if=image.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192
+
== On Mac OS X ==
  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.
+
To be able to use {{ic|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 in {{ic|Terminal.app}} run:
  
  diskutil eject /dev/disk1
+
$ diskutil list
  
== On Windows ==
+
Figure out what your USB device is called with {{ic|mount}} or {{ic|<nowiki>sudo dmesg | tail</nowiki>}} (e.g. {{ic|/dev/disk1}}) and unmount the partitions on the device (i.e., /dev/disk1s1) while keeping the device proper (i.e., /dev/disk1):
  
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
+
$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
  
Download the program from http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ 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.
+
Now we can continue in accordance with the instructions above (but use {{ic|1=bs=8192}} if you are using the OS X {{ic|dd}}, the number comes from {{ic|1024*8}}).
  
=== The Universal USB Installer ===
+
{{hc|<nowiki>dd if=image.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192</nowiki>|
 +
20480+0 records in
 +
20480+0 records out
 +
167772160 bytes transferred in 220.016918 secs (762542 bytes/sec)
 +
}}
  
[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.
+
It is probably a good idea to eject your drive before physical removal at this point:
  
{{Note|The Universal USB Installer assigns the label PENDRIVE to the usb drive which causes boot failures because Arch cannot find the installation medium at the default path /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH20130201. It is therefore recommended to use Image Writer for Windows.}}
+
$ diskutil eject /dev/disk1
  
=== Linux Live USB Creator ===
+
== On Windows ==
  
{{warning|This method is broken on the dual architecture iso ('''Solution Provided''')}}
+
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
 
+
[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.
+
 
+
'''Problem:''' When using Linux Live USB(LiLi) Creator to write dual architecture iso to a USB, LiLi changes the label of the USB to ''MYLINUXLIVE'' by default but the file ''archiso-x86_64.conf'' tell linux to look for installation media named with the month and release date of the file, eg: ARCH_201302 Hence the famous 30 second error.
+
 
+
'''Solution:''' There are two solutions to this problem:
+
* In your USB open /loade/archiso-x86_64.conf and change the last line saying archisolabel=something to reflect the label of your USB eg: if your USB label is MYLINUXLIVE then this file should look like:
+
 
+
{| border="1"
+
|+ /loader/archiso-x86_64.conf:
+
|''title  Arch Linux archiso x86_64 UEFI USB
+
 
+
linux  /arch/boot/x86_64/vmlinuz
+
 
+
initrd  /arch/boot/x86_64/archiso.img
+
 
+
options archisobasedir=arch archisolabel=MYLINUXLIVE''
+
|}
+
  
* Or you can just change the label of your USB to the value of ''archisolabel'' shown in ''/loader/archiso-x86_64.conf''. Be sure to change the ''autorun.inf'' file with same label because if you do not do this the label will change back to LiLi default which is ''MYLINUXLIVE''.
+
Download the program from http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ and run it. Select the arch image-file and usb stick. The Win32 Disk Imager's file browser assumes image files end with {{ic|.img}}, so if the image file you have selected ends with {{ic|.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 {{ic|write}} button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.
  
=== UNetbootin ===
+
=== USBWriter for Windows ===
  
{{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.}}
+
Download the program from http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbwriter/ and run it. Select the arch image file, the target USB stick, and click on the {{ic|write}} button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.
  
 
=== The Flashnul Way ===
 
=== The Flashnul Way ===
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[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 {{ic|-p}}, and determine which device index is your USB drive, e.g.:
  
C:\>flashnul -p
+
{{hc|C:\>flashnul -p|
+
Avaible physical drives:
Avaible physical drives:
+
Avaible logical disks:
Avaible logical disks:
+
C:\
C:\
+
D:\
D:\
+
E:\
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, {{ic|-L}}, and the path to your image, e.g:
  
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.
Line 175: Line 168:
 
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
  
{{Note|Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64. -bgalakazam}}
+
{{Note|Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64.}}
  
 
=== The Cygwin Way ===
 
=== The Cygwin Way ===
  
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.
+
Make sure your [http://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin] installation contains the {{ic|dd}} package. Or if you do not want to install Cygwin, you can simply download {{ic|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:
  
 
  C:\cygwin\home\John\
 
  C:\cygwin\home\John\
Line 189: Line 182:
 
  dd if=image.iso of=\\.\[x]:
 
  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:".
+
where image.iso is the path to the iso image file within the cygwin directory and {{ic|\\.\['''x''']}}: is your USB device where '''x''' is the windows designated letter, e.g. {{ic|\\.\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 215: Line 208:
 
  X:\Boot\Settings
 
  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 '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ latest release]''' (e.g. ''syslinux-4.05.zip''):
+
'''2.''' Copy the ISO you'd like to boot to the {{ic|ISOs}} folder (e.g. {{ic|archlinux-2013.04.01-dual.iso}}), and extract from the '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ latest release]''' (e.g. {{ic|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.
+
* {{ic|./memdisk/memdisk}} to the {{ic|Settings}} folder.
  
 
And while you're in this folder, create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file:
 
And while you're in this folder, create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file:
Line 229: Line 222:
 
         MENU LABEL Arch Setup
 
         MENU LABEL Arch Setup
 
         LINUX memdisk
 
         LINUX memdisk
         INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2012.11.01-dual.iso
+
         INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2013.04.01-dual.iso
 
         APPEND iso}}
 
         APPEND iso}}
  
Line 241: Line 234:
  
 
Done.
 
Done.
 +
 +
=== Add to a MULTIBOOT Live USB ===
 +
 +
The Windows tool [http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/ YUMI MultiBoot Live USB Creator] can be used to quickly create a Live USB media with multiple Installers of many Linux distros. Once created, Installers can be added or removed without reformatting the USB drive.
  
 
== Troubleshooting ==
 
== Troubleshooting ==
{{Note| For the MEMDISK Method, 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 (*)]}}
+
{{Note|For the [[#Boot the entire ISO from RAM|MEMDISK Method]], 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. 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|In general, if you get the '''30 seconds error''' due to the /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_XXXXXX not mounting, try renaming your USB media to ARCH_XXXXXX, for example ARCH_201302, and try to boot the media once again. It should fix the error.}}
+
{{Note|If you get the "30 seconds" error due to the {{ic|/dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_XXXXXX}} not mounting, try renaming your USB media to {{ic|ARCH_XXXXXX}} (e.g. {{ic|ARCH_201302}}).}}
  
 
== See Also ==
 
== See Also ==
  
 
* [http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/liveusb.xml Gentoo liveusb document]
 
* [http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/liveusb.xml Gentoo liveusb document]

Revision as of 16:14, 29 June 2013

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
Note: Some older firmware does not understand the isohybrid hack where start of fake partition offset is 0. See https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/32189 for a fix involving isohybrid.pl.

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 mbr.bin may be available as /usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin.
$ cd /path/to/folder/arch/boot/syslinux #Where path/to/folder is the USB drive's mount point
# 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:

Warning: Failure to label the drive "ARCH_2013XX" (with the appropriate release month) or to use an UUID (to re-label it to whatever you like) will get you the infamous "30 seconds" error.

Here's how you can replace the archisolabel=ARCH_2013XX 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_.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(blkid -o value -s 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

Using UNetbootin

UNetbootin can be used on any Linux distribution or Windows to copy your iso to a USB device. However, Unetbootin overwrites syslinux.cfg, so it creates a USB device that does not boot properly. For this reason, Unetbootin is not recommended -- please use dd or one of the other methods discussed in this topic.

Warning: UNetbootin writes over the default syslinux.cfg; this must be restored before the USB device will boot properly.

Edit syslinux.cfg:

sysconfig.cfg
default menu.c32
prompt 0
menu title Archlinux Installer
timeout 100

label unetbootindefault
menu label Archlinux_x86_64
kernel /arch/boot/x86_64/vmlinuz
append initrd=/arch/boot/x86_64/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sdx1 ../../

label ubnentry0
menu label Archlinux_i686
kernel /arch/boot/i686/vmlinuz
append initrd=/arch/boot/i686/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sdx1 ../../

In /dev/sdx1 you must replace x with the first free letter after the last letter in use on the system where you are installing Arch Linux (e.g. if you have two hard drives, use c.). You can make this change during the first phase of boot by pressing Tab when the menu is shown.

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 in Terminal.app run:

$ diskutil list

Figure out what your USB device is called with mount or sudo dmesg | tail (e.g. /dev/disk1) and unmount the partitions on the device (i.e., /dev/disk1s1) while keeping the device proper (i.e., /dev/disk1):

$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1

Now we can continue in accordance with the 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://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ 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.

USBWriter for Windows

Download the program from http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbwriter/ and run it. Select the arch image file, the target USB stick, and click on the write button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.

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, e.g.:

C:\>flashnul -p
Avaible physical drives:
Avaible logical disks:
C:\
D:\
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, e.g:

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.

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:

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, e.g. \\.\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-2013.04.01-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-2013.04.01-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.

Add to a MULTIBOOT Live USB

The Windows tool YUMI MultiBoot Live USB Creator can be used to quickly create a Live USB media with multiple Installers of many Linux distros. Once created, Installers can be added or removed without reformatting the USB drive.

Troubleshooting

Note: For the MEMDISK Method, 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. 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. (*)
Note: If you get the "30 seconds" error due to the /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_XXXXXX not mounting, try renaming your USB media to ARCH_XXXXXX (e.g. ARCH_201302).

See Also