Difference between revisions of "USB flash installation media"

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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch]]
 
[[Category:Getting and installing Arch]]
[[bg:USB Installation Media]]
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[[ar:USB flash installation media]]
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[[bg:USB flash installation media]]
 
[[de:Installation von einem USB-Stick]]
 
[[de:Installation von einem USB-Stick]]
[[es:USB Installation Media]]
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[[es:USB flash installation media]]
[[it:USB Installation Media]]
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[[fr:Créer une clef USB avec l'ISO Arch Linux]]
[[ja:USB Installation Media]]
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[[it:USB flash installation media]]
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[[ja:USB インストールメディア]]
 
[[ro:Instalare prin USB]]
 
[[ro:Instalare prin USB]]
[[ru:USB Installation Media]]
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[[ru:USB flash installation media]]
[[tr:USB_ile_kurulum]]
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[[tr:USB ile kurulum]]
[[zh-CN:USB Installation Media]]
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[[zh-cn:USB flash installation media]]
[[zh-TW:USB Installation Media]]
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[[zh-tw:USB flash installation media]]
{{Article summary start}}
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{{Related articles 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.}}
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{{Related|CD Burning}}
{{Article summary heading|Related}}
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{{Related|Archiso}}
{{Article summary wiki|CD Burning}}
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{{Related|Multiboot USB drive}}
{{Article summary end}}
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{{Related articles 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.
+
This page discusses various multi-platform methods on how to create an Arch Linux Installer USB drive (also referred to as ''"flash drive", "USB stick", "USB key"'', etc) for booting in BIOS and UEFI systems. The result will be a LiveUSB (LiveCD-like) system that can be used for installing Arch Linux, system maintenance or for recovery purposes, and 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]].
+
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]]. If you would like to use your bootable Arch Linux USB stick as a rescue USB, see [[Change root]].
  
{{Note|For [[UEFI]] boot, create a bootable USB stick by following [[UEFI#Create_UEFI_bootable_USB_from_ISO|these]] instructions.}}
+
== BIOS and UEFI Bootable USB ==
  
== On GNU/Linux ==
+
=== Using dd ===
 +
{{Note|This method is recommended due to its simplicity. If it does not work, switch to the alternative method [[#Using manual formatting]] below.}}
  
=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
+
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/'''sdx'''}}. To restore the USB drive as an empty, usable storage device after using the Arch ISO image, the iso9660 filesystem signature needs to be removed by running {{ic|wipefs --all /dev/'''sdx'''}} as root, before [[repartition]]ing and [[reformat]]ing the USB drive.}}
  
{{Warning|This will irrevocably destroy all data on {{ic|/dev/sdx}}.}}
+
==== In GNU/Linux ====
{{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!'''}}
+
{{Tip|Find out the name of your USB drive with {{ic|lsblk}}. Make sure that it is '''not''' mounted.}}
  
# dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx
+
Run the following command, replacing {{ic|/dev/'''sdx'''}} with your drive, e.g. {{ic|/dev/sdb}}. (do '''not''' append a partition number, so do '''not''' use something like {{ic|/dev/sdb'''1'''}}):
  
{{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.}}
+
# dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/'''sdx''' status=progress && sync
  
==== How to restore the USB drive ====
+
The option {{ic|1=status=progress}} above reports transfer progress every so often. Do '''not''' miss ''sync'' to complete before pulling 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.
+
==== In Windows ====
  
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:
+
===== Using Rufus =====
 +
[https://rufus.akeo.ie/ Rufus] is a multi-purpose USB iso writer. Simply select the Arch Linux ISO, the USB drive you want to create the bootable Arch Linux onto and click start.
  
# dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx
+
Since Rufus does not care if the drive is properly formatted or not and provides a GUI it may be the easiest and most robust tool to use.
  
Then create a new partition table (e.g. "msdos") and filesystem (e.g. EXT4, FAT32) using {{Pkg|gparted}}, or from a terminal:
+
===== Using USBwriter =====
  
* For EXT2/3/4 (adjust accordingly), it would be:
+
This method does not require any workaround and is as straightforward as {{ic|dd}} under Linux. Just download the Arch Linux ISO, and with local administrator rights use the [http://sourceforge.net/p/usbwriter/wiki/Documentation/ USBwriter] utility to write to your USB flash memory.
  
: {{bc|<nowiki>
+
===== Using Cygwin =====
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
+
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdx1
+
# e2label /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
+
  
* For FAT32, install the {{Pkg|dosfstools}} package and run:
+
Make sure your [http://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin] installation contains the {{ic|dd}} package.
  
: {{bc|<nowiki>
+
{{Tip|If you do not want to install Cygwin, you can download {{ic|dd}} for Windows from [http://www.chrysocome.net/dd here]. See the next section for more information.}}
# cfdisk /dev/sdx
+
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdx1
+
# dosfslabel /dev/sdx1 USB_STICK</nowiki>}}
+
  
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
+
Place your image file in your home directory:
  
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.
+
C:\cygwin\home\John\
  
'''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.
+
Run cygwin as administrator (required for cygwin to access hardware). To write to your USB drive use the following command:
  
'''2.''' Install the Syslinux bootloader:
+
dd if=image.iso of=\\.\'''x''': bs=4M
  
{{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.}}
+
where image.iso is the path to the iso image file within the {{ic|cygwin}} directory and {{ic|\\.\'''x''':}} is your USB flash drive where {{ic|'''x'''}} is the windows designated letter, e.g. {{ic|\\.\d:}}.
  
{{Note|On some distributions the {{ic|mbr.bin}} file may be available as {{ic|/usr/'''share'''/syslinux/mbr.bin}}.}}
+
On Cygwin 6.0, find out the correct partition with:
  
  $ cd /media/''somefolder''/arch/boot/syslinux    #Where ''somefolder'' is the USB drive's mount point. Do not skip this step.
+
  cat /proc/partitions
# 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:
+
and write the ISO image with the information from the output. Example:
  
{{Note|While you ''could'' label the drive "{{ic|ARCH_2013XX}}" (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|This will irrevocably delete all files on your USB flash drive, so make sure you do not have any important files on the flash drive before doing this.}}
  
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:
+
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
  
{{Note|Adjust {{ic|/dev/sdx1}} before running it, else it will become blank (since drive {{ic|sdx}} doesn't exist).}}
+
===== dd for Windows =====
  
$ sed -i "s|label=ARCH_.*|device=/dev/disk/by-uuid/$(blkid -o value -s UUID /dev/sdx1)|" archiso_sys{32,64}.cfg
+
{{Note|Some users have an "isolinux.bin missing or corrupt" problem when booting the media with this method.}}
  
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:
+
A GPL licensed dd version for Windows is available at http://www.chrysocome.net/dd. The advantage of this over Cygwin is a smaller download. Use it as shown in instructions for Cygwin above.
  
$ sed -i "s|../../|/arch|" syslinux.cfg
+
To begin, download the latest version of dd for Windows. Once downloaded, extract the archive's contents into Downloads or elsewhere.
  
====Using UNetbootin====
+
Now, launch your {{ic|command prompt}} as an administrator. Next, change directory ({{ic|cd}}) into the Downloads directory.
You can use UNetbootin on any Linux distribution or Windows to burn your iso on a USB key. What you need is to edit the file {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} to boot the correct kernel image after UNetbootin have burned the image. After burning open the USB key and edit {{ic|syslinu.cfg}}
+
  
{{hc|sysconfig.cfg|<nowiki>
+
If your Arch Linux ISO is elsewhere you may need to state the full path, for convenience you may wish to put the Arch Linux ISO into the same folder as the dd executable. The basic format of the command will look like this.
default menu.c32
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prompt 0
+
menu title Archlinux Installer
+
timeout 100
+
  
label unetbootindefault
+
# dd if=''archlinux-2015-XX-YY-dual.iso'' od=\\.\''x'': bs=4M
menu label Archlinux_x86_64
+
kernel /arch/boot/x86_64/vmlinuz
+
append initrd=/arch/boot/x86_64/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sdX1 ../../
+
  
label ubnentry0
+
{{Note|The Windows drive letters are linked to a partition. To allow selecting the entire disk, ''dd for Windows'' provides the {{ic|od}} parameter, which is used in the commands above. Note however that this parameter is specific to ''dd for Windows'' and cannot be found in other implementations of ''dd''.}}
menu label Archlinux_i686
+
kernel /arch/boot/i686/vmlinuz
+
append initrd=/arch/boot/i686/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sdX1 ../../
+
</nowiki>}}
+
  
In {{ic|/dev/sdX1}} you must replace X with the first free letter after last is in use in the system where you would install Arch Linux ''(for example if you have 2 harddisk in your PC, you must replace X with the letter 'c'.)''. Is possible to make this change during the first phase of boot pressing {{ic|Tab}} when the menu will be showed.
+
{{Warning|Because the {{ic|od}} is used, all partitions on the selected disk will be destroyed. Be absolutely sure that you are directing dd to the correct drive before executing.}}
  
== On Mac OS X ==
+
Simply replace the various null spots (indicated by an "x") with the correct date and correct drive letter. Here is a complete example.
  
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
+
# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso od=\\.\d: bs=4M
  
  diskutil list
+
{{Accuracy|The following note may be invalid, the [http://www.chrysocome.net/dd upstream documentation] does not mention anything related to ''PhysicalDrive''.}}
  
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
+
{{Note|Alternatively, replace the drive letter with {{ic|\\.\PhysicalDrive''X''}}, where {{ic|''X''}} is the physical drive number (starts from 0). Example:
 +
{{bc|1=# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso of=\\.\PhysicalDrive1 bs=4M}}
 +
You can find out the physical drive number by typing {{ic|wmic diskdrive list brief}} at the command prompt or with {{ic|dd --list}}
 +
Any Explorer window must be closed or dd will report an error.}}
  
  diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
+
==== In Mac OS X ====
  
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).
+
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:
  
  dd if=image.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192
+
$ diskutil list
  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.
+
Figure out what your USB device is called with {{ic|mount}} or {{ic|<nowiki>sudo dmesg | tail</nowiki>}} (e.g. {{ic|/dev/disk2}}) and unmount the partitions on the device (i.e., /dev/disk2s1) while keeping the device proper (i.e., /dev/disk2):
  
  diskutil eject /dev/disk1
+
$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
  
== On Windows ==
+
Now we can continue in accordance with the instructions above (but, if you are using the OS X {{ic|dd}}, use {{ic|/dev/rdisk}} instead of {{ic|/dev/disk}}, and use {{ic|1=bs=1m}}. {{ic|rdisk}} means "raw disk" and is much faster on OS X, and {{ic|1=bs=1m}} indicates a 1 MB block size).
  
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
+
{{hc|<nowiki># dd if=image.iso of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m</nowiki>|
 +
20480+0 records in
 +
20480+0 records out
 +
167772160 bytes transferred in 220.016918 secs (762542 bytes/sec)
 +
}}
  
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.
+
It is probably a good idea to eject your drive before physical removal at this point:
  
=== The Flashnul Way ===
+
$ diskutil eject /dev/disk2
  
[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).
+
=== Using manual formatting===
  
From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with -p, and determine which device index is your USB drive. For example, my output looks like this:
+
==== In GNU/Linux ====
  
C:\>flashnul -p
+
This method is more complicated than writing the image directly with {{ic|dd}}, but it does keep the flash drive usable for data storage (that is, the ISO is installed in a specific partition within the already [[Partitioning|partitioned device]] without altering other partitions).
+
Avaible physical drives:
+
Avaible logical disks:
+
C:\
+
D:\
+
E:\
+
  
In my case, it is drive E:
+
{{Note|Here, we will denote the targeted partition as {{ic|/dev/sd'''Xn'''}}. In any of the following commands, adjust '''X''' and '''n''' according to your system.}}
  
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
+
* Make sure that the latest {{Pkg|syslinux}} package (version 6.02 or newer) is installed on the system.  
  
C:\>flashnul E: -L path\to\arch.iso
+
* If not done yet, create the partition table and/or partition on the device before continuing. The partition {{ic|/dev/sd'''Xn'''}} must be formatted to FAT32.
  
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.
+
* Mount the ISO image, mount the FAT32 filesystem located in the USB flash device, and copy the contents of the ISO image to it. Then unmount the ISO image, but keep the FAT32 partition mounted (this will be used in subsequent steps). Eg:
 +
# mkdir -p /mnt/{iso,usb}
 +
# mount -o loop archlinux-2016.04.01-dual.iso /mnt/iso
 +
# mount /dev/sd'''Xn''' /mnt/usb
 +
# cp -a /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb
 +
# sync
 +
# umount /mnt/iso
  
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|The following step is not required when using [[Archboot]] instead of [[Archiso]].}} To boot either a label or an [[UUID]] to select the partition to boot from is required. By default the label {{ic|ARCH_2016'''XX'''}} (with the appropriate release month) is used. Thus, the partition’s label has to be set accordingly, for example using ''gparted''. Alternatively, you can change this behaviour by altering the lines ending by {{ic|1=archisolabel=ARCH_2016'''XX'''}} in files ''/mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/archiso_sys32.cfg'' and ''archiso_sys64.cfg'', as well as ''/mnt/usb/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf'' or similar for a 32-bit ISO (the last being useful only, if you want to boot the USB flash device from an EFI system). To use an UUID instead, replace those portions of lines with {{ic|1=archiso''device''=/dev/disk/by-uuid/'''YOUR-UUID'''}}. The UUID can be retrieved with {{ic|1=blkid -o value -s UUID /dev/sd'''Xn'''}}.
  
{{Note|Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64. -bgalakazam}}
+
{{Warning|Mismatching labels or wrong UUID prevents booting from the created medium.}}
  
=== The Cygwin Way ===
+
* Syslinux is already preinstalled in ''/mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux''. Install it completely to that folder by following [[Syslinux#Manual install]]. Instructions are reproduced here for convenience.
 +
** Overwrite the existing syslinux modules ({{ic|*.c32}} files) present in the USB (from the ISO) with the ones from the syslinux package. This is necessary to avoid boot failure because of a possible version mismatch.
 +
** Run:
 +
# extlinux --install /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux
 +
** Unmount the partition ({{ic|umount /mnt/usb}}) and install the MBR or GPT partition table to the USB device as described in the page mentioned.
  
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.
+
* Mark the partition as active (or “bootable”).
  
Place your image file in your home directory, in my case it is:
+
==== In Windows ====
  
C:\cygwin\home\John\
+
{{Note|
 +
* For manual formatting, do not use any '''Bootable USB Creator utility''' for creating the UEFI bootable USB. For manual formatting, do not use ''dd for Windows'' to dd the ISO to the USB drive either.
  
Run cygwin as administrator (required for cygwin to access hardware). To write to your USB drive use the following command:
+
* In the below commands, '''X:''' is assumed to be the USB flash drive in Windows.
  
dd if=image.iso of=\\.\[x]:
+
* Windows uses backward slash {{ic|\}} as path-separator, so the same is used in the below commands.
  
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:".
+
* All commands should be run in Windows command prompt '''as administrator'''.
  
On cygwin 6.0 find out the correct partition with
+
* {{ic|>}} denotes the Windows command prompt.
 +
}}
  
cat /proc/partitions
+
* Partition and format the USB drive using [http://rufus.akeo.ie/ Rufus USB partitioner]. Select partition scheme option as '''MBR for BIOS and UEFI''' and File system as '''FAT32'''. Uncheck "Create a bootable disk using ISO image" and "Create extended label and icon files" options.
  
and write the ISO image with the information from the output. Example:
+
* Change the '''Volume Label''' of the USB flash drive {{ic|X:}} to match the LABEL mentioned in the {{ic|1=archisolabel=}} part in {{ic|<ISO>\loader\entries\archiso-x86_64.conf}}. This step is required for Official ISO ([[Archiso]]) but not required for [[Archboot]]. This step can be also performed using Rufus, during the prior "partition and format" step.
  
{{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.}}
+
* Extract the ISO (similar to extracting ZIP archive) to the USB flash drive (using [http://7-zip.org/ 7-Zip].  
  
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb
+
* Download official syslinux 6.xx binaries (zip file) from https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/  and extract it. The version of Syslinux should be the same version used in the ISO image.
  
=== dd for Windows ===
+
* Run the following command (in Windows cmd prompt, as admin):
  
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.
+
{{Note|Use {{ic|X:\boot\syslinux\}} for Archboot iso.}}
  
=== Boot the entire ISO from RAM ===
+
> cd bios\
 +
> for /r %Y in (*.c32) do copy "%Y" "X:\arch\boot\syslinux\" /y
 +
> copy mbr\*.bin X:\arch\boot\syslinux\ /y
  
This method uses [[Syslinux]] and '''[http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK 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.
+
* Install Syslinux to the USB by running (use {{ic|win64\syslinux64.exe}} for x64 Windows):
  
'''1.''' Format the USB stick as FAT32 and create the following folders:
+
{{Note|Use {{ic|-d /boot/syslinux}} for Archboot iso.}}
  
  X:\Boot
+
  > cd bios\
  X:\Boot\ISOs
+
  > win32\syslinux.exe -d /arch/boot/syslinux -i -a -m X:
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 '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ latest release]''' (e.g. ''syslinux-4.05.zip''):
+
{{Note|
 +
* The above step installs Syslinux's {{ic|ldlinux.sys}} to the VBR of the USB partition, sets the partition as "active/boot" in the MBR partition table and writes the MBR boot code to the 1st 440-byte boot code region of the USB.
  
* {{ic|./win32/syslinux.exe}} to the desktop, or wherever you want.
+
* The {{ic|-d}} switch expects a path with forward slash path-separator like in *unix systems.
 +
}}
  
* {{ic|./memdisk/memdisk}} to the "Settings" folder.
+
== Other Methods for BIOS systems ==
  
And while you're in this folder, create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file:
+
=== In GNU/Linux ===
  
{{hc|X:\Boot\Settings\syslinux.cfg|2=
+
==== Using a multiboot USB drive ====
 +
This allows booting multiple ISOs from a single USB device, including the archiso. Updating an existing USB drive to a more recent ISO is simpler than for most other methods. See [[Multiboot USB drive]].
 +
 
 +
==== Using GNOME Disk Utility ====
 +
Linux distributions running GNOME can easily make a live CD through {{Pkg|nautilus}} and {{Pkg|gnome-disk-utility}}.  Simply right-click on the .iso file, and select "Open With Disk Image Writer."  When GNOME Disk Utility opens, specify the flash drive from the "Destination" drop-down menu and click "Start Restoring."
 +
 
 +
==== Making an USB-ZIP drive ====
 +
For some old BIOS systems, only booting from USB-ZIP drives is supported. This method allows you to still boot from a USB-HDD drive.
 +
{{Warning|This will destroy all information on your USB flash drive!}}
 +
 
 +
* Download {{Pkg|syslinux}} and {{Pkg|mtools}} from the official repositories.
 +
* Find your usb drive with {{ic|lsblk}}.
 +
* Type {{ic|mkdiskimage -4 /dev/sd'''x''' 0 64 32}} (replace x with the letter of your drive). This will take a while.
 +
From here continue with the manual formatting method. The partition will be /dev/sd'''x'''4 due to the way ZIP drives work.
 +
 
 +
{{Note|Do not format the drive as FAT32 keep it as FAT16.}}
 +
 
 +
==== 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.}}
 +
 
 +
Edit {{ic|syslinux.cfg}}:
 +
 
 +
{{hc|sysconfig.cfg|2=
 +
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/sd'''x1''' ../../
 +
 
 +
label ubnentry0
 +
menu label Archlinux_i686
 +
kernel /arch/boot/i686/vmlinuz
 +
append initrd=/arch/boot/i686/archiso.img archisodevice=/dev/sd'''x1''' ../../
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
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.
 +
 
 +
=== In Windows ===
 +
 
 +
==== Win32 Disk Imager ====
 +
 
 +
{{Warning|This will destroy all information on your USB flash drive!}}
 +
First, download the program from [http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ here]. Next, extract the archive and run the executable. Now, select the Arch Linux ISO under the {{ic|Image File}} section and the USB flash device letter (for example, [D:\]) under the {{ic|Device}} section. Finally, click {{ic|Write}} when ready.
 +
{{Note|After installation, you may need to restore the USB flash drive following a process as outlined [[#How to restore the USB drive|here]].}}
 +
 
 +
==== 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 {{ic|write}} button. Now you should be able to boot from the usb stick and install Arch Linux from it.
 +
 
 +
==== The Flashnul way ====
 +
 
 +
[https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fshounen.ru%2Fsoft%2Fflashnul%2Freadme.rus.html&sandbox=1 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 {{ic|-p}}, and determine which device index is your USB drive, e.g.:
 +
 
 +
{{hc|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, {{ic|-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.}}
 +
 
 +
==== Loading the installation media from RAM ====
 +
 
 +
{{Merge|Multiboot USB drive#Using Syslinux and memdisk|This is the same method, only Syslinux is installed from Windows. Considering that [[multiboot USB drive]] can be used to boot an installation media and it is already linked from the Related articles box at the top, maybe this section should be merged there?}}
 +
 
 +
This method uses [[Syslinux]] and a [[Ramdisk]] ([http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK MEMDISK]) to load the entire Arch Linux ISO image into RAM. Since this will be running entirely from system memory, you will need to make sure the system you will be installing this on has an adequate amount. A minimum amount of RAM between 500 MB and 1 GB should suffice for a MEMDISK based, Arch Linux install.
 +
 
 +
For more information on Arch Linux system requirements as well as those for MEMDISK see the [[Beginners' guide]] and [http://www.etherboot.org/wiki/bootingmemdisk#preliminaries here]{{Dead link|2014|12|01}}. For reference, here is the [https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=135266 preceding forum thread].
 +
 
 +
{{Tip|Once the installer has completed loading you can simply remove the USB stick and even use it on a different machine to start the process all over again. Utilizing MEMDISK also allows booting and installing Arch Linux to and from the same USB flash drive.}}
 +
 
 +
===== Preparing the USB flash drive =====
 +
 
 +
Begin by formatting the USB flash drive as '''FAT32'''. Then create the following folders on the newly formatted drive.
 +
* {{ic|Boot}}
 +
** {{ic|Boot/ISOs}}
 +
** {{ic|Boot/Settings}}
 +
 
 +
===== Copy the needed files to the USB flash drive =====
 +
 
 +
Next copy the ISO that you would like to boot to the {{ic|Boot/ISOs}} folder. After that, extract from the following files from the latest release of {{pkg|syslinux}} from [http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ here] and copy them into the following folders.
 +
* {{ic|./win32/syslinux.exe}} to the Desktop or Downloads folder on your system.
 +
* {{ic|./memdisk/memdisk}} to the {{ic|Settings}} folder on your USB flash drive.
 +
 
 +
===== Create the configuration file =====
 +
 
 +
After copying the needed files, navigate to the USB flash drive, /boot/Settings and create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file.
 +
{{Warning|On the {{ic|INITRD}} line, be sure to use the name of the ISO file that you copied to your {{ic|ISOs}} folder!}}
 +
{{hc|/Boot/Settings/syslinux.cfg|2=
 
DEFAULT arch_iso
 
DEFAULT arch_iso
  
Line 217: Line 317:
 
         MENU LABEL Arch Setup
 
         MENU LABEL Arch Setup
 
         LINUX memdisk
 
         LINUX memdisk
         INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2013.04.01-dual.iso
+
         INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso
 
         APPEND iso}}
 
         APPEND iso}}
 +
For more information on Syslinux see the [[Syslinux|Arch Wiki article]].
  
{{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.}}
+
===== Final steps =====
 
+
'''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):
+
  
 +
Finally, create a {{ic|*.bat}} file where {{ic|syslinux.exe}} is located and run it ("Run as administrator" if you are on Vista or Windows 7):
 
{{hc|C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\install.bat|
 
{{hc|C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\install.bat|
 
@echo off
 
@echo off
 
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:}}
 
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:}}
  
Done.
+
== Troubleshooting ==
  
== Troubleshooting ==
+
* For the [[#Loading the installation media from RAM|MEMDISK Method]], if you get the famous "30 seconds" error trying to boot the i686 version, press the {{ic|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| 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|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.}}
+
* If you get the "30 seconds" error due to the {{ic|/dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_XXXXYY}} not mounting, try renaming your USB media to {{ic|ARCH_XXXXYY}} (e.g. {{ic|ARCH_201501}}).
  
 
== See Also ==
 
== See Also ==
  
* [http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/liveusb.xml Gentoo liveusb document]
+
* [https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/LiveUSB/HOWTO Gentoo wiki - LiveUSB/HOWTO]
 +
* [https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_Live_USB Fedora wiki - How to create and use Live USB]
 +
* [http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Live_USB_stick openSUSE wiki - SDB:Live USB stick]

Latest revision as of 17:57, 2 May 2016

This page discusses various multi-platform methods on how to create an Arch Linux Installer USB drive (also referred to as "flash drive", "USB stick", "USB key", etc) for booting in BIOS and UEFI systems. The result will be a LiveUSB (LiveCD-like) system that can be used for installing Arch Linux, system maintenance or for recovery purposes, and 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. If you would like to use your bootable Arch Linux USB stick as a rescue USB, see Change root.

BIOS and UEFI Bootable USB

Using dd

Note: This method is recommended due to its simplicity. If it does not work, switch to the alternative method #Using manual formatting below.
Warning: This will irrevocably destroy all data on /dev/sdx. To restore the USB drive as an empty, usable storage device after using the Arch ISO image, the iso9660 filesystem signature needs to be removed by running wipefs --all /dev/sdx as root, before repartitioning and reformating the USB drive.

In GNU/Linux

Tip: Find out the name of your USB drive with lsblk. Make sure that it is not mounted.

Run the following command, replacing /dev/sdx with your drive, e.g. /dev/sdb. (do not append a partition number, so do not use something like /dev/sdb1):

# dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx status=progress && sync

The option status=progress above reports transfer progress every so often. Do not miss sync to complete before pulling the USB drive.

In Windows

Using Rufus

Rufus is a multi-purpose USB iso writer. Simply select the Arch Linux ISO, the USB drive you want to create the bootable Arch Linux onto and click start.

Since Rufus does not care if the drive is properly formatted or not and provides a GUI it may be the easiest and most robust tool to use.

Using USBwriter

This method does not require any workaround and is as straightforward as dd under Linux. Just download the Arch Linux ISO, and with local administrator rights use the USBwriter utility to write to your USB flash memory.

Using Cygwin

Make sure your Cygwin installation contains the dd package.

Tip: If you do not want to install Cygwin, you can download dd for Windows from here. See the next section for more information.

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: bs=4M

where image.iso is the path to the iso image file within the cygwin directory and \\.\x: is your USB flash drive 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 flash drive, so make sure you do not have any important files on the flash drive before doing this.
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
dd for Windows
Note: Some users have an "isolinux.bin missing or corrupt" problem when booting the media with this method.

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

To begin, download the latest version of dd for Windows. Once downloaded, extract the archive's contents into Downloads or elsewhere.

Now, launch your command prompt as an administrator. Next, change directory (cd) into the Downloads directory.

If your Arch Linux ISO is elsewhere you may need to state the full path, for convenience you may wish to put the Arch Linux ISO into the same folder as the dd executable. The basic format of the command will look like this.

# dd if=archlinux-2015-XX-YY-dual.iso od=\\.\x: bs=4M
Note: The Windows drive letters are linked to a partition. To allow selecting the entire disk, dd for Windows provides the od parameter, which is used in the commands above. Note however that this parameter is specific to dd for Windows and cannot be found in other implementations of dd.
Warning: Because the od is used, all partitions on the selected disk will be destroyed. Be absolutely sure that you are directing dd to the correct drive before executing.

Simply replace the various null spots (indicated by an "x") with the correct date and correct drive letter. Here is a complete example.

# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso od=\\.\d: bs=4M

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: The following note may be invalid, the upstream documentation does not mention anything related to PhysicalDrive. (Discuss in Talk:USB flash installation media#)
Note: Alternatively, replace the drive letter with \\.\PhysicalDriveX, where X is the physical drive number (starts from 0). Example:
# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso of=\\.\PhysicalDrive1 bs=4M

You can find out the physical drive number by typing wmic diskdrive list brief at the command prompt or with dd --list

Any Explorer window must be closed or dd will report an error.

In 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/disk2) and unmount the partitions on the device (i.e., /dev/disk2s1) while keeping the device proper (i.e., /dev/disk2):

$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Now we can continue in accordance with the instructions above (but, if you are using the OS X dd, use /dev/rdisk instead of /dev/disk, and use bs=1m. rdisk means "raw disk" and is much faster on OS X, and bs=1m indicates a 1 MB block size).

# dd if=image.iso of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m
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/disk2

Using manual formatting

In GNU/Linux

This method is more complicated than writing the image directly with dd, but it does keep the flash drive usable for data storage (that is, the ISO is installed in a specific partition within the already partitioned device without altering other partitions).

Note: Here, we will denote the targeted partition as /dev/sdXn. In any of the following commands, adjust X and n according to your system.
  • Make sure that the latest syslinux package (version 6.02 or newer) is installed on the system.
  • If not done yet, create the partition table and/or partition on the device before continuing. The partition /dev/sdXn must be formatted to FAT32.
  • Mount the ISO image, mount the FAT32 filesystem located in the USB flash device, and copy the contents of the ISO image to it. Then unmount the ISO image, but keep the FAT32 partition mounted (this will be used in subsequent steps). Eg:
# mkdir -p /mnt/{iso,usb}
# mount -o loop archlinux-2016.04.01-dual.iso /mnt/iso
# mount /dev/sdXn /mnt/usb
# cp -a /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb
# sync
# umount /mnt/iso
  • Note: The following step is not required when using Archboot instead of Archiso.
    To boot either a label or an UUID to select the partition to boot from is required. By default the label ARCH_2016XX (with the appropriate release month) is used. Thus, the partition’s label has to be set accordingly, for example using gparted. Alternatively, you can change this behaviour by altering the lines ending by archisolabel=ARCH_2016XX in files /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/archiso_sys32.cfg and archiso_sys64.cfg, as well as /mnt/usb/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf or similar for a 32-bit ISO (the last being useful only, if you want to boot the USB flash device from an EFI system). To use an UUID instead, replace those portions of lines with archisodevice=/dev/disk/by-uuid/YOUR-UUID. The UUID can be retrieved with blkid -o value -s UUID /dev/sdXn.
Warning: Mismatching labels or wrong UUID prevents booting from the created medium.
  • Syslinux is already preinstalled in /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux. Install it completely to that folder by following Syslinux#Manual install. Instructions are reproduced here for convenience.
    • Overwrite the existing syslinux modules (*.c32 files) present in the USB (from the ISO) with the ones from the syslinux package. This is necessary to avoid boot failure because of a possible version mismatch.
    • Run:
# extlinux --install /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux
    • Unmount the partition (umount /mnt/usb) and install the MBR or GPT partition table to the USB device as described in the page mentioned.
  • Mark the partition as active (or “bootable”).

In Windows

Note:
  • For manual formatting, do not use any Bootable USB Creator utility for creating the UEFI bootable USB. For manual formatting, do not use dd for Windows to dd the ISO to the USB drive either.
  • In the below commands, X: is assumed to be the USB flash drive in Windows.
  • Windows uses backward slash \ as path-separator, so the same is used in the below commands.
  • All commands should be run in Windows command prompt as administrator.
  • > denotes the Windows command prompt.
  • Partition and format the USB drive using Rufus USB partitioner. Select partition scheme option as MBR for BIOS and UEFI and File system as FAT32. Uncheck "Create a bootable disk using ISO image" and "Create extended label and icon files" options.
  • Change the Volume Label of the USB flash drive X: to match the LABEL mentioned in the archisolabel= part in <ISO>\loader\entries\archiso-x86_64.conf. This step is required for Official ISO (Archiso) but not required for Archboot. This step can be also performed using Rufus, during the prior "partition and format" step.
  • Extract the ISO (similar to extracting ZIP archive) to the USB flash drive (using 7-Zip.
  • Run the following command (in Windows cmd prompt, as admin):
Note: Use X:\boot\syslinux\ for Archboot iso.
> cd bios\
> for /r %Y in (*.c32) do copy "%Y" "X:\arch\boot\syslinux\" /y
> copy mbr\*.bin X:\arch\boot\syslinux\ /y
  • Install Syslinux to the USB by running (use win64\syslinux64.exe for x64 Windows):
Note: Use -d /boot/syslinux for Archboot iso.
> cd bios\
> win32\syslinux.exe -d /arch/boot/syslinux -i -a -m X:
Note:
  • The above step installs Syslinux's ldlinux.sys to the VBR of the USB partition, sets the partition as "active/boot" in the MBR partition table and writes the MBR boot code to the 1st 440-byte boot code region of the USB.
  • The -d switch expects a path with forward slash path-separator like in *unix systems.

Other Methods for BIOS systems

In GNU/Linux

Using a multiboot USB drive

This allows booting multiple ISOs from a single USB device, including the archiso. Updating an existing USB drive to a more recent ISO is simpler than for most other methods. See Multiboot USB drive.

Using GNOME Disk Utility

Linux distributions running GNOME can easily make a live CD through nautilus and gnome-disk-utility. Simply right-click on the .iso file, and select "Open With Disk Image Writer." When GNOME Disk Utility opens, specify the flash drive from the "Destination" drop-down menu and click "Start Restoring."

Making an USB-ZIP drive

For some old BIOS systems, only booting from USB-ZIP drives is supported. This method allows you to still boot from a USB-HDD drive.

Warning: This will destroy all information on your USB flash drive!
  • Download syslinux and mtools from the official repositories.
  • Find your usb drive with lsblk.
  • Type mkdiskimage -4 /dev/sdx 0 64 32 (replace x with the letter of your drive). This will take a while.

From here continue with the manual formatting method. The partition will be /dev/sdx4 due to the way ZIP drives work.

Note: Do not format the drive as FAT32 keep it as FAT16.

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.

In Windows

Win32 Disk Imager

Warning: This will destroy all information on your USB flash drive!

First, download the program from here. Next, extract the archive and run the executable. Now, select the Arch Linux ISO under the Image File section and the USB flash device letter (for example, [D:\]) under the Device section. Finally, click Write when ready.

Note: After installation, you may need to restore the USB flash drive following a process as outlined here.

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.

Loading the installation media from RAM

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Multiboot USB drive#Using Syslinux and memdisk.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: This is the same method, only Syslinux is installed from Windows. Considering that multiboot USB drive can be used to boot an installation media and it is already linked from the Related articles box at the top, maybe this section should be merged there? (Discuss in Talk:USB flash installation media#)

This method uses Syslinux and a Ramdisk (MEMDISK) to load the entire Arch Linux ISO image into RAM. Since this will be running entirely from system memory, you will need to make sure the system you will be installing this on has an adequate amount. A minimum amount of RAM between 500 MB and 1 GB should suffice for a MEMDISK based, Arch Linux install.

For more information on Arch Linux system requirements as well as those for MEMDISK see the Beginners' guide and here[dead link 2014-12-01]. For reference, here is the preceding forum thread.

Tip: Once the installer has completed loading you can simply remove the USB stick and even use it on a different machine to start the process all over again. Utilizing MEMDISK also allows booting and installing Arch Linux to and from the same USB flash drive.
Preparing the USB flash drive

Begin by formatting the USB flash drive as FAT32. Then create the following folders on the newly formatted drive.

  • Boot
    • Boot/ISOs
    • Boot/Settings
Copy the needed files to the USB flash drive

Next copy the ISO that you would like to boot to the Boot/ISOs folder. After that, extract from the following files from the latest release of syslinux from here and copy them into the following folders.

  • ./win32/syslinux.exe to the Desktop or Downloads folder on your system.
  • ./memdisk/memdisk to the Settings folder on your USB flash drive.
Create the configuration file

After copying the needed files, navigate to the USB flash drive, /boot/Settings and create a syslinux.cfg file.

Warning: On the INITRD line, be sure to use the name of the ISO file that you copied to your ISOs folder!
/Boot/Settings/syslinux.cfg
DEFAULT arch_iso

LABEL arch_iso
        MENU LABEL Arch Setup
        LINUX memdisk
        INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2015.01.01-dual.iso
        APPEND iso

For more information on Syslinux see the Arch Wiki article.

Final steps

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

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

Troubleshooting

  • For the MEMDISK Method, if you get the famous "30 seconds" error trying to boot the i686 version, press the Tab 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. [1]
  • If you get the "30 seconds" error due to the /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_XXXXYY not mounting, try renaming your USB media to ARCH_XXXXYY (e.g. ARCH_201501).

See Also