Difference between revisions of "USB flash installation media"

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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch (English)]]
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[[Category:Installation process]]
{{i18n|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]]
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[[es:USB flash installation media]]
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[[fr:Créer une clef USB avec l'ISO Arch Linux]]
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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]]
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[[pt:USB flash installation media]]
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[[ru:USB flash installation media]]
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[[zh-hans:USB flash installation media]]
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[[zh-hant:USB flash installation media]]
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{{Related articles start}}
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{{Related|CD Burning}}
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{{Related|Archiso}}
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{{Related|Multiboot USB drive}}
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{{Related articles end}}
  
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]].
+
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.
  
== On GNU/Linux ==
+
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]].
  
=== Overwrite the USB drive ===
+
== BIOS and UEFI bootable USB ==
  
Beginning from release 2010.05, all ISO files can be directly written to USB media. Download them from your [http://www.archlinux.org/download/ local mirror]. To install, first ensure the USB device is '''unmounted''' and then issue the following command:
+
=== Using automatic tools ===
  
# dd if=archlinux.iso of=/dev/sd[x]
+
==== In GNU/Linux ====
  
where {{ic|archlinux.iso}} is the path to the ISO file and {{ic|/dev/sd[x]}} is your USB device.
+
===== Using dd =====
  
{{Note|You can also add bs=4M to speed up the dd process..}}
+
{{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 {{ic|/dev/sdx}}.}}
+
{{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 ISO 9660 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|Make sure to use {{ic|/dev/sdx}} and NOT {{ic|/dev/sdx1}}. '''This is a very common error!'''}}
+
{{Tip|Find out the name of your USB drive with {{ic|lsblk}}. Make sure that it is '''not''' mounted.}}
  
=== Without overwriting the USB drive ===
+
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'''}})
  
With release 2011.08.19 or later, you can install the Arch image to USB without overwriting its contents. This is slightly more complicated than copying the image directly, but keeps 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 syslinux 4.04 installed (older or newer syslinux 4 versions may work, syslinux 3.XX will not work).
+
# dd bs=4M if=path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/'''sdx''' status=progress oflag=sync
  
First, download and mount the ISO image:
+
See {{man|1|dd}} for more information about [[dd]]. See {{man|1|dd|DESCRIPTION}} for more information about {{ic|1=oflag=sync}}.
$ mount -o loop /path/to/image/archlinux-XXX.iso /path/to/iso/
 
  
Second, mount the USB drive and copy the contents of the ''/arch'' folder to its main directory:
+
===== Using etcher =====
$ cp -r /path/to/iso/arch/ /path/to/usb/
 
The image also contains a ''/syslinux'' folder, but you do not need it.
 
  
Third, install ''syslinux'' to the USB drive:
+
[https://etcher.io/ Etcher] is a OS image flasher built with node.js and Electron, capable of flashing an SDCard or USB drive. It protects you from accidentally writing to your hard-drives and ensures every byte of data was written correctly. There are 6 related packages in the AUR.
$ extlinux --install /path/to/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/
 
  
Next you will need to adjust the boot configuration files in order for your system to boot.
+
===== Using Kindd =====
  
From ''/path/to/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/*.cfg'', replace:
+
[https://github.com/LinArcX/Kindd Kindd] is a Qt based graphical frontend for dd. It is available as {{AUR|kindd-git}}.
archisolabel=ARCH_201108
 
with either
 
archisolabel=YOUR_USB_DRIVE_LABEL
 
or
 
archiso'''device'''=/dev/disk/by-uuid/YOUR_USB_DRIVE_UUID
 
{{Note|By using the '''[https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/UUID#By-uuid UUID]''' you are free to label your drive whatever you want (or you could leave it blank).}}
 
{{Note|In the ''dual'' images this occurs in two places, while in the i686 and x86_64 images only once.}}
 
  
Labels can be changed with ''e2label'' (for ext2/3/4) and ''dosfslabel'' (for FAT/FAT32):
+
==== In Windows ====
# e2label /dev/sdb2 ARCH_201108
 
# dosfslabel /dev/sdb2 ARCH_201108
 
  
If your USB drive has a partition table (most of them do), then you need to install an MBR and make the first partition active:
+
===== Using Rufus =====
{{Warning|If you choose the wrong device node here, you might destroy data, so be careful.}}
 
$ dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sd[x]
 
''where sd[x] is your USB drive's device node (the drive itself, not the first partition).''
 
  
The partition table should look similar to this one:
+
[https://rufus.akeo.ie/ Rufus] is a multi-purpose USB ISO writer. It provides a graphical user interface and does not care if the drive is properly formatted or not.
$ fdisk -l /dev/sd[x]
 
[...]
 
    Device Boot      Start        End      Blocks  Id  System
 
/dev/sdx1  *        2048    15663103    7830528    b  W95 FAT32
 
As you can see, the first partition (sdx1) has the bootable flag set.
 
  
Your USB drive is now bootable.
+
Simply select the Arch Linux ISO, the USB drive you want to create the bootable Arch Linux onto and click ''START''.
  
{{Note|If you do not see the bootable flag at this point, you may try to manually set it. e.g: Using Gparted: right click on the partition > manage flags.}}
+
{{Note|If the USB drive does not boot properly using the default ISO Image mode, '''DD Image mode''' should be used instead.
{{Note|This method will also work on Windows if you download the latest syslinux version for Windows. The commands will of course be different. Please refer to the syslinux documentation.}}
+
* For Rufus version ≥ 3.0 select ''GPT'' from the ''Partition scheme'' drop-down menu. After clicking ''START'' you will get the mode selection dialog, select ''DD Image mode''.
 +
* For Rufus version < 3.0 select ''DD Image'' mode from the drop-down menu on the bottom.
 +
}}
  
== On Mac OS X ==
+
{{Tip|To add [https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/issues/691 an additional partition for persistent storage] use the slider to choose the persistent partition's size. When using the persistent partition feature, make sure to select ''MBR'' in the ''Partition scheme'' drop-down menu and ''BIOS or UEFI'' in ''Target System'', otherwise the drive will not be usable for both BIOS and UEFI booting.}}
  
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
+
===== Using USBwriter =====
  
diskutil list
+
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 [https://sourceforge.net/p/usbwriter/wiki/Documentation/ USBwriter] utility to write to your USB flash memory.
  
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
+
===== Using win32diskimager =====
  
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
+
[https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ win32diskimager] is another graphical USB iso writing tool for Windows. Simply select your iso image and the target USB drive letter (you may have to format it first to assign it a drive letter), and click Write.
  
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).
+
===== Using Cygwin =====
  
  dd if=image.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192
+
Make sure your [https://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin] installation contains the {{ic|dd}} package.
  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.
+
{{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.}}
  
  diskutil eject /dev/disk1
+
Place your image file in your home directory:
  
== On Windows ==
+
C:\cygwin\home\John\
 +
 
 +
Run cygwin as administrator (required for cygwin to access hardware). To write to your USB drive use the following command:
  
To write the USB image on Windows, you will need either [http://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer Image Writer for Windows], [http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ Linux Live USB Creator], [http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ Universal USB Installer], [http://shounen.ru/soft/flashnul/ flashnul] ([http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fshounen.ru%2Fsoft%2Fflashnul%2F&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sl=ru&tl=en English version of the page]), [http://www.cygwin.com/ Cygwin], or [http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ UNetBootin].
+
dd if=image.iso of=\\.\'''x''': bs=4M
  
=== Image Writer for Windows ===
+
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:}}.
Image Writer is the only native Windows image writer (except Cygwin) that writes the whole image without any changes (like dd) - other writers unpack the image and then copy all the files to a FAT filesystem.
 
  
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.
+
On Cygwin 6.0, find out the correct partition with:
  
=== Linux Live USB Creator ===
+
cat /proc/partitions
  
LiLi 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.
+
and write the ISO image with the information from the output. Example:
It also supports automatic installation of VirtualBox on the USB key which can be used to boot Arch inside Windows.
 
  
The steps involved are well described by LiLi itself but can be summarized to: download & install LiLi, download Arch iso, insert USB key, start LiLi & choose drive (1), source (2), options (4) and create (5).
+
{{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.}}
  
I have tested all features except the automatic download of iso, and all works and are quite fast.
+
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
  
=== The Universal USB Installer ===
+
===== dd for Windows =====
  
I had problems booting from a USB key created with flashnul under Windows or dd under Linux.
+
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.
I gave a try to the "Universal USB Installer" and it created the bootable USB key which worked fine.
 
  
=== The Flashnul Way ===
+
To begin, download the latest version of dd for Windows. Once downloaded, extract the archive's contents into Downloads or elsewhere.
  
From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with -p, and determine which device index is your USB drive. For example, my output looks like this:
+
Now, launch your {{ic|command prompt}} as an administrator. Next, change directory ({{ic|cd}}) into the Downloads directory.
  
C:\>flashnul -p
+
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.
 
Avaible physical drives:
 
Avaible logical disks:
 
C:\
 
D:\
 
E:\
 
  
In my case, it is drive E:
+
# dd if=''archlinux-''version''-x86_64.iso'' od=\\.\''x'': bs=4M
  
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
+
{{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''.}}
  
C:\>flashnul E: -L path\to\arch.iso
+
{{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.}}
  
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.
+
Simply replace the various null spots (indicated by an "x") with the correct date and correct drive letter. Here is a complete example.
  
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
+
# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-''version''-x86_64.iso od=\\.\d: bs=4M
 +
 
 +
{{Accuracy|The following note may be invalid, the [http://www.chrysocome.net/dd upstream documentation] does not mention anything related to ''PhysicalDrive''.|section=dd for windows}}
 +
 
 +
{{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-''version''-x86_64.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.}}
 +
 
 +
==== In macOS ====
 +
 
 +
First, you need to identify the USB device. Open {{ic|/Applications/Utilities/Terminal}} and list all storage devices with the command:
 +
 
 +
$ diskutil list
 +
 
 +
Your USB device will appear as something like {{ic|/dev/disk2 (external, physical)}}. Verify that this is the device you want to erase by checking its name and size and then use its identifier for the commands below instead of /dev/diskX.
 +
 
 +
A USB device is normally auto-mounted in macOS, and you have to unmount (not eject) it before block-writing to it with {{ic|dd}}. In Terminal, do:
 +
 
 +
$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
 +
 
 +
Now copy the ISO image file to the device. The {{ic|dd}} command is similar to its Linux counterpart, but notice the 'r' before 'disk' for raw mode which makes the transfer much faster:
 +
 
 +
{{Accuracy|1=It does not seem clear whether there should be {{ic|1=bs=1M}} or {{ic|1=bs=1m}}. [https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php?title=USB_flash_installation_media&diff=544886&oldid=543750][https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php?title=USB_flash_installation_media&diff=next&oldid=578856]|section=Repeated editions, back and forth}}
 +
 
 +
# dd if=path/to/arch.iso of=/dev/'''r'''diskX bs=1M
 +
 
 +
This command will run silently. To view progress, send SIGINFO by pressing {{ic|Ctrl+t}}. Note {{ic|diskX}} here should not include the {{ic|s1}} suffix, or else the USB device will only be bootable in UEFI mode and not legacy. After completion, macOS may complain that "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer". Select 'Ignore'. The USB device will be bootable.
 +
 
 +
==== In Android ====
 +
 
 +
===== EtchDroid =====
 +
 
 +
[https://etchdroid.depau.eu/ EtchDroid] is a OS image flasher for Android. It works without root permissions on Android 5 to Android 8. According to bug reports it doesn't always work on Android 9 and Android 4.4.
 +
 
 +
To create an Arch Linux installer, download the ISO image file on your Android device. Plug the USB drive to your device, using a USB-OTG adapter if needed. Open EtchDroid, select "Flash raw image", select your Arch ISO, then select your USB drive. Grant the USB API permission and confirm.
 +
 
 +
Keep your phone on a table while it's writing the image: a lot of USB-OTG adapters are a bit wobbly and you might unplug it by mistake.
 +
 
 +
=== Using manual formatting===
 +
 
 +
==== In GNU/Linux ====
 +
 
 +
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).
 +
 
 +
{{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.}}
 +
 
 +
* If not done yet, create a [[partition table]] on {{ic|/dev/sd'''X'''}}.
 +
* If not done yet, create a partition on the device. The partition {{ic|/dev/sd'''Xn'''}} 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 may be used in subsequent steps). For example:
 +
 
 +
# mkdir -p /mnt/{iso,usb}
 +
# mount -o loop archlinux-''version''-x86_64.iso /mnt/iso
 +
# mount /dev/sd'''Xn''' /mnt/usb
 +
# cp -a /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb
 +
# sync
 +
# umount /mnt/iso
 +
 
 +
To boot either a label or an [[UUID]] to select the partition to boot from is required. By default the label {{ic|ARCH_''YYYYMM''}} (with the appropriate release year and month) is used. Thus, the [[Persistent block device naming#by-label|file system’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_''YYYYMM''}} in the file {{ic|/mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/archiso_sys.cfg}} (for BIOS boot), and in {{ic|/mnt/usb/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf}} (for UEFI boot). 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'''}}.
 +
 
 +
{{Warning|Mismatching labels or wrong UUID prevents booting from the created medium.}}
 +
 
 +
Syslinux legacy boot files are already preinstalled in {{ic|/mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux}}. If you want to be able to boot your usb stick in legacy mode, install the {{Pkg|syslinux}} package and follow [[Syslinux#Manual install]] instructions.
 +
 
 +
==== 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 {{ic|\}} as path-separator, so the same is used in the below commands.
 +
* All commands should be run in Windows command prompt '''as administrator'''.
 +
* {{ic|>}} denotes the Windows command prompt.
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
* Partition and format the USB drive using [https://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.
 +
* 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]]). 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 [https://www.7-zip.org/ 7-Zip].
 +
* 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.
 +
 
 +
* Run the following command (in Windows cmd prompt, as admin):
  
{{Note|Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64. -bgalakazam}}
+
> cd bios\
 +
> for /r %Y in (*.c32) do copy "%Y" "X:\arch\boot\syslinux\" /y
 +
> copy mbr\*.bin X:\arch\boot\syslinux\ /y
  
=== The Cygwin Way ===
+
* Install Syslinux to the USB by running (use {{ic|win64\syslinux64.exe}} for x64 Windows):
  
Make sure your cygwin installation contains the dd package.
+
> cd bios\
Or if you do not want to install Cygwin, you can simply download dd for windows from http://www.chrysocome.net/dd.
+
> win32\syslinux.exe -d /arch/boot/syslinux -i -a -m X:
  
Place your image file in your home directory, in my case it is:
+
{{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.
 +
* The {{ic|-d}} switch expects a path with forward slash path-separator like in *unix systems.
 +
}}
  
C:\cygwin\home\John\
+
== Other methods for BIOS systems ==
  
Run cygwin as administrator (required for cygwin to access hardware). To write to your USB drive use the following command:
+
=== In GNU/Linux ===
  
dd if=image.iso of=\\.\[x]:
+
==== Using a multiboot USB drive ====
  
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:".
+
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]].
  
On cygwin 6.0 find out the correct partition with
+
==== Using GNOME Disk Utility ====
  
  cat /proc/partitions
+
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''.
  
and write the ISO image with the information from the output. Example:
+
==== Making a USB-ZIP drive ====
  
dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sdb
+
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 irrevocably delete all files on your USB stick, so make sure you do not have any important files on the stick before doing this.}}
+
{{Warning|This will destroy all information on your USB flash drive!}}
  
=== UNetBootin ===
+
* 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.
  
Another way to make a USB drive bootable, is by using UNetBootin ([[#UNetBootin|see above]])
+
From here continue with the manual formatting method. The partition will be {{ic|/dev/sd'''x'''4}} due to the way ZIP drives work.
  
=== SYSLINUX: Boot the entire ISO from RAM using MEMDISK ===
+
{{Note|Do not format the drive as FAT32; keep it as FAT16.}}
  
This method is more suited for systems with more than 256 MB RAM. It uses the '''[http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK#ISO_images MEMDISK]''' auxiliary module to load the entire ISO image in RAM. So if you plan on booting a dual image with core packages make sure you have at least 768 MB RAM available. Also, be prepared to wait a few seconds/minutes, depending how fast your RAM is, what ISO image you choose and how fast your USB stick is.
+
==== Using UNetbootin ====
  
'''''' Format the USB stick as FAT32 and create the following folders:
+
UNetbootin can be used on any Linux distribution or Windows to copy your iso to a USB device. However, Unetbootin overwrites {{ic|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.
  
X:\Boot
+
{{Warning|UNetbootin writes over the default {{ic|syslinux.cfg}}; this must be restored before the USB device will boot properly.}}
X:\Boot\ISOs
 
X:\Boot\Settings
 
  
'''•''' Copy the ISO you'd like to boot to the ISOs folder (eg: ''archlinux-2011.08.19-netinstall-x86_64.iso'').
+
Edit {{ic|syslinux.cfg}}:
  
'''•''' Download '''[http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ syslinux-*.zip]''' (4.05 is the latest right now) and copy:
+
{{hc|sysconfig.cfg|2=
 +
default menu.c32
 +
prompt 0
 +
menu title Archlinux Installer
 +
timeout 100
  
'''./win32/syslinux.exe''' to the desktop, or wherever you want.
+
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''' ../../
 +
}}
  
'''./memdisk/memdisk''' to the Settings folder, and while you're here create a "syslinux.cfg" file with the following contents:
+
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.
  
DEFAULT arch_iso
+
=== In Windows ===
 
  LABEL arch_iso
 
    MENU LABEL Arch Linux Setup
 
    LINUX memdisk
 
    INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-2011.08.19-netinstall-x86_64.iso
 
    APPEND iso
 
  
'''Tip:''' If you wanna add more distros ''(Debian and Parted Magic were tested)'' you could edit this file. Refer to the Syslinux wiki.
+
==== The Flashnul way ====
  
'''•''' Create a *.bat (or *.cmd) file where "syslinux.exe" is located and run it:
+
[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).
@echo off
 
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:
 
  
Done.
+
From a command prompt, invoke flashnul with {{ic|-p}}, and determine which device index is your USB drive, e.g.:
  
{{Note|If you get the famous '''30 seconds error''' (especially with the i686 version), press the Tab key at the "Boot Arch Linux" entry and add "''vmalloc&#61;256M''" at the end for the netinstall image and "''vmalloc&#61;448M''" for the core image.}}
+
{{hc|C:\>flashnul -p|
 +
Avaible physical drives:
 +
Avaible logical disks:
 +
C:\
 +
D:\
 +
E:\
 +
}}
  
==Old Method from ISO, deprecated==
+
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:
*Prepare USB stick:
 
The arch-ftp.img is about 150 MB, so it should fit on a 256 MB USB stick. The arch-core.img  is ~300 MB and should fit on a 512 MB stick.
 
  
====Partition the USB stick.====
+
C:\>flashnul '''E:''' -L ''path\to\arch.iso''
Create one partition with FAT16 type, make it bootable. Remember its name, such as /dev/sd[x]1.
 
  
cfdisk /dev/sd[x]
+
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.
  
====Make a FAT16 filesystem (you need dosfstools)====
+
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
 
mkdosfs /dev/sd[x]1
 
  
====Get the arch-base install ISO from [https://archlinux.org/ archlinux.org]====
+
{{Note|Confirmed that you need to use drive letter as opposed to number. flashnul 1rc1, Windows 7 x64.}}
  
wget http://www.archlinux.org/iso/2010.05/archlinux-2010.05-netinstall-dual.iso.torrent
+
==== Loading the installation media from RAM ====
pacman -Qq rtorrent || pacman -S rtorrent
 
rtorrent archlinux-2010.05-netinstall-dual.iso.torrent
 
  
====Mount the iso to an temporary directory====
+
{{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?}}
  
mkdir -p /mnt/archcd
+
This method uses [[Syslinux]] and a [[Ramdisk]] ([https://wiki.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.
mount -o loop /Path/to/iso /mnt/archcd
 
  
====Mount the USB Stick====
+
For more information on Arch Linux system requirements as well as those for MEMDISK see the [[Installation guide]] and [http://www.etherboot.org/wiki/bootingmemdisk#preliminaries here]. For reference, here is the [https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=135266 preceding forum thread].
  
mkdir -p /mnt/usb/
+
{{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.}}
mount /dev/sd[x]1 /mnt/usb/
 
  
====Copy the .iso to the USB Stick====
+
===== Preparing the USB flash drive =====
  
cp -ra /mnt/archcd/* /mnt/usb/
+
Begin by formatting the USB flash drive as '''FAT32'''. Then create the following folders on the newly formatted drive.
  
====Copy the boot data====
+
* {{ic|Boot}}
 +
** {{ic|Boot/ISOs}}
 +
** {{ic|Boot/Settings}}
  
cd /mnt/usb/isolinux/
+
===== Copy the needed files to the USB flash drive =====
cp vmlinuz /mnt/usb/
 
cp initrd.img /mnt/usb/
 
cp boot.* /mnt/usb/
 
cp isolinux.cfg /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg
 
  
{{Note|For release 2010.05, replace those command lines by the following}}
+
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 [https://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.
  
cd /mnt/usb/
+
===== Create the configuration file =====
cp boot/isolinux/isolinux.cfg ./syslinux.cfg
 
sed /IPAPPEND/d syslinux.cfg
 
cp /usr/lib/syslinux/vesamenu.c32 ./
 
cp /usr/lib/syslinux/chain.c32 ./
 
cp /usr/lib/syslinux/reboot.c32 ./
 
  
====Install MBR and syslinux<sup>(1)</sup>====
+
After copying the needed files, navigate to the USB flash drive, /boot/Settings and create a {{ic|syslinux.cfg}} file.
  
lilo -M /dev/sd[x] mbr
+
{{Warning|On the {{ic|INITRD}} line, be sure to use the name of the ISO file that you copied to your {{ic|ISOs}} folder.}}
syslinux -s /dev/sd[x]1
 
  
{{Note|For release 2010.05, replace those command lines by the following}}
+
{{hc|/Boot/Settings/syslinux.cfg|2=
 +
DEFAULT arch_iso
  
syslinux --install /dev/sd[x]1
+
LABEL arch_iso
cat /usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin > /dev/sd[x]
+
        MENU LABEL Arch Setup
 +
        LINUX memdisk
 +
        INITRD /Boot/ISOs/archlinux-''version''-x86_64.iso
 +
        APPEND iso
 +
}}
  
==After booting from the USB stick:==
+
For more information on Syslinux see the [[Syslinux|Arch Wiki article]].
  
Start the installation by logging in as root and invoke the command "/arch/setup".
+
===== Final steps =====
  
The installer should mount the source media automatically. If it fails you can manually mount the source media on the stick to the /src directory with the following command:
+
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):
  
mount /dev/sd[x] /src
+
{{hc|C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\install.bat|
 +
@echo off
 +
syslinux.exe -m -a -d /Boot/Settings X:
 +
}}
  
==Notes and Troubleshooting:==
+
== Troubleshooting ==
  
<sup>(1)</sup> Using lilo is not really needed because syslinux does the "floppy" loading stuff. But if you get some error like "Can't load operating system" you have to perform the lilo command.
+
* If you get the "device did not show up after 30 seconds" error due to the {{ic|/dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_''YYYYMM''}} not mounting, try renaming your USB media to {{ic|ARCH_''YYYYMM''}} (e.g. {{ic|ARCH_201501}}).
 +
* If you get errors, try using another USB device. There are case scenarios in which it solved all issues.
  
<sup>(2)</sup> If you get "Cluster sizes larger than 16K not supported" error when booting this means you need to install more recent version of syslinux.
+
== See also ==
  
<sup>(3)</sup> Space not used on the USB stick can still be used for storing files... Use a utility like gparted and add a partition to the unused space.
+
* [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]
 +
* [https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Live_USB_stick openSUSE wiki - SDB:Live USB stick]

Latest revision as of 14:56, 8 August 2019

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 automatic tools

In 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.
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 ISO 9660 filesystem signature needs to be removed by running wipefs --all /dev/sdx as root, before repartitioning and reformating the USB drive.
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 oflag=sync

See dd(1) for more information about dd. See dd(1) for more information about oflag=sync.

Using etcher

Etcher is a OS image flasher built with node.js and Electron, capable of flashing an SDCard or USB drive. It protects you from accidentally writing to your hard-drives and ensures every byte of data was written correctly. There are 6 related packages in the AUR.

Using Kindd

Kindd is a Qt based graphical frontend for dd. It is available as kindd-gitAUR.

In Windows

Using Rufus

Rufus is a multi-purpose USB ISO writer. It provides a graphical user interface and does not care if the drive is properly formatted or not.

Simply select the Arch Linux ISO, the USB drive you want to create the bootable Arch Linux onto and click START.

Note: If the USB drive does not boot properly using the default ISO Image mode, DD Image mode should be used instead.
  • For Rufus version ≥ 3.0 select GPT from the Partition scheme drop-down menu. After clicking START you will get the mode selection dialog, select DD Image mode.
  • For Rufus version < 3.0 select DD Image mode from the drop-down menu on the bottom.
Tip: To add an additional partition for persistent storage use the slider to choose the persistent partition's size. When using the persistent partition feature, make sure to select MBR in the Partition scheme drop-down menu and BIOS or UEFI in Target System, otherwise the drive will not be usable for both BIOS and UEFI booting.
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 win32diskimager

win32diskimager is another graphical USB iso writing tool for Windows. Simply select your iso image and the target USB drive letter (you may have to format it first to assign it a drive letter), and click Write.

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

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-version-x86_64.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-version-x86_64.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#dd for windows)
Note: Alternatively, replace the drive letter with \\.\PhysicalDriveX, where X is the physical drive number (starts from 0). Example:
# dd if=ISOs\archlinux-version-x86_64.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 macOS

First, you need to identify the USB device. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal and list all storage devices with the command:

$ diskutil list

Your USB device will appear as something like /dev/disk2 (external, physical). Verify that this is the device you want to erase by checking its name and size and then use its identifier for the commands below instead of /dev/diskX.

A USB device is normally auto-mounted in macOS, and you have to unmount (not eject) it before block-writing to it with dd. In Terminal, do:

$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX

Now copy the ISO image file to the device. The dd command is similar to its Linux counterpart, but notice the 'r' before 'disk' for raw mode which makes the transfer much faster:

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

Reason: It does not seem clear whether there should be bs=1M or bs=1m. [1][2] (Discuss in Talk:USB flash installation media#Repeated editions, back and forth)
# dd if=path/to/arch.iso of=/dev/rdiskX bs=1M

This command will run silently. To view progress, send SIGINFO by pressing Ctrl+t. Note diskX here should not include the s1 suffix, or else the USB device will only be bootable in UEFI mode and not legacy. After completion, macOS may complain that "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer". Select 'Ignore'. The USB device will be bootable.

In Android

EtchDroid

EtchDroid is a OS image flasher for Android. It works without root permissions on Android 5 to Android 8. According to bug reports it doesn't always work on Android 9 and Android 4.4.

To create an Arch Linux installer, download the ISO image file on your Android device. Plug the USB drive to your device, using a USB-OTG adapter if needed. Open EtchDroid, select "Flash raw image", select your Arch ISO, then select your USB drive. Grant the USB API permission and confirm.

Keep your phone on a table while it's writing the image: a lot of USB-OTG adapters are a bit wobbly and you might unplug it by mistake.

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.
  • If not done yet, create a partition table on /dev/sdX.
  • If not done yet, create a partition on the device. 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 may be used in subsequent steps). For example:
# mkdir -p /mnt/{iso,usb}
# mount -o loop archlinux-version-x86_64.iso /mnt/iso
# mount /dev/sdXn /mnt/usb
# cp -a /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb
# sync
# umount /mnt/iso

To boot either a label or an UUID to select the partition to boot from is required. By default the label ARCH_YYYYMM (with the appropriate release year and month) is used. Thus, the file system’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_YYYYMM in the file /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux/archiso_sys.cfg (for BIOS boot), and in /mnt/usb/loader/entries/archiso-x86_64.conf (for UEFI boot). 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 legacy boot files are already preinstalled in /mnt/usb/arch/boot/syslinux. If you want to be able to boot your usb stick in legacy mode, install the syslinux package and follow Syslinux#Manual install instructions.

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). 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.
  • 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.
  • Run the following command (in Windows cmd prompt, as admin):
> 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):
> 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 a 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 ../../

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

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 Installation guide and here. 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-version-x86_64.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

  • If you get the "device did not show up after 30 seconds" error due to the /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_YYYYMM not mounting, try renaming your USB media to ARCH_YYYYMM (e.g. ARCH_201501).
  • If you get errors, try using another USB device. There are case scenarios in which it solved all issues.

See also