Learn how to install Arch Linux on your own computer in either a standalone system or in a dual boot system. Also install some packages and also a windows manager

How to Install Arch Linux Install

You should always follow the install located at the Arch wiki but if for some reason you are having trouble I hope this tutorial can help in some way.

Table of Contents

Standalone Install

Prep the install media

Prep the install media anyway you would prefer. I will not go over this in detail as there are many tutorials out there that already cover this. You will need to download the Arch ISO and use a bootable usb or cd if you prefer.

Installing Arch

With the USB plugged into the computer boot up your computer.

NOTE: Make sure your boot sequence includes the USB first if you already have another Operating system on the computer. If you are having trouble most computers have a select boot sequence during the initial bios splashscreen and you should be able to select the USB. ENDNOTE

You should be presented with the Arch live install which should look like this:

Arch Linux 4.20.13-arch1-1-ARCH (tty1)

archiso login: root (automatic login)
root@archiso ~ #

This is the live install session to Install Arch Linux:

Internet Setup

You will need to have a internet connection to install some packages. You can use an ethernet port or you can use wifi.

NOTE In some circumstances your wifi drivers may not work out of the box with the install. In this instance use ethernet or a usb -> ethernet adapter ENDNOTE

To connect via wifi simply run:

root@archiso ~ # wifi-menu

To connect via ethernet run:


Test your internet conncection by pinging a website:

ping -c 4 www.google.com

If your connection is working you should be getting packets back

System Clock

Set the system clock by running the following command

timedatectl set-ntp true

Disk Partition

We will need to partition the disks in order to properly install Arch Linux. Check your current disk setup with fdisk -l

Your harddrive should be named something like /dev/sda or it may be another letter if you have mutliple hardrives.

You can then partition your disks with the tool cfdisk /dev/sda


Create a boot partition sized 500M and with the type EFI system bootsizetype

Go ahead and use the rest of the space for your install. We will split it up later into root and home partitions later. Choose the type Linux filesystem rootpartition.png

You can now write the changes to disk and quit afterwards. Make sure to check your setup by running the fdisk -l command. Your setup should look similar to this. checkdisksetup.png

Drive Encryption and LVM

We are going to encrypt our harddrive and add a passcode to unlock the drive as a secure measure during bootup. We are not encrypting the boot drive so make sure to select the correct partition number. For me that was /dev/sda2.

You can run cryptsetup benchmark to check sppeds on different ciphers and key-sizes for your encryption.

We are going to run the below command to encrypt our drive.

cryptsetup --cipher aes-xts-plain64 \ --key-size 512 \ --hash sha256 \ --iter-time 3000 --use-random \ --verify-passphrase \ luksFormat /dev/sda2

Type the uppercase YES and choose a good passphrase and enter it in twice.

Next time to setup the LVM with the volumes and filesystems.

open the encrypted partition with the following command cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 lvm

What this command does is map the encrypted partition to the file location /dev/mapper The next step is to create physical and logical volumes for the root and home directories. I gave the root directory here 20GB but you can choose to do whatever you think will be sufficient for you.

Physical Volume :pvcreate /dev/mapper/lvm

Create Volume with name arch you can choose to name it whatever you would like: vgcreate arch /dev/mapper/lvm

Create Logical Volumes 20GB for the root and the rest allocated for home:

lvcreate --size 20G --name root arch

lvcreate --extents +100%FREE --name home arch

The partitions created are now in /dev/mapper/arch-root and /dev/mapper/arch-home. We will need to format them to a particular file system. Here I will use the ext4 filesystem.

mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/arch-root

mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/arch-home

Now mount those partitions

mount /dev/mapper/arch-root /mnt

mkdir -p /mnt/home

mount /dev/mapper/arch-home /mnt/home

Also boot the mount partition after formatting it to Fat32

mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sda1

mkdir -p /mnt/boot

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

To read more about the encryption I used you can find that here : Encryption

Some installs will require a swap partition but with enough RAM 16GB or so you should be fine without it. If you do want to read more about the partition schemes you can find that here : Partition

We are now ready to install Arch Linux to the disk


You can select mirrors if you would like, delete or comment out the mirrors you do not want to use:

vi /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Arch has a conveinant mirror list generator that comes in handy: mirror list

Install Base system

Install Arch Linux:

pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel

You can install with additional packages in this command if you would like. The live CD has more packages than the base install comes with. You can find all the packages in the live CD here

Example: pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel dialog wpa_supplicant wireless_tools

Generate fstab

We will use labels for our disks because the encryption will create random IDs

genfstab -L -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

For UUID fstab you can run

genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Make sure to check the generated fstab for any errors, mine looked like this:


# /etc/fstab: static file system information


# <file system> <dir><type><options> <dump><pass>

# /dev/mapper/arch-root

/dev/mapper/arch-root / ext4 discard,rw,relatime,data=ordered 0 1

# /dev/mapper/arch-home

/dev/mapper/arch-home /home ext4 discard,rw,relatime,data=ordered 0 2

Note:If using solid state drive make sure discard is there in the options for optimizing the speed of SSD’sENDNOTE


Change root in the new system: arch-chroot /mnt

Time Zone

Set the time zone: # ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Region/City /etc/localtime for me this was # ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Los_Angeles /etc/localtime

# hwclock --systohc


Uncomment the locale that you would like to use in the file /etc/locale.gen .I am located in the US so I am going to use these

en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 en_US ISO-8859-1 Generate the locale: locale-gen

Set Default: echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf

Network Config

echo hostname > /etc/hostname

Add hostname to /etc/hosts


# /etc/hosts: static lookup table for host names


#<ip-address> <hostname.domain.org> <hostname> localhost.localdomain localhost macbook

::1 localhost.localdomain localhost macbook

If you have a static IP you can put that in place of

Use this link to learn more about network configuration in Arch linux Network Config


We need to add kernel modules to make sure the kernel knows how to decrypt our partition. Edit your /etc/mkinitcpio.conf and add the modules BEFORE filesystems in the HOOKS line.

HOOKS="base udev autodetect modconf block keyboard usbinput encrypt lvm2 filesystems fsck"

Then run

mkinitcpio -p linux

Root Passwd

Set the root passwd with the command passwd

Create User

Create a new non root user.

useradd --create-home --groups wheel --shell /bin/bash USER passwd USER

This adds user to the wheel group. We will need to run the command visudo And uncomment the following line:

%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL


We will go over a couple boot loaders here. I have been using systemd and grub. There are many out there. This chart from the official wiki is useful when looking at chooing an option bootloaders.

Run the command pacman -S systemd to install the systemd bootloader. Then run the command mkdir -p /boot/loader/entries

Setup the loader to default to Arch and set the number of seconds before auto boot. Do this in the file /boot/loader/loader.conf

default arch

timeout 3

Make sure the boot partition is currently mounted. findmnt /boot

We have to create an entry for the bootloader in the file /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf

# /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf

title Arch Linux

linux /vmlinuz-linux

initrd /initramfs-linux.img

options cryptdevice=/dev/sda2:arch:allow-discards root=/dev/mapper/arch-root rw

Then run the command bootctl install


NOTE If you didnt install the networking drivers for wifi on reboot into the new install you will not have wifi access as you did in the live cd ENDNOTE

type exit then umount -R /mnt check to make sure the drives are volumes are good to go cryptsetup close vgcrypt

You can double check your install to see if the encryption unlocks

cryptsetup open /dev/sda2 arch

mount /dev/mapper/arch /mnt

If everything has gone well we can reboot with the command reboot

The bootloader should be presented with the option Arch Linux and 3 seconds before auto booting.

Configuring Arch

Lets Customize Arch for our liking