How to install Arch Linux – easy way [updated, August 2014]

by Swapnil Bhartiya

Arch Linux is one of the most tempting Gnu/Linux based operating systems. There are many reasons why one would want to use Arch Linux and since you are reading this post there are chances you have found a reason. The reasons I use Arch are are 1) an always up-to-date system so I don’t have to worry about upgrading it every six month or be deprived of the app which is not available for my version; 2) availability of almost every single app which is available for any other GNU/Linux based operating system. Another reason is it being fully community driven so I don’t have to worry about compromises which a company-backed OS may make to achieve their goal.

Building your own house

Arch is more or less like building your own house on your own land. You own it, but you are also responsible for building it from scratch. The obvious benefit of this approach is that you install only what you need keeping your system lean and fast. The flip side is that unlike Ubuntu, you can’t just move in – you have to build it first. The first stage of getting Arch is installing it – you can’t use it without installing it!

And installation of Arch, though not that hard if you try, can be tricky.

There is a very comprehensive Wiki on how to install Arch Linux. The Beginner’s Guide is an awesome resource, but there is so much information that it can be intimidating at times. If you are someone like me who wants to use Arch but is afraid of its official wiki, this article will help you. It’s more or less a documentation of the steps I took to install Arch on my systems.

Before you follow this tutorial, I would suggest that you also open the Beginner’s Guide and compare the steps I mentioned in this article with those in the wiki. The goal of this article is to make you comfortable with the Arch Wiki. Use my tutorial to understand the official guide.

So, let’s take a dive in the warm waters of Arch.

My hardware

CPU: 64 bit Intel
Hard Drive: 128GB SSD
Nvidia GTX 470/GTX 275

Getting Arch Linux

You can get the latest image of Arch from the download page (I will recommend the Bittorent method).

Create a bootable USB or CD of Arch Linux

The first step is to create a bootable USB or CD of Arch Linux. I prefer USB as there is no point in wasting CDs and they are slow. Run the following command from a GnuLinux system to put Arch iso image on USB:

sudo dd if=/path_to_arch_.iso of=/dev/sdX

(Here sdX is the USB drive. Please remember don’t use any numbers, for example, if your drive is detected as sde, don’t use sde1, instead just use ‘sde’). Once the USB is ready, plug it into your computer and boot into Arch.


Step #1 Arch Installation

It is recommended that you use the Ethernet connection for installation as your PC might need drivers for the wireless chip and it will only complicate things. To keep it simple, plug the

Ethernet cable and check if you have the Internet connectivity.Run this command:

ping -c 3

If everything works fine, move ahead.

Next Page -> Preparing Hard Drive

  • Gurdeep

    Hi Swapnil
    I followed all your instructions for the installation but after reboot it is stuck on a blank screen. I have “/dev/sda2: clean, 34631/1310720 files, 349376/5242880 blocks” on my screen.
    Please help!

    • arnieswap

      what is the screen output? Where did you install grub? Which is the primary drive name where you installed the OS?

    • Burak

      this is x server problem , can not open graphics screen.Probably you have optimus graphics card and laptop.Search bumblebee

  • Koen Hardy

    First off, my compliments on the nice tut. I haven’t installed Arch myself, I will though in the near future. I use Manjaro now, which is based on Arch. And my favorite piece of software on it is Pacman. Very powerfull, flexible packagemanager which, in my humble opinion, is the best in the whole wide Linux world. I’ve build LFS and BLFS several times, just as a learning experiece, which resulted in an extreme fast and stable OS. I even dreamed of distributing it, but since that meant creating repo’ s and such which had to be maintained, I backed off.Mostly because of the financial cost. It still is my dream though, because I somehow managed to build an OS on which my 70 year old mother would have been happy to work with. Maybe…someday when I can get the right funding, things will happen. One thing’ s for sure…it’s packagemanger will be Pacman… :-)

  • darvein

    I’m installing arch on Vmware all is OK until I try to execute: startx
    I got this:


    [ 400.013] Current Operating System: Linux arch 3.15.1-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Jun 17 09:32:20 CEST 2014 x86_64
    (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
    [ 400.059] Initializing built-in extension MIT-SCREEN-SAVER
    [ 400.065] (EE) Failed to load module “glx” (module does not exist, 0)
    [ 400.065] (EE) Failed to load module “vmware” (module does not exist, 0)
    [ 400.065] (EE) Failed to load module “modesetting” (module does not exist, 0)
    [ 400.065] (EE) Failed to load module “fbdev” (module does not exist, 0)
    [ 400.065] (EE) Failed to load module “vesa” (module does not exist, 0)
    [ 400.065] (EE) No drivers available.
    [ 400.065] (EE)
    [ 400.066] (EE) no screens found(EE)
    [ 400.066] (EE)
    [ 400.067] (EE) Please also check the log file at “/var/log/Xorg.0.log” for additional information.
    [ 400.068] (EE)

    • mhm

      you need to run this:
      pacman -S xf86-video-vesa

  • Vellanki Ganesh

    I have a doubt while installing boot loader…

    I already have Ubuntu in my PC so there is already GRUB, if I skip this boot loader installation, and run grub-update in ubuntu can I find Arch in the boot screen…

    Skipping step:-11 cause any problems for my situation…..???

    How to deal with this kind of problem….

  • Tarun

    Instead of following that long method for AUR, here’s a simple one

    Add these to /etc/pacman.conf file :-

    SigLevel = Never
    Server =$arch

    Save it & then do pacman -Sy yaourt
    The, simply search yaourt packagename. For e.g. yaourt dropbox.
    You can also update your entire system using yaourt along with the AUR packages with yaourt -Syu -aur.

    Yaourt can also be used as pacman replacement. Just do yaourt -S packagename. That’s it!!

    • Danilo Vilas Boas

      Yaourt can be used as pacman replacement. But it shouldn’t to. As you shouldn’t install nothing with “pacman -Sy”. Always do “pacman -Syu” before, then just “pacman -S”.

  • Brian Haines

    At step 9 I hit two questions

    Q1 – This isn’t in mirrorlist to uncomment so I added at the bottom

    Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

    Did we miss a step where we setup the network? I haven’t read past here, but without the network this just produced a list of errors? Maybe my network should have been setup automatically on the live CD?

    pacman -Sy

    • arnieswap

      Q1 Are you talking about

      # nano /etc/pacman.conf

    • themobius

      Agree. Just run into this situation. Did all steps and run into a bucnh of errors in step 9. The host name resolver was not set wich is not a network issue but still stoped things from working and tricked me into thinking that it is a network issue. Had to modify the /etc/resolv.con and add a line with “nameserver “. Would be better to check network before step 9.

  • jmz3

    In Step #5, after running the command, there is a prompt about which packages to download and install (selective package install or default=all), It would be nice if you could mention about this step in the tutorial.


    I have motherboard Asus extreme Maximus VI, This tutorial does not work.

  • roli

    I have made as you told and after rebooting and removing the cd-rom i get this message:

    EDD: Error 0c00 reading sector 166449
    failed to load COM32 file boot/syslinux/reboot.c32

    what i have to do???


  • Plazma

    SSD partitioning isnt a bad thing ? or performance losses after partition ?

    • arnieswap

      I have partitioned my SSD.

  • Ruso Inmortal

    Thank you for your guide. I tried the official and I always was missing somthing, but with yours, adapted to my needs, it worked out of the box…

    Well, almost. I had a problem with locales that you won’t have because default values are for american english. Anyway, for those with special characters like spanish, I had to set the /etc/vconsole.conf and also execute “localectl set-x11-keymap…” to support it. I hope it helps.