Scott's Big Blue Box


How to install Arch Linux- a quick and dirty guide

This is a guide for how to install Arch Linux. While the wiki’s install guide is the best source, I’ve found a bit of ambiguity there.

This is what I personally do when I install Arch Linux.

(This assumes a QWERTY layout)

I’m going to do these steps on a BIOS (64bit) VM, however— I’ve installed on a 64bit uEFI machine.

Download the Arch linux iso here (I’d recommend a torrent, they’re faster.)

Once you’ve burned it and booted it, you should see the cli prompt: prompt

After doing so, make sure you can:

  • Connect to the internet
  • Use the DNS

To do so:

ping OR
ping OR {{any other website (, etc.)}}

(Press Ctrl-c to stop a running command) After doing so if you see something like this:

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=116 time=27.7 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=116 time=23.4 ms

It means that you have internet connection.

You now need to sync the clocks:

timedatectl set-ntp true

If you see some systemd messages ([ OK ] reached or [ OK ] started bar.service) ignore those.

After doing so, we’ll partition the disks.

If you are using BIOS, this is what I would recommend:

|    Path   |     Size     | Filesystem |           Notes          |
| --------- | ------------ | ---------- | ------------------------ |
| /dev/sda1 | 256Mib       |    EXT2    | Set bootable             |
| /dev/sda2 | 1Gib         |    Swap    | Set swap flag            |
| /dev/sda3 | Rest of disk |    Ext4    | Root partition           | 

If you are using uEFI, I would use this:

|   Path    |     Size     | Filesystem |        Notes         |
| --------- | ------------ | ---------- | -------------------- |
| /dev/sda1 | 512M         | Fat32      | EFI system partition |
| /dev/sda2 | Size of ram  | Swap       |                      |
| /dev/sda3 | Rest of disk | Ext4       | Root                 |

To create the partition, run:

cfdisk /dev/sda

For BIOS, select “DOS” label, otherwise, use “GPT” This is what a BIOS scheme should look like: (If it asks for primary or logical, select primary)

                                 Disk: /dev/sda
                Size: 5 GiB, 5368709120 bytes, 10485760 sectors
                       Label: dos, identifier: 0xf3b04342

    Device        Boot        Start         End   Sectors    Size   Id Type
    /dev/sda1     *            2048      526335    524288    256M   83 Linux
>>  /dev/sda2                526336    10485759   9959424    4.7G   83 Linux    

 │Partition type: Linux (83)                                                  │
     [Bootable]  [ Delete ]  [ Resize ]  [  Quit  ]  [  Type  ]  [  Help  ]
     [  Write ]  [  Dump  ]

(To set the partition type to swap select (TYPE) and then press up once to select “Linux Swap”

For uEFI, instead of a 512M and 4.5G, you should have a 512M with the “EFI system partition” type set, a swap partition with type “Linux Swap” and then the rest as a Linux filesystem.

To create the filesystems:

For your swap partition (/dev/sda1 on BIOS, /dev/sda2 on uEFI): mkswap /dev/sdaX

For your EFI partition uEFI only:

mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sda1

or your boot partiton BIOS only:

mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1

And then for your root (/dev/sda2 on BIOS, /dev/sda3 on uEFI): mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdaX (This can take a while)

root@archiso ~ # mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1
mke2fs 1.46.1 (9-Feb-2021)
/dev/sda1 contains a ext2 file system
        created on Sun Mar  7 22:53:52 2021
Proceed anyway? (y,N) y
Discarding device blocks: done                            
Creating filesystem with 262144 1k blocks and 65536 inodes
Filesystem UUID: 4ab0aa51-9214-4d03-ba31-fdf88f50376e
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
        8193, 24577, 40961, 57345, 73729, 204801, 221185

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done 

root@archiso ~ # mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2
mke2fs 1.46.1 (9-Feb-2021)
/dev/sda2 contains a ext4 file system
        created on Sun Mar  7 22:54:47 2021
Proceed anyway? (y,N) y
Discarding device blocks: done                            
Creating filesystem with 1244928 4k blocks and 311296 inodes
Filesystem UUID: 97af00b4-7690-45e8-ba9e-5866ca808fa2
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
        32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
Creating journal (16384 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done 

root@archiso ~ # 

After doing so, enable your swap and mount your root partition at /mnt:

swapon /dev/sdaX
mount /dev/sdaX /mnt
mkdir /mnt/boot

So for my BIOS systems:

mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
# No swap


Mount your efi parition at /mnt/boot:

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Now you need to setup your mirrors. This is not required but is highly recommended.

reflector --verbose --latest 20 --sort rate --save /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

This will print a couple of lines of text and then appear to hang, however, don’t press Ctrl-c, it’s processing.

[2021-03-07 22:56:33] INFO: rating 20 mirror(s) by download speed
[2021-03-07 22:56:33] INFO: Server                                                   Rate       Time
[2021-03-07 22:56:35] INFO:            5017.59 KiB/s     1.11 s
(omitted for brevity)

After it completes, we need to install our base system.

We can run pacstrap to do so.

You can add packages, but I’d just stick to the given command unless you know what you’re doing.

pacstrap /mnt base base-devel linux linux-firmware grub networkmanager git nano

Once you run this, it’ll take a while, go and find a soda.

==> Creating install root at /mnt
==> Installing packages to /mnt
:: Synchronizing package databases...
 core                  131.1 KiB   957 KiB/s 00:00 [######################] 100%
 extra                1645.8 KiB  4.20 MiB/s 00:00 [######################] 100%
 community               5.4 MiB  5.50 MiB/s 00:01 [######################] 100%

After we do this, we need to generate our fstab (eff-stab, fs-tab, fs-table).

This tells Linux what filesystems need to be mounted, and where.

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

After this, we are now ready to “chroot” in (use the installed system) and do some configuration!

Let’s pivot to the new install:

arch-chroot /mnt

We now need to set the timezone.

You’ll run

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/{{Region}}/{{Zone}}

(If you need a hint, press tab)

Then, sync your hardware clock:

hwclock --systohc

After that, we need to generate our locales.

Edit /etc/locale.gen:

nano /etc/locale.gen

and find your zone.

For me, it’s en_US.UTF-8 and uncomment it (remove the #)

Then press Ctrl-x and then y & enter to save and quit.

We now need to run locale-gen.

After this, let’s set our hostname.

edit /etc/hostname to set it (It can only contain a-z and hypens) I’m going to use arch as my hostname.

Again, save and quit.

We now need to setup our /etc/hosts file.

You need to add these lines:<tab>localhost

If your computer has a permanent IP address, use it instead of

Save and quit.

You now need to set your root password with passwd. I’m going to use foo as mine.

After you do that, we need to install our bootloader.


If you have a BIOS system, install for a x86 arch: grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sda


If you have a uEFI system, make sure your EFI partition is mounted at /boot and then run this: grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --bootloader-id=Arch

After this, regenerate the config: grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Now exit the chroot (exit)

We now can reboot and hope that it works. (reboot)

Once you see your login, login with root and then the password you set.


After you login, we need to enable networking: systemctl enable --now NetworkManager After that, ping to make sure it’s working.

As you can see I had a little type in the service name, but now it’s working!

Now let’s install pacman -S xorg --noconfirm

After that, you need to decide on a gui.

|  GUI  | package name |
| ----- | ------------ |
| Kde   | plasma       |
| GNOME | gnome        |
| LXDE  | ldxe         | 

After installing Xorg, install the name of the package for your GUi. Here I’ll use LXDE: pacman -S ldxe --noconfirm After doing so, enable your Display manager:

GUI Manager
KDE sddm
LXDE lxdm

So for LXDE, run systemctl enable lxdm

Create a symlink to vi: ln -sf $(which nano) /usr/bin/vi.

Now run sudo visudo and find the line that starts with %sudo and uncomment it.

After that, remove the symlink: rm /usr/bin/vi Save and quit, then create the sudo group and add your user:

groupadd sudo
useradd -m -G sudo {username}

Then set your user’s password: passwd {user}

You should then install a terminal (I’d recommend Kitty) and reboot.

After that, your display manager should ask for username and password.

As you can see, mine went fine.

Just one more thing now: enable AUR support.

To do this, open a terminal and run:

sudo pacman -S git
git clone
cd paru
sudo pacman -S cargo
makepkg -fsi

To install paru.

After that, you’re all good.

Just install Neofetch and brag to your friends!

One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free